23 May Have Sex Toys, Will Travel
By Dirty Lola
Traveling can be stressful as fuck, especially for those of us who dare to be true to our sexual selves while away from home. We’ve all heard the horror stories from our fellow travelers; finding notes left in their checked suitcases by rude TSA agents, being pulled aside to have their bag searched because of an unrecognizable form or mysterious buzzing in their carryon bag, having to leave behind bottles of expensive lube or, even worse, an expensive toy because they don’t meet TSA guidelines. Whether it’s for vacation or for work traveling with sex toys and the like can be nerve-wracking, so what’s a sexy traveler to do?
Well, while I can’t guarantee you’ll never experience an embarrassing travel moment again I can share tips that will insure those moments happen less frequently and make traveling with all of your sexy time gear a much smoother experience.
To Carry-On or To Not Carry-On
I firmly believe you should pack your sex toys and gear in your carry-on bag whenever possible. Why? Well, for one, who wants nosy security staff handling their precious and sometimes expensive sex toys? I know I don’t. I also don’t want to have to worry about my luggage getting lost and my toys along with it. You can buy more clothes if your luggage disappears, but replacing your sex toys while in the midst of travel can sometimes be a rather difficult endeavor. It may seem like packing your sex toys in your carry-on bag is asking for trouble, but the chances of having your carryon bag searched are very slim if you’ve packed it properly (keep reading to find out how to do that).
Now is Not the Time to Play Hide the Dong
I know your first instinct might be to hide your sex toys from prying eyes. HOWEVER, burying your toys between layers of clothing or over stuffing your bag could result in it being pulled for further inspection. If the TSA can’t clearly see what items you have in your bag during scanning they will definitely need to open it up to see what’s inside.
Sometimes Size Does Matter
Sometimes it can be too big, at least when it comes to flying. If you are only traveling with a carryon bag you should leave any vibrator, dildo or impact implement over seven inches at home. If you must travel with toys larger than seven inches you’ll need to check your luggage. This goes double for whips, canes and any BDSM gear that resembles a baton or club. These items can be considered weapons and you will more than likely be pulled aside for bag inspection. Worse yet your prized items could be confiscated. If you do decide to check these items it’s a good idea to write a note and pack it along with your BDSM gear to explain what each item is. I know it sounds silly but the TSA is allowed to confiscate items from a checked bag if they are unable to identify what it is. Don’t take that chance.
Be Kinky and Careful.
Don’t be afraid to pack your BDSM gear! While there are definitely items you should leave home or pack in a checked bag there are a lot of things you can pack in your carryon without a problem. Small paddles or implements the size of a ping pong paddle or smaller, handcuffs, harnesses and E-Stim machines (They allow the e-stim machines folks use for medical purposes sooooo you’re good) are all carryon friendly but remember it’s up to each TSA agents discretion. You can always call your airline or visit TSA.govbefore you fly to make sure your item is allowed.
Lube is a Liquid. No Seriously. It Is.
I can’t emphasize this point enough. I know your lube isn’t a weapon of mass destruction, but you still, have to pack it and any other liquids or gels you may have according to FAA guidelines for carryon items. So this means we are packing ALL of our lubes, arousal gels, toy cleaners, and any other potions you may have into 3oz containers and placing them in a quart-size zip top bag along with your other liquids and gels. It’s also really easy to find travel size bottles/packets of lubes and such in brick and mortar sex shops and online (AHEME Spectrum sells 2oz bottles!!) I prefer to buy the lube packets (Spectrum sells these too!) since they don’t take up as much space as a bottle I can bring a variety of lubes. I also prefer to buy toy cleaner wipes instead of the liquid. Packing these properly will most definitely mean less hassle when going through security.
Buffalo Should Roam Free. Vibrators Shouldn’t.
Trust me. If you just throw your vibe into your bag, at some point that free-range vibrator will turn itself on just as your bag is being inspected. To avoid moments like this drain the battery of your favorite rechargeable vibe or if you’re old school remove the batteries before packing it up. Luckily many rechargeable toys are now being made with travel locks. Lucky us!! Check your product’s user manual to find out if yours has one.
Keep It Together.
Packing your sex toys, kink gear, and safer sex supplies all together in a zippered pouch or toy bag of some type will add another layer of protection from prying eyes if you do get pulled aside. I suggest going one step further and individually packing each toy in a see-through mesh or plastic zip top bag before packing them into the toy bag. As a safety precaution, I always pack condoms, dental dams, and gloves separately in their own smaller zippered pouch that I keep inside of the larger toy bag to avoid accidental punctures during travel. These cases and bags keep your toys organized, easy to find and, above all else, CLEAN!!! Also, being able to see what’s in each bag is a must if you travel with a number of items. It’ll make it easier for TSA agents to inspect your items should you be pulled aside.
Know Before You Go.
TSA guidelines are always changing so it’s always a good idea to check TSA.gov before you start packing for a trip. Even with guidelines in place, it’s still up to TSA agents to decide what is okay and what is not. That can vary from airport to airport. What may pass through without a second glance in New York may get more scrutiny in Idaho. If you are unsure if an item will make it through in your carryon then it’s a good idea to pack it in your checked luggage. That doesn’t mean your item won’t be tampered with, or worse, stolen so leave expensive or irreplaceable items at home or ship them ahead of you if you really need them. It is also a great idea to read up on the laws, rules, and regulations of the place you are visiting, both domestic and international. For instance, having one too many vibrators is illegal in Texas while simply having an erotic book or magazine can get you into trouble abroad.
Should your bag be pulled for further investigation, be ready to answer questions about any item in your toy bag, and remember that you can always request that your bag be inspected in private?
No matter how well you pack there is always a chance that your bag will be searched when going through a security checkpoint. This has happened to me more than once, and each time I’ve made sure to politely inform the TSA agent that the big black zippered bag in my carryon is full of sex toys. I say it confidently and with a smile on my face because there is no shame in using sex toys. No one has the right to embarrass you or shame you for the ways you seek out pleasure.
I hope that these tips have been helpful. With a little preflight prep, research, and organization, traveling with your sex toys can be a stress-free and less embarrassing situation.
Happy sexy travels to you all!
Dirty Lola is a performer, sex educator, the creator and host of the live sex Q&A/variety show Sex Ed A Go Go and producer/cohost of the mini docuseries Sex Probz. During the last seven years, she has shared her distinctive brand of kickass body and sex-positivity and her personal journey into kink and ethical nonmonogamy on and off stage.
Illustration by @peomichie