My Sex Toys Are Not Bombs (However, Messy Explosions? Yes.)
August 15, 2011 7:34 PM   Subscribe

Caring for my personal toys? More after the jump. (NSFW)

Since I have a decent sized collection of sexual toys, books, and DVDs along with a number of lingerie items, wigs, and masks, I recently bought the following suitcase to house them (which would also allow me to store more items in the future).

Besides finally getting a proper case for these items, I’ve also realized I have a few question on how to best care of things like my vibrators as well as traveling with them.

1) I’ve read that I should use a “toy cleaner” for some of my vibrators – but I have no idea what I should use. Do you have any recommendations?

2) How should my vibrators be kept in the suit case? In baggies or what? I know about removing the batteries though.

3) In a number of months, I’ll be going to Japan for my job, which is sort of making me nervous. Should I be worried about Customs? Are the Japanese going to be inclined to confiscate anything (my DVDs aren’t child porn, but those ones parodying movies, like PoTC)?

4) Which brings me to: How worried should I be about my checked bag? Can’t I just lock it (NOT with a TSA approved lock, thank you very much – those are pretty shitty) and not worry about it, or are airport security going to want to pry open my bag due to a “suspicious” looking x-ray….or their own damned curiosity and light fingers?

Yes, I’m worried about my collection traveling overseas. I realize the bag could get lost, but oddly that doesn’t worry be as much as someone just stealing shit out of my bag. While losing the entire bag would be a loss of at least $500 worth of items (including the actual bag), it’s not as concerning as someone just being able to open it and take items out of it.
I already plan to take pictures of everything that will be checked, sex items or not, but should I….what, put a note inside my bag? “All of my items have been photographed – thieves be warned”?

Also, if you have any other tips on caring for such items (including the lingerie), I’d appreciate it.

-Also- also, if you have any recommendations for making my collection more….luxurious (ex. The lingerie and my new silk kimono are luxurious, whereas nail polish, to me at least, is not)? I’d appreciate that too. Heh, I don’t have a boyfriend – this collection is really just for me, so don’t feel you have to have two in mind. For example, I can’t seem to find lubricants (for shower, for dryer situations, etc) that don’t feel like they’re burning me from the inside out – many, when they say they’re “warming” or “just for her” or whatever, actually are really painful and distracting.

Anyway, I realize this question is going several directions at once (and really long and far too full of parentheses hah), but I hope you’ll understand my main theme which is – I need tips on caring for my personal collection of sexy “things”. Could you please help me?
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I can't answer most of your questions because it hasn't been a thing for me in a while. I just used rubbing alcohol on my toys and equipment. Hot soapy water on latex garments. YMMV.

I did ask one of my pro-dome friends about the TSA search stuff once, since she traveled a lot for work. Her response? "If they open my cases and are shocked or embarrassed by the contents of my luggage, then they deserve what they get!"

So that's one way to look at it.

About Japan... I'm pretty sure you can buy used panties for fetish fun out of vending machines in Japan. They are a pretty sex positive kinky country from what I gather. I think you'll be fine!
posted by jbenben at 7:44 PM on August 15, 2011

If you are concerned about stealing... What about mailing it ahead?
posted by jbenben at 7:45 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think that having images of penises or vaginas is illegal in Japan just FYI.
Here's a link to a wikipedia article that says

"Japanese pornography laws require that genitals in films (including animated works) be obscured."
posted by Patrick Leo at 8:40 PM on August 15, 2011

To address just one of your questions: I have NEVER flown with sex toys and NOT found a TSA "notice of inspection" in my bag when I got to my destination (in one case wrapped around the toy inside its little bag - thanks asshole!). I would not put them in a bag TSA can't open, because they will likely just break it, as they insist is their right.
posted by crabintheocean at 8:53 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

care and cleaning of sex toys is easy, once you determine a few basic things:

1) what is the material that the toy is made of?
2) is the toy submergible in water (that is, no electronic parts that aren't sealed from intrusion by water)

toys these days fall primarily into two main material components: silicone and elastomer, although you'll also find some toys that are hard plastic, and some are made of metal, glass, or wood. most toys should simply be cleaned with warm water and a gentle soap and then dried thoroughly by hand or left to air dry

if you have a silicone toy that can be submerged in water, you have the additional option of sterilization either by putting it in the top rack of your dishwasher (seriously!!) or by placing the toy in boiling water for a few minutes. silicone toys are the only toy you can do this with, except for glass (be very careful, and it should be more like Pyrex® style glass) and metal.

there are also manufacturers who make "toy cleaner" usually in spray or pump bottles, and those are good for basic clean up. do read any package insert directions for usage!

proper cleaning and care *every time* after use prolongs the life of the toy. cleaning and sterilizing will also facilitate use by a partner as well. always clean before sharing (sorry if this is TMI, but this is important if not for your situation, for someone who might be reading this and applying it to their own sexual expression).

another random tip: if you have condoms that are past their expiration date, use them to cover any sex toy you use, then dispose of the condom between partner use or at the end of play. makes clean up a heck of a lot easier and a condom that would not be suitable for use during sex can still be used and not end up unused in a landfill...
posted by kuppajava at 9:44 AM on August 16, 2011

Bizarroland side note: cf: If you are worried about TSA snooping, pack a handgun (!?!), though I am not sure how Japan will feel about it at the other end.
posted by gregglind at 11:42 AM on August 16, 2011

I wouldn't worry too much about bringing sex toys into Japan, but bringing your entire collection on trips overseas seems a bit risky. Sex toys, including dongs and replica vaginas don't appear to be illegal in Japan (every sex shop sells them), but an entire suitcase of the things could make for an awkward conversation at customs at Narita. Entry into the country is typically made at the discretion of the customs agents, and they may send you back home for being "ayashii", or suspicious. On the other hand, they may not decide to open your bags, and will wave you through. I've made 4 trips back to Japan in the last 5 years, and they've only opened my bags once. I am, however, a straight-looking guy in my late thirties.

As for DVDs, don't bring them into Japan, as media with graphic sexual content (ie, visible genitalia) is prohibited. It is a very unwise idea to do this.

Somebody above mentioned that you can buy used panties in Japan. Actually, it's getting harder and harder to find this sort of material, as local governments are clamping down on sales of illicit material (pantie vending machines are hard to find these days).

At the same time, if you are going to be in Tokyo, why not visit a 7-story sex shop in Akihabara?

I've been there, and it's really, really good. The first floor is reserved for giggling tourists, but the other six floors have all sorts of cool stuff, including sex toys and an awesome selection of DVDs.

My recommendation is to leave your toys and DVDs at home, visit a sex shop in Japan, and fill up your little suitcase with treasures to take back home.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:16 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mod note: From the OP:
"I have NEVER flown with sex toys and NOT found a TSA "notice of inspection" in my bag when I got to my destination (in one case wrapped around the toy inside its little bag..."
That's rather disturbing. I'm sorry that happened to you D-:
"My recommendation is to leave your toys and DVDs at home, visit a sex shop in Japan, and fill up your little suitcase with treasures to take back home."
My job is requiring me to -move- to Japan for a certain amount of time. Therefore, leaving my things in the States is not an option since my home will no longer exist.
I do like the recommendation to get some things in Japan though.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:29 PM on August 16, 2011

For lubricants, try a sampler pack you can order in person or online from a place like Babeland or Good Vibrations. I can't handle any lube with glycerine in it (it burns), but I wasn't a fan of silicone. My current favorite is the sliquid line, which I found through a trial sampler I bought in a sex shop. Be warned, some lubes don't work well with some toys.
posted by avagoyle at 10:51 PM on August 16, 2011

My job is requiring me to -move- to Japan for a certain amount of time. Therefore, leaving my things in the States is not an option since my home will no longer exist.
I do like the recommendation to get some things in Japan though.

In that case, I would put the toys in your checked luggage, and make sure they're under several layers of clothes or whatever. Usually the customs officers in Narita will just do a cursory check of your luggage (if they do it at all). A way to avoid getting stopped by customs is to dress up in business casual, remove piercings, and cover up tattoos.

It's hard to say what would happen if they found your sex toy stash. They might think it was funny and send you on, they might decide to make life unpleasant, they may confiscate them, they may waste 1 or 2 hours of your time. They might even think you are bringing them into the country as product samples (this is forbidden).

Another option is to ship them separately with other personal affects.

However, a carry-on sextoy suitcase seems very risky to me.

And definitely do not bring DVDs into the country, no matter how long you are planning to stay in Japan.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:33 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I popped back in to see if my advice was at all applicable.

KokuRyu brings up some good points from personal knowledge, and here is what I think you should do: Post this question to FetLife and solicit answers from folks with recent first-hand experience.

That is all.
posted by jbenben at 9:10 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've travelled internationally (Europe) with handcuffs, leather restraints, whips, dildos, strapons, etc etc in my checked luggage. Once I got a form letter from TSA in my bag saying they inspected my stuff. If you lock it they will break the lock.

I have zero idea about Japan but in France they will open your luggage and go through it with you standing right there.

If you're lazy about cleaning your vibrators and dildos then just use condoms on them. It's not like the dildo will complain.

Luxury items: silicone all the way... the best part is you can put it in the dishwasher for cleaning. It doesn't get nasty and discolored like rubber or jelly-type dildos, and it retains body heat.

Lube: skip the warming stuff and try Liquid Silk or Wet brand lubes. Do NOT use silicone lube with silicone toys. Use water based lube that has no flavor or scent added.
posted by desjardins at 1:21 PM on August 20, 2011

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