21 Jan: The Chastity Belt and the Frenchman

Henri Littière and his adulterous wife Suzanne thought they’d come up with a novel way to combat her philandering – by commissioning a custom-made chastity belt. But on 21st January, 1934, Littière was sentenced to three months in prison for cruelty to his spouse.

It’s a strange story, but not half as weird as how the myth of chastity belts gained traction in the first place – not from medieval days, but in fact thanks to Victorian prudishness.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly pick holes in 1934 Parisian court reporting; discover the trend for 21st century chastity belts; and explain how widespread belief in the belts can be traced back to a wacky German author’s offbeat sense of humour… 

Further Reading:

• ‘FRANCE: Infibulation’ (TIME, 1934): http://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,787768,00.html

• ‘Are They Real? The Dubious History Of Chastity Belts’ (Ripleys, 2019): https://www.ripleys.com/weird-news/dubious-history-chastity-belts/

• ‘10 Myths You Still Believe About Medieval Life’ (Alltime 10s, 2021):

Tags: | | | |