Chastity play is a subsection of BDSM, in which one person assets their control over another through the use of chastity devices. Controlling when and how someone enjoys sexual pleasure, or withholding it entirely, can be an exhilarating pursuit.
Our preconceived notion of chastity belts are those metal contraptions used in the Middle Ages to control a woman’s sexuality. But research has shown that these didn’t really exist. Men weren’t locking up their wives and daughters. Instead, artists were using this imagery to make fun of men who were scared that their wives or daughters would be stolen from them.
The devices that have been discovered from these early days were curiosities created to make fun of the humourless and the prudes. But rest assured, you can buy big metal chastity devices today, and they happen to be very popular with men. The movement is so well established that chastity lifestylers dedicate a whole month to it, very aptly naming it Locktober (a merging of Lock and October).
Chastity is a form of control to eliminate any compulsive sexual behaviour. This is typically a permanent choice, rather than a kind of sexual game. Those who use chastity as a sexual game will either identify as chastity players or chastity lifestylers.
Players enjoy short-term control through the use of devices that stop them from becoming fully aroused. When they are released, the pent up pleasure increases the intensity of their sexual encounters. Players often enjoy other BDSM and control play and might also sprinkle in some role playing for added variety.
Lifestylers are more likely to enjoy submissive and dominant roles in their relationship. The sub may wear chastity devices most of the time, typically when they are away from their partner. These devices can only be released by their partner, often known as the keyholder. The sub’s chastity is a gift that they give to their dominant partner.
Chastity play often starts out as a roleplaying game. Feeling controlled or being in control is a key part of the appeal. By denying pleasure for any amount of time, you can enhance sensations and bring some new excitement into the bedroom.
Men often derive a lot of their feelings of control from the genitals, so the act of controlling them has a way of reversing the power dynamic. When their partner is in control of their pleasure, this is a very taboo realm of sexual exploration. It plays into fears, insecurities and worry that allows the dynamic to feel even more realistic. Women may take part in chastity play as a way to delay gratification.
Perhaps the most commonly known device is the chastity belt. This bulky and restrictive belt is worn around the waist and between the legs. It will often padlock in place to heighten the sense of control. There may be small holes to allow you to go to the bathroom but it will limit all sexual contact, stimulation and penetration.
These are often too bulky to wear in your everyday life, but will be popular for roleplay in the bedroom. Women might also wear a chastity bra which can only be unfastened by the keyholder.
For men, chastity cages are a popular way to explore this kind of control play. Cages come in all shapes, sizes and materials. Plastic cages will allow you to wear your chastity device throughout the day without being detected. You could even pass through a metal detector without the device being spotted.
Padlocks may be used to keep the wearer locked up, or they may use numbered plastic tags so the wearer can remove it in an emergency. The wearer may also have an emergency key to remove the cage if required.
Metal chastity cages are less suitable for long-term wear but offer a tactile experience that is hard to beat. A metal cage will typically be larger and should not be worn for too long, as it could cause discomfort.
As with any BDSM play, you need to have good communication with your partner before trying anything new. With chastity play, there is the danger that the device could cause discomfort or hurt the wearer. It’s important that the wearer is able to get free from the device in an emergency.
When using chastity devices in the comfort of your home, the risk is reduced. One of the best ways to make chastity play safer is to use disposable plastic tags instead of a padlock. This will eliminate the risk that a missing key could leave someone locked in a chastity device.
The plastic tags are numbered and are designed to break open if required. But if you break it without good reason, your keyholder will know about it. This helps to maintain the illusion of control without putting anyone in danger.
Chastity devices should always be used for short-term play. There is very little research into the long term effects of chastity devices, but overnight use is generally discouraged.
Men are prone to something known as nocturnal/ spontaneous erections which help to regulate blood flow to the penis and prevent atrophy. If this were to happen while wearing a chastity device, the result will be very uncomfortable for the wearer.
Women should also avoid wearing chastity devices for long periods of time due to the risk of yeast infections. This area is not designed to be locked up under thick layers of tight leather for long periods of time.
Some people fear that that withholding sex or sexual gratification will result in a reduced interest in sex. There is no way to answer this for certain, as libido changes from person to person and from day to day. While some people report that it heightens their sexual interest, others say that it helps them to bring it under control. Listen to your body and to your urges and see what works for you.