Locktober has affectionally been called “Valentine’s Day” for chastity subs, submissives whose kinks include being locked in chastity cages by their Dominants, or, as they sometimes call them, their “keyholders.”* Most submissives who are participating in Locktober agree to stay in chastity for the entire month of October, refraining from masturbation and sex.
“I am definitely a chastity enthusiast and Loctober participant,” says Edward Cantor. For him, the collective spirit of the Locktober challenge is part of the fun. “It pushes the idea [of chastity] to the forefront of attention for a while,” he says. “And those who are participating can feel it like a shared occasion.”
As someone who spends much of my time advocating for pleasure, and not its denial, I had to admit that Edward’s excitement for a month in a chastity cage wasn’t intuitive to me. So, I reached out to others who enjoy chastity and denial to better understand its appeal. Their enthusiasm for being locked up carried an erotic charge that matched the excitement of any other sexual fetish or pleasure, demonstrating that the denial of pleasure can itself be pleasurable.
Charlie started practicing chastity with his wife of 11 years, Emma, after she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. When she got sick, she was worried that her pain flare-ups–which made sex too painful to engage in–would be a problem in their marriage. Charlie says, “She gets paranoid sometimes that I’ll ‘run off with someone else.’” Though Charlie never had any desire to do that, he did want to make her feel secure in their relationship and for that reason he proposed a chastity cage. One night he said to her, “You can literally lock my cock up with a click of your fingers.”
Daniel also practices chastity with his wife Beth**, but their route was different. “I was curious about orgasm control and chastity,” Daniel says. They read a book on chastity together, and Beth also became interested in experimenting, but for them it was coupled with cuckolding (an agreement where she can have sex with other men). Daniel recalls, “About 5 or 6 years ago we got into the cuckold thing and [my locked chastity] seemed like a fun part of it.” Certainly, her having sex with other men while he was physically denied intensified the dynamic (particularly within the bounds of a stable and secure relationship).
Matt and Kate, who have a long-distance relationship, only introduced chastity into their relationship in August (they discuss their experience in Kate’s podcast The Dildorks, and Matt shares their chastity journal on Twitter). While Matt is typically the dominant one, they thought that flipping the script in this way would add something new to their dynamic. While in Matt’s words, “It gives me the ability to focus on my partner’s pleasure entirely for periods of time,” it also heightened their longing and desire, making it feel like a new relationship. Matt goes on, “It intensifies feelings of love/devotion… and it makes the orgasm after I’m unlocked so much stronger and hotter.”
For everyone I talked to, being unlocked carried a lot of emotional weight. Because Charlie’s chastity is tied to his wife’s flare-ups, part of the excitement for him is knowing that when he is freed from his cage, she is ready and eager for sex. He says, “If I want sex and she is in pain during a flare-up she will order me to lock up and I’ll stay locked until she is ready.” This makes it all the sweeter when he is unlocked. “It has an added bonus that when she decides to unlock me it’s because she is pain-free and wants sex,” he says. “Sometimes I will have to give her 2-3 orgasms to earn my unlock.” This chastity game that they have created allows both of them to clearly demarcate when sex is possible and when it is not, while simultaneously adding an erotic charge to their down periods.
Daniel’s associations are less positive, though no less intense. For Daniel, being unlocked reminds him of his feelings of inadequacy that the cage helps him to eroticize. “I feel kind of lost and aimless [when the cage comes off],” he says. “I’m not really a stud. I was over conscious of my shortcomings. If I have been locked up for 3 months, I cum very quickly. It’s nice to have that feeling, but it doesn’t last long.” The buildup, for Daniel, can be more fulfilling than the release.
They also all understand the sexual frustration of chastity to be part of its allure. Charlie says, “I have been locked for 12 days today and literally everything Emma does is unbelievably sexy.” Daniel also feels a heightened excitement while caged. He remarks, “It is frustrating but in an extremely ecstatic way. I have orgasm-like spasms. It can be a fever-pitch of excitement when it doesn’t get released.”
Matt talks about using the frustration to feed the relationship. They say, “Frustration is part of the point. But so is channeling that frustration into service for your keyholder.”
Charlie and Emma also look at chastity in this way. Charlie says, “Emma needs me to be more active around the house doing chores, etc. [when she’s sick], so when I’m locked it’s a turn-on to be ordered to do things.”
Daniel’s forms of service while in chastity are both sexual and nonsexual. He says, “We do different things: cunnilingus, foot worship. Also, acts of service. Making coffee, making breakfast.” But given that those chores are tied to his chastity, he says, “These get sexualized too.”
And of course, there is also the teasing that accompanies denial. Charlie says, “Last night I got to hug her. She was in too much pain for sex but wanted to feel me ‘twitching.’ It was throbbing in the cage. I guess she wanted to feel sexy but for me it was her teasing me with her power over my cock.”
Edward can relate to this. He says, “I recall once I was caged in public with my Domme and she found a private corner just to cup the cage and smile then laugh. It is amazing when you know it is enjoyment for the other.”
Many of those I talked to have come up with creative ways to eroticize what would be otherwise difficult situations: sex outside of the marriage, a long-distance relationship, illness and disability, feelings of inadequacy, fear of abandonment, etc. The power of human sexuality is that it is incredibly adaptable, becoming a playground upon which we can touch, move through, and transform some of our deepest feelings and desires. And, it can be damn hot. I am most certainly going to go to bed tonight thinking of cocks twitching in cages.
*Keyholders can be professional dominatrices or the partner/play partner of the submissive.
**Names have been changed to protect privacy.
Jessie Sage is a sex worker and writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. She’s also the co-founder of Peepshow Magazine and the co-host of the Peepshow Podcast. Her words can be found in the Washington Post, VICE’s Motherboard, Hustler Magazine, Men’s Health, BuzzFeed, and more. She’s currently writing a book on sex work, motherhood, and illness called An Unexpected Place (forthcoming on West Virginia University Press).