*Links and embedded content in this story may be NSFW.
In his first video to go massively viral, CagedJock -- as he's known to his 73,000 followers across Instagram and Twitter -- is at home, fresh from the gym. He steps in front of the camera wearing a body-hugging grey athletic top and matching camouflage running tights. First, he strips off the shirt to show off his sculpted chest and upper torso. Then, he poses for a moment before removing the tights to reveal a completely transparent Holy Trainer v2 chastity device around his genitals.
The scintillating clip from 2015 began to stamp him as one of the faces of chastity online -- though, at the time, he posted anonymously. It racked up over 100,000 notes on Tumblr, and that's excluding the posts where others had ripped and re-posted the video, before it was ultimately removed from the platform four months later. (To be fair, at the end of the video, CJ turns around for the final reveal: a butt plug.) Over time, posts like these made CagedJock not only an educator about the centuries-old technique-turned-kink of orgasm denial, but also an agent of change, warping ideas about Asian sexuality and what it means to be locked.
"The arousal factor for me is losing control and handing it over to your partner," CJ says of the fetish, which he discovered via a photo on Tumblr in 2015, preceding the site's adult content ban three years later. That control is mostly symbolized in the form of a key that locks and unlocks the device. "A lot of people think practicing chastity [as a kink] means abstinence, and that's not true. It's not about totally denying sex or cumming, it's about letting your partner decide how and when that happens."
Chastity has many forms, some mental and some device-driven. With the latter, the origins of the chastity belt are disputed. The belt harkens back to the Middle Ages, according to Vi Johnson, founder of the Carter/Johnson Library & Collection, a resource on fetish history and literature. Allegedly used by men on their wives before going off to war to ensure fidelity, chastity belts would lead to infections due to a lack of cleanliness and personal hygiene, sometimes resulting in death. Although they are mentioned in the Middle Ages, some historians argue that references to the belts were possibly metaphorical. The earliest examples of devices, in this latter telling, date to the 18th and 19th centuries.
Eventually chastity was adopted as a mode of kink and fetish by heterosexual society which continues today, most popularly through the use of cages. Femme dominants, or dommes, hold keys for their heterosexual male submissives' devices. Outside of this, recent reports even show that a subcommunity of straight men are self-locking as a deterrent to masturbation. But it has also been adopted by queer fetishists in a process that centers submission and dabbles in body modification.
In the leather community, which for the large part has become the home for queer fetishists, the growing prevalance of chastity among gay men is clear. 2,250 kinky leather folk gathered for a lineup of over 125 classes at Cleveland Leather Annual Weekend in April. Of those sessions, three were specifically about chastity, discussing the 101s of long-term and short-term options, and each was packed with attendees (some already caged) with standing-room only. There, instructor Michael Calin (@CuirCub) pointed to a two-week mark as a pivotal moment for many, turning a short-term kink into something else. "Things go from a foreseeable end of unlocking, to a questionable end," he told the crowd.
Philadelphia-based john (who prefers their name to be lowercase as a sign of submission) has seen that two-week mark and gone far beyond it. "For me, this is not an item or article that I put on and take off," they said. john has practiced chastity in some form since 2010. "Now it is a part of me and how I understand myself." john, who boasts 24,000 followers on their anonymous Twitter (@selfauthoredsub), topped out at 430 days, orgasming exclusively via prostate milking, wherein one is brought to orgasm via prostate stimulation alone.
That long of a period can have effects on the body. Wearing a cage constantly affects one's walk and generally how one goes to the bathroom -- both CJ and john mostly sit as opposed to using a urinal. The device is a constant reminder of the keyholder (for those who have one).
The internet has proven to be both a way for people to discover chastity and engage in it. While online, people now coagulate around Twitter accounts from users like CJ and john (and @RuffledSheets, which reviews cages), as well as sites like ChastityLocked and LockedMen. Some find and maintain keyholders through the web. In these cases, for longer term locks, some submissives will mail their keys to long-distance keyholders, while others utilize tools like numbered, plastic seals that are confirmed to still be in place via random photo update requests -- these updates are verified by timestamp metadata in the images.
"Being locked is one of the ultimate services a boy can provide, but it's mostly a mental thing," Calin says, pointing out that many have a spare key on hand for emergencies and some cages can simply be pulled off. But having a cage around the genitals also becomes a much-needed point of conversation on apps like Grindr or Scruff if hooking up is the intention. ("I have a three point explainer," john says for chats on apps. "It bottles up my horniness so I want to serve you more. It makes me focus not on my penis but only on my [ass] so I can feel how you're fucking me. It makes the entire thing about you.") But the practice also has a latent effect on the body in other ways.
"Being caged for so long gives you a lot of energy, stamina, and testosterone build-up," CJ says. "You have all of this sexual energy you cannot release, so you go to the gym." For john, that's an unending process of building a better body as a tool of service to men, while CJ has goals set out for him by an owner that pays for fitness classes. The result turns some caged boys into Adonises with cages where you'd expect to see genitals, similar to the first photo CJ saw that triggered his exploration. But as for the effects on the essentials: CJ, john, and Calin say that being in chastity, even long term, does not cause long term effects to penis mass.
In addition to proselytizing hundreds of thousands to chastity, CJ has used his platforms, which include a well-followed JustForFans account, to play with ideas surrounding the kink. "Porn can get a little bit restrictive," he says. Though he began anonymously, he has increasingly shown his face on camera in an effort to change not only how men in chastity are viewed, but also how Asian men are perceived, as both are routinely relegated to more submissive roles in gay porn, and culturally. "I'm always looking to mix and match different elements together."
Case in point: In a video titled "Paradox Alpha" posted in June 2018 alongside porn star Axel Abysse, CJ turns sadistic, becoming the insertive partner pegging Abysse via an oversized strap-on, as well as his fist. His cage is fully on display throughout, and at one point Axel is made to fellate it. Who's the submissive now?
This article appears in Out's August 2019 issue celebrating the body. The cover features South African Olympian Caster Semenya. To read more, grab your own copy of the issue on Kindle, Nook, Zinio or (newly) Apple News+ today. Preview more of the issue here and click here to subscribe.