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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Under Lock and Key: Male Chastity Devices

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Lately, we’ve noticed an increasing interest in male chastity devices at the Tool Shed. These are devices that restrict access to the male genitals, thus preventing masturbation, sexual intercourse and/or orgasm, or causing pain if an erection is achieved.

There are two basic types of male chastity devices: those that are designed for use during a sexual encounter, and those that are designed for long-term, day-in/day-out wear. Short-term devices are often made from leather or metal, although they can also be fashioned from materials such as rope or ACE bandages. They might be used along with other types of bondage to play out a domination/submission scene, to prevent or delay orgasm, or to hold the genitals in place for some cock-and-ball play, which can range in sensation from light tickling or teasing to intense pain.

Long-term devices are usually made from polycarbonate or silicone and designed to be locked in place, with a man’s partner holding the key. They are made so that the wearer can urinate, shower and otherwise go about daily activities without removing the device, except that neither he nor anyone else can touch his penis. These devices are designed to be comfortable enough for a person to wear one for several weeks at a time, if desired. While short-term chastity devices often emphasize a partner’s physical control over a man’s genitals and his or her ability to do what s/he pleases with them, long-term devices emphasize a partner’s psychological control, since a partner can be thousands of miles away from a man, yet still hold the key to the device.

So, why would someone be interested in male chastity? As I mentioned above, there are two elements involved: physical control and psychological control. Many sexual relationships involve some exchange of power, and giving up control of your body can be intensely arousing for some people. Male chastity devices take this submission to a very high level, since the penis is not only a very sensitive organ, but is often seen in our culture to represent the essence of male sexuality or manhood itself. While we do have some people ask about long-term chastity devices because they are concerned about a partner’s sexual fidelity, this is much rarer than one might think. The majority of people who are using chastity devices are in deeply trusting relationships where one person is willingly surrendering sexual control to the other.


On an interesting side note, inquiries about male chastity devices far, far outweigh those about female chastity devices. Both types of play are certainly fine, so I don’t mean to imply that folks who enjoy female chastity aren’t in good company, but I am really struck by the difference in levels of interest. Does this difference exist because female chastity gear is easier to find or carries less of a cultural taboo, or are there genuinely more male chastity enthusiasts in Milwaukee? I am inclined to believe that because our society has historically dictated male control of female sexuality and not the other way around, opportunities for men to surrender sexual control to a partner are harder to come by and hold more erotic significance and release. I welcome readers’ thoughts on this topic.

Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.

Laura Anne Stuart has a master’s degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. She owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee’s East Side.

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