Please excuse my attempts to ruin the english language, but I received recently the second stupidst email I ever got:
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You should be grateful you don’t live in country where you could be forced to
wear one of these things against your will!
P.S. You’re weird!
Sincerely, T in Dayton
and I think it deserves some answering words in its own language (you may wonder about the stupidst email I got; unfortunatly, I lost it during a migration from the university unix pool to my own wintel pc; all I can remember are phrases like “fucking nazi”; very funny).
Mr or Mrs T in Dayton alludes to the fact that things can be used for different purposes. For example, a knife can be used to slice bread, to commit a murder or as a means of a surgeon; or, to take another example, a pair of hand-cuffs can be used by the police of a liberal state, by the police of a tyrannis, or as a sexual toy. Our Inhabitant of Dayton points out correctly that a chastity belt (I assume he or she (or it) is reffering to chastity belts; the email is not in all aspects a model of clear and exact argumenting) can be imagined to be used in non-consentual situations. I guess the diagnosis of my being-weirdness is to be considered as an inference of this analysis. I assume the inference could be reconstructed as follows: forcing people to wear a chastity belt is something evil; I explain technical details of wearing chastity belts; therefor, I am advocating something evil.
If we would accept T’s position, it would be evil to participate in any kind of BDSM-game as the submissive part, since a variation of the very same game could be used as a mean of (serious, non-consentual) torture somewhere in the world (if we would “live in country”, as T states). For the same reason, it would be evil to volunteer for organ transplantation after death, since other people could have organs removed after their death against their will. For the same reason, it would be evil to contribute money, since other people could be dispossessed by bad gouvernements. For the same reason, it would be evil to do anything good we are not obligded to do, since somebody else could be forced to do the same. A strange inference T wants us to draw, I think.
Perhaps this kind of reasoning can be traced back to Kant (although there remain a few doubts wether our guy from Dayton ever happened to read Kant). According to Kant, our behaviour should be such that we would be satisfied if everybody else showed the same behaviour. I think this rule misses the differences between different people; obviously, Kant thought mankind to be rather uniform, a natural reaction to a wide-spread apologetic theory of inherited differences and privileges in favour of an aristocratien society. But if we would follow Kant’s rule, a typical character of de Sade’s writings (who are, in modern termes, typically switches, that means, they find pleasure both in the dominant and the submissive role) would be allowed to torture everybody else, since they won’t mind to be tortured themselfes. Since we think that even de Sade’s heroes shouldn’t be allowed to torture anybody else, there must be something wrong with Kant’s rule. We should insist that nobody should be tortured against his or her will, even if his or her torturer won’t mind to be tortured himself. But if we are forced to admit that different people have different needs, there is also no way to prevent, if we accept the universal right of persuit of happiness, that some people might have the right to let themself be tortured (in a consentual play) if this is what their need is and what makes them happy.
So the inference that, if somebody is forced to wear a chastity belt against his or her will, it is in all cases evil (or “weird”) to wear a chastity belt relies on the false assumption that all people are equal. In fact, we should demand instead that all people should have equal rights. And those equal rights mean that you have the right not to wear a chastity belt if you don’t want to; and also, that you have the right to wear a chastity belt if you happen to want to.
Having this settled, we may now further examine the occasions people could wear chastity belts. As far as my imanigation reaches, there are three main opportunities: 1) to prevent teenage pregnancy 2) to prevent infidelity 3) as part of a consentual dominance/submission-game. Considering what we said above, case 3 doesn’t raise any particular difficulties. Case 1 and 2 raise moral problems, but also technical problems. Let us take a look at these technical problems.
A chastity belt must settle within the small intersection of safety and security. If a chastity belt is to have any meaning, it must be escape-proof and has to prevent sexual intercourse and masturbation, if this is wanted. On the other hand, it should not cause injuries on its wearer. This can only be achieved if the belt fits its wearer perfectly. Otherwise, the belt can be cheated, or it is impossible, for example for hygienical reasons, to wear the belt for extended times. There are many fictional stories on the net in which the wife surprises her unsuspecting husband (or vice versa) with a perfectly fitting chastity belt, in some cases with a chastity belt that can be worn immediatly for ever. Reality looks a little bit different. It is hardly imaginable how it should be possible to take the needed measures without the victim being alarmed. But, even worse, it is hardly imaginable how it should be possible to force someone instantly to wear a chastity belt for extended times without a high risk of permanent injury. It should be noted that even custom-made belts quite often do not fit, and I do know people who reported that several different custom-made devices failed on them, due to their anatomy. Wether you are able or not to wear a chastity belt is, in some regard, a question of chance. I wouldn’t be too surprised if it could be proved that there are “belt-resistant” people.
Besides, if you are really interested in being free from a non-consentual belt, all you have to do is to learn how to pick a lock. There are many people (not related to the chastity-belt-scene) who do lock-picking as their hobby. Join your local lock-picker-club, and in short time, you should be able to escape your belt and even to be able to reinstall it without getting noticed. If a key-holder would want to prevent a non-consentual belt to be defeated, he or she would be forced to lock the wearer not only in a belt, but also in a cell. It just doesn’t work.
Now, let us take a closer look at teenage pregnancy. I guess a little statistic could be helpfull. I don’t have a special statistic for Dayton, but the following should do:
|Country||Pregnancies||Births||Abortions||Abortions per Pregnancies|
If you want to reduce the frequency of teenage pregnancy, vote for a party that promises to redistribute the means of your society in favour of the poor, and tell your children all you know about sexuality, and where they can find further informations, in case you don’t know everything about sexuality, and give them enough pocket money so that they can afford condoms. And forget about chastity belts.
Now let us consider case 2: chastity belts as a mean to prevent infidelity. There are some tales about arabian sheiks ordering contemporarian chastity belts. I don’t know how serious one should take such tales, but I guess, if you are rich, a better strategy would be that you restrict your wife (your wifes) strictly to your house and prevent that anybody else shall ever see her. Such a strategy was once very popular among the rich in different cultures, and I would think it bears some serious advantages in comparison with the chastity-belt-solution. So I doubt that there really is a market for chastity belts.
And what would you do if you life in a strange, alien, mysterious, unamerican, un-daytonian culture with crude rules, were not-so-rich and wanted to ensure your wifes fidelity? The answer is as simple as cruel: cut off her inner labias and her clitoris, or preferebly let her family perform this operation while she is still a child. Unfortunatly, this is common practice in many countries (including the immigrants in western countries), but it works ugly well without the aid of a high-tech device as a modern chastity belt (often female circumcision is performed with a piece of broken glass, without disinfectant or anaesthetic).
Now do our Terminator (in Dayton) really assume that I, since I inform about the consentual use of chastity belts, must consequently also defend female circumcision? Would it be not more plausible and more probable that I, as a defender of liberal oppinions, would, at the same time, defend the consentual use of sexual toys of adults and reject the performance of permanent injury on minors? But let us leave arabian nights and return to Dayton. In many fictions related to chastity belts, the wearing of a chastity belt is forced (which we revealed as fictional above), and many of those fictions attempt to create an aura of “justice”. A typicall chastity-belt-fiction (and an amazing amount of them popped into existence the last years) could be as follows: A and B are married for some years, sex isn’t too interesting any more, as suddenly wife A discovers that husband B has cheaten her. Now she searches revenge or wants to ensure that this could never happen again, and she forces B to wear a chastity belt. Usually, she forces B by threatening to divorce if he doesn’t obey. The laws on divorce in Dayton and surroundings must be frightening, because all the males in the fictions obey. Usually, further humilations follow: husband B is forced to do all the housework, or must dress like a woman, or wife A has affairs with other men. In most cases, these further humilations exceed by far the initial fault of B, but since B did the first step, some crude kind of moral feeling is preserved (by the way, one of the most humilating things in these stories seems to be that the husband is forced to sit while peeing; I am a little bit puzzled why this should be so humilating: to me, it seems anyway preferrable with regard to hygiene, and half of mankind is doing it, as far as I can see, without feeling to be humilated).
I am not too familiar with the legislation of Dayton and sourroundings considering divorce, but I guess if someone should choose between divorce and forced chastity, anybody not choosing divorce is either lunatic or masochistic. In most cases as presented by the mentioned fictions, one could sue the key-holder in spe for a number of offenses, like black-mailing, bodily harm, rape or wrongful detention. And it is really not that much a problem to get a chastity belt off. In some stories, the victim hesitates since he or she fears the humilation of telling a locksmith his or her condition. I doubt if this is really a strong, lasting, convincing motivation.
In a liberal society, it is difficult to think of a situation were adults could be forced to wear a chastity belt against their will. And in other societies, as we have seen, there are other problems of more prominence. Furthermore, in our society, a marriage is considered not as a deal between a man and the person having the munt of a woman (usually her father), but as a relation of love. As a consequence, we consider a marriage to be something between persons of equal rights, and between persons who bewares to be autonomous, and who have the right to break off. Therefor, since any person is free to divorce, it is impossible to force fidelity. While you are loved, you can trust. When you are no longer loved, no technical device can bring you back this love.
This may be a little bit disappointing for those who have a sexual fantasy about being forced to wear a chastity belt. As a result, many of the mentioned fictional stories construct a slightly altered society were it could be possible to force someone to wear a chastity belt. And also, many of those fictions assume the invention of a new kind of chastity belt that can’t be defeated. There is also a subtile moral problem: how can you consentual settle an agreement that you will be forced to do something you do not want? But that may be another topic.
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