From the point of view of some moral and religious thoughts, chastity is a virtue that consists in the moderation of carnal pleasures. In other terms it can be defined as sexual purity. In this sense, this virtue presents two types of thinking : one radical and the other moderate. Chastity understood in a radical way involves the renunciation of any sexual contact, while its moderate version establishes the renunciation of pleasures considered illicit.
The person who practices this virtue is considered to be chaste , a quality that has historically been evaluated in relation to the female sex, as the concept of a chaste woman is understood as synonymous with purity.
A brief historical summary
In Greek mythology the goddess Artemis practiced sexual abstinence, therefore she was single and chaste
The legend of Artemis is usually evaluated as a way of understanding sex, that is, a sexual inclination that is not promiscuous and based on the individual’s integrity .
In ancient Roman religion maidens were priestesses who had to be virgins and of great beauty . They practiced the vow of chastity in order to devote themselves exclusively to sacred rituals.
From the standpoint of Christianity, chastity means that the sexual inclination must be controlled and therefore the person must master his impulses in order not to become a slave to carnal pleasure. From this perspective it is evident that among the seven deadly sins lust is the antithesis of chastity.
Chastity is not a virtue associated exclusively with the Christian tradition, as it is also practiced in Buddhism as a way to reach light and avoid attachment.
the chastity belt
This artifact, a panty made of iron that could be locked like a key to prevent sexual intercourse, was used in two ways during the Medieval and Renaissance period :
1) To avoid female infidelity when husbands had to be away from home for a long time;
2) As a mechanism employed by women to prevent rape. On the belt there are all kinds of erotic ideals and fantasies.
Anyway, this artifact reminds us that woman’s chastity has been an idea rooted throughout history.