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Athlete infibulating himself (psykter by the Syriskos Painter, ca. 480 BC)

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.

It is first alluded to in literature in the 5th century BC, in the partially preserved satyr play Theoroi by Aeschylus. There is earlier evidence from the images of athletes on Ancient Greek pottery.

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.[1]

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  1. ^ Martial 6.82, Juvenal 6.73, 379; J.P. Sullivan, 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.