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Sex Toy Travel Advisory

If you're thinking about joining the mile-high club, going on a second honeymoon, or taking a trip to rendezvous with your sex buddy, you'll have to be careful where you pack your lube and sex toys, or risk going through an embarrassing delay in the airport security queue. Traveling with sex toys has always been a bit dicey, but with recent events it's gotten even trickier.

Thanks to the recent apprehension of Britain's "gel bombers," air travel authorities in both the US and UK have banned any liquid or gels in carry on luggage. This includes any type of lube, such as KY Jelly or AstroGlide. If you have any sort of lube or sex lotion in your carry on, you'll be subject to having it publicly confiscated. You probably want to be spared the humiliation of having an air screener waving around a bottle of your Banana-Flavored Juicy Lube while your fellow passengers crane their necks to see what's causing the delay.

Whither the Lube?

Lubes are still permitted if packed in checked luggage, but that won't help you any if you were hoping to use them in flight. If you want to get it on in the airplane lavatory, but don't want to do it dry, be prepared and carry a lubricated condom or two. And when packing your bottle of lube or massage oil in your checked luggage, put the bottle inside a sealable Ziploc bag to prevent any leaking caused by changes in altitude in a nonpressurized cargo hold. A handful of sealed "single serving" pillow packs of lube can also be handy for traveling.

In addition to the ban on liquids and gels, all electronic devices are now required to be removed from carry on baggage and placed in separate trays before screening. This means that while technically you still can bring your vibrator on the plane with you, you're expected to take it out and put it in full view in one of those plastic bins before it goes through the X-ray machine. Some people suggest traveling with "discreet" vibrators - vibrators made to look like a hairbrush or lipstick, for example. But these days, any electrical device that's disguised might seem more suspicious, so you might be better off going with a vibrator design that's simply abstract and nondescript.

Carry-on Conundrums - The X-Ray Sees All

Don't think the screeners won't see a vibrator inside your carry on bag, no matter how many layers of sweatpants you wrap it in. The X-ray machine will reveal it in detail, and anything with batteries, wiring, and a motor is bound to set screeners off into high-alert mode. Wrapping it up or putting it in a secret pocket just means the screeners will have to tear the contents of your bag apart to get to it. Better to put it in a clear plastic bag so they can see exactly what it is and they don't muck it up when handling it. Better yet, avoid the hassle and just put it in your checked luggage. But be sure you take the batteries out first. There have been cases of flight delays caused by a passenger's vibrator switching on while luggage was being loaded, triggering a security lock-down.

As far as packing non-vibrating sex toys and devices in carry on, use your own common sense. Some items, like nipple clamps and cock rings, may appear innocuous enough to escape a screener's scrutiny. But be aware that security officials are on heightened lookout for anything unusual, and you may find yourself in the awkward position of explaining what a penis pump is for. It's probably better to leave it in your checked luggage than have to mumble something about it being "a medical device" or wing a lame excuse about a "joke gift for a friend." Whatever you do, don't offer a demonstration - that will probably land you on the "no fly" list.

If you think you can beat the system by carrying your sex toys on your person, you might want to think again. Of course, you'll have to empty your pockets of anything metal and put the contents in a tray, and anything battery-powered like a vibe will be subject to extra scrutiny. Attempting to wear a strap-on through security is risky as well. The bulge in your crotch is likely to draw attention anyway, and if the harness has any metal rivets or buckles, it will set off the metal detector, and you'll be pulled aside for a pat-down. Likewise for any wearable clit vibrators. The one exception here might be a non-vibrating butt plug, inserted ahead of time. If you enjoy wearing a plug in public, it could help alleviate the tedium of a dull flight and long lines in the terminal.

Seriously, if you do have sex toys in your luggage, and you're singled out for a security search, either randomly or because of something irregular, don't panic. Acting nervous will only arouse the suspicions of the security staff. Although it may be an embarrassing moment for you, remember that the screeners are just doing their jobs, and they have been trained to behave professionally. Most of them have encountered sex toys before in their line of work, so chances are they won't be seeing anything new, and will not go out of their way to humiliate you. You might want to mention that your baggage contains items of a very personal nature and you would appreciate their discretion. With any luck, the ordeal will be over quickly and you'll be on your way. Or if you're an exhibitionistic type, savor the moment and use it as fantasy fodder for later.

Pack Light - But Don't Forget the Batteries

When traveling with toys, there are some general guidelines you'll want to follow. As with anything you put in your luggage, when it comes to packing sex toys for a trip, smaller and lighter is always better. It's much more convenient to carry a compact, single-battery vibrator than a bulky, heavy Hitachi Magic Wand. Take only the minimum of toys that you think you will use. Just bring your favorites, not your whole toy box. To save space, you can also choose to bring toys that are multipurpose. Pack a vibrating dildo so you don't need to bring both a vibrator and a dildo. Since travel always includes an element of spontaneity, you may not always know how and where you'll be using a toy on your trip, so plan for versatility. Waterproof toys are good because you can use them in or out of the shower or hot tub.

Make sure your vibe has fresh batteries, and bring spares just in case. Nothing kills the mood like a vibrator sputtering out, and replacement batteries may not always be readily available, especially if it's an odd type like a watch battery. In the unlikely event that you can't be parted from your electrical vibrator and you've brought it with you on a trip to another country, make sure you have any necessary current adapters so you can use the local power supply.

Even if you can't give up your favorite vibrator for a week, it's probably best not to take any toys with you that are extremely valuable, irreplaceable, or that have sentimental value. We all know how things have a way of getting left in the hotel by accident, not to mention the hazards of lost luggage. Good luck getting the airline to reimburse you for a $200 rabbit vibrator.


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