A Parisian baker, family man, and devoted husband, Henri Littière could no longer put up with his wife's promiscuous ways, so he found a solution— the chastity belt.
What Is A Chastity Belt?
A chastity belt, device, or garment is designed to prevent the woman wearing it from having sexual intercourse. These devices are believed to have been made of metal in part to prevent them from being taken off.
Chastity belts are thought to have been used by knights leaving home for battle. They would force their wives into them to ensure they remained faithful while away.
Chastity Belts: Fact or Fiction?
Despite their popular appearance in folklore, there is an overwhelming lack of evidence to indicate chastity belts were actually used. Even Catherine de Medici's famous chastity belt failed to pass the test of time; a test of the metal indicated that it was actually built in the 19th century, long after her death in 1589.
So, where did the idea come from? Scholars believe the idea originated with the Romans. According to Sarah E. Bond, an assistant professor at the University of Iowa, Roman brides wore white tunics with a special Herculean knot to their wedding. The knot was known as a love knot and represented her chastity. The love knot was untied by her new husband on their wedding night.
Chastity belts got a name from a 1405 book called Bellifortis, in which author Konrad Kyeser referenced such a device to keep women faithful. However, the book was filled with satirical humor and included objects to make people invisible. Historians have yet to find any physical evidence of a chastity belt from this time period. Further debates include whether or not these devices provided a practical way for a woman to engage in normal bodily functions, such as menstruation and defecation.
The Sad Fate of Juliette Littière
In 1934, a man named Henri Littière decided chastity belts were not only real but were a legitimate way to keep his promiscuous wife, Juliette, at bay. Thus, he forced her to wear one until January 21, when he was brought to court to answer charges of cruelty towards his wife.
Unfortunately, this was not the first time Henri forced his wife into a chastity belt. As a repeat offender, he was sentenced to three months in prison and fined 50 francs.