A kynodesme (Greek: κυνοδέσμη, English translation: "dog tie") was a thin leather strip worn by some athletes in Ancient Greece to restrain the penis such as to prevent the exposure of the glans. It was tied tightly around the akroposthion, the part of the foreskin that extended beyond the glans. The kynodesme could then either be attached to a waist band to expose the scrotum, or tied to the base of the penis so that the penis appeared to curl upwards.
In Greek and Roman medical practice, the uncontrolled dispersing of semen was thought to weaken men, and was particularly thought to affect the quality of the masculine voice. In ancient Rome, this form of non-surgical infibulation might thus be used by singers as a regimen for preserving the voice.
- Martial 6.82, Juvenal 6.73, 379; J.P. Sulllivan, Martial, the Unexpected Classic (Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 189; Peter Schäfer, Judeophobia: Attitudes toward the Jews in the Ancient World (Harvard University Press, 1997), p. 101; Peter J. Ucko, "Penis Sheaths: A Comparative Study," in Material Culture: Critical Concepts in the Social Sciences (Routledge, 2004), p. 260.
- Hodges FM. The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome: Male Genital Aesthetics and Their Relation to Lipodermos, Circumcision, Foreskin Restoration, and the Kynodesme. Bulletin of the History of Medicine 2001;75:375–405.
- Osborne, Robin (2004). Greek History. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-31717-7. page 10
- Keuls, Eva (1985). Reign of the Phallus. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07929-9. page 68
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