First, a fun story!
The only time I’ve made a mistake while traveling with sex toys was a few years ago while I was rushing to pack. I had put a vibrator and a pack of wet wipes together in a plastic bag in my carry on. Logically, this made sense in my head. Those two items are sometimes used together and I had room in the plastic bag. “Why waste another bag? The environment!” I said to myself, as I tossed it all into my carry-on.
Oh so many reasons, as I later learned. As my carry on went through the x-ray machine, I got the signal. The agent standing with my bag keeping an eye out for its owner. Luckily? for me, I was genuinely confused as to what the problem could be.
The lovely TSA agent was just about as nice and discreet as you can be as she did her check. She pulled out my sex toy/wet wipes bag, worked quickly on at counter level instead of raising it up to eye level. Later on, I asked what A thought of the whole spectacle, and he hadn’t even noticed, that’s how discreet she was. This is at a tiny airport and half the plane’s passengers were within 15 feet of me. Professionalism at its best.
After returning my bag to its spot in the suitcase, she explained to me where I went wrong. “Just so you know, the wipes are what popped up on our scanner because there’s liquid in them. So it might be a good idea to pack those separately next time.”
I hung my head in shame and nodded–not because she had pulled out a sex toy, but because my bags required additional screening! I’m usually obsessively on top of pulling out anything and everything that may get flagged.
So, embarrassment aside, how to fly with sex toys? The short answer: relatively easily. Just make sure you do your research and follow these tips–all will be fine.
Can you even bring sex toys?
Sex toys and supplies are all legal in the US, even if you have to check them. Despite some states “banning” sex toys, TSA and airline security is at the federal level. No one is going to check you on your way into Alabama.
Outside the US, local laws always apply. Check the restrictions of not only your destination, but also any countries you’re flying through. Remember that it is possible to be heavily fined or even imprisoned for possession of certain sex supplies, so proceed with caution. Your US citizenship will not help you too much in these cases.
Use a disguise if necessary. If the laws of your destination aren’t in your favor, this is where those “back massagers” and lipstick-shaped mini vibes come in handy. Note that this isn’t fool-proof, but if you absolutely need to bring something, disguised toys are safer options.
Carry on or checked bags? The same rules apply to sex supplies as any other object for carry on. Is it sharp, filled with liquid or gel? Generally, 7 inches is the threshold for consideration as a club or weapon. Final decisions are always made at the discretion of the TSA officer. Otherwise, it should be fine. When in doubt, check it.
Pack them Properly
Check liquid restrictions. They apply to lube and also to wet wipes. Separate these from the toys and put them with your other liquids. Wipes will require additional screening because it looks like a giant rectangle of liquid on the scanner. Lesson learned so you don’t have to find out the hard way!
Remove batteries. You’re supposed to do this with everything, so make sure you remember them for the fun stuff. It’s better for the motor anyways and will lengthen its life.
Put each item in it’s own clear, plastic bag. This may seem excessive, but if there’s an issue with one item, the agent won’t have to dig through a whole bag of stuff to figure out what they’re looking for. And in the majority of cases, this means no one will have to touch your toy. Feel free to also hide it inside another opaque bag or container, but just in case it needs to be handled, it’s still protected.
If There’s an Issue…
Don’t be embarrassed. TSA agents have seen it ALL, I promise.
You can ask to be questioned in private. This isn’t necessary at all and I don’t recommend it, but it’s an option if you’re, say, traveling with your grandparents or simply don’t want 10-20 other people seeing your sex supplies. Note that this will increase the time you spend in security.
Be honest. Even if they’re being jerks, lying to security personnel is always a bad idea. Just answer questions truthfully. Direct eye contact helps, otherwise they might interpret your behavior as lying or generally suspicious for non-sex related reasons.
Report bad behavior. If you feel like you’re being mistreated in any way, quietly take note of their name/badge and report them. Either email the TSA’s Contact Center at TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov or contact the TSA Office of Civil Rights and Liberties for issues with discrimination.