I will be so lonely without it :(
February 5, 2006 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Sex toys + airport security/immigration control/customs?

Does anyone here have any experience with taking a sex toy (I'm thinking of a big blue obviously penis-shaped vibrator here) through airport security and customs in the US and Europe? I kinda wanna take one in my carry-on luggage (because I'm a backpackery kinda girl and hope to have only carry-on luggage) but I'm scared.
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total)

Maybe mail it to yourself ahead of time? I guess you'd have to have an address to have it sent to and it would cost a bit extra, but it would give you some peace of mind.
posted by apple scruff at 1:20 PM on February 5, 2006

Scared that it will be taken from you, or just scared that someone will see it? If the latter, I say sack up and just take it - girl power!
posted by tristeza at 1:27 PM on February 5, 2006

I had a friend who carried her pink vibrator in her carry-on, on a trip within the US, and her carry-on was in fact checked, and her vibrator was found, and examined by the TSA dude, who made no comment about it. And she was very embarassed. So, yes, it could happen. (But I don't think you should be embarassed about it.)
posted by evinrude at 1:34 PM on February 5, 2006

My friend brough this metal beast with her back from OZ. (SFW Self Link) I can find out if it was carry-on or not, but I am guessing she checked it. That thing could be used as a weapon for sure. She had no trouble bringing it here, so I don't think you can get in trouble for some vibrator.

I think the safest thing would be to check it. You can check a small backpack, there is no rule against that either.
posted by chunking express at 1:41 PM on February 5, 2006

I think you should take two vibrators. Take the one you actually use, and take some ginormous, improbable monstrosity that will divert attention.

The point being to so absolutely dumbfound and blow the brains of the inspectors that you can laugh about it. Let them think what you want -- it's all a joke on them.

It should probably be the size of a guy's forearm, have an AC cord that plugs directly into it, and have the same shape as Cthulu's cock. If it you can find one that plays "Maersy dotes" and blinks LEDs in a trance-inducing pattern, so much the better.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:42 PM on February 5, 2006 [2 favorites]

Customs agents and airport security are probably used to seeing this sort of stuff all the time. Here's an interesting article (found via a Google search) with some good advice.

This is probably the worse that can happen. ;)
posted by purephase at 1:45 PM on February 5, 2006

We had a bachelorette party for my best friend, who lived in Ireland at the time, in the US. Consequently, she had to take the six vibrators that she received as gifts back with her to Ireland. She was nervous about security too, but she had no problems. I'm pretty sure she checked them, though (I'll ask her).
posted by amro at 1:56 PM on February 5, 2006

What's the worst that could happen on your "strange erotic journey from Milan to Minsk"- this, this or this? At least, remove the batteries. Or buy something that does not obviously look like a sex toy - such as this unusual iPod accessory.
posted by iviken at 1:59 PM on February 5, 2006

Friend and I are coming back from NYC. Friend has purchased some kind of fancy electrostim butt plug (like this) and has it in his carryon.

As his bags are being scanned, the TSA chick (who looks about 23) calls him. "Sir... sir... is this yours?" She is holding up the butt plug. "Could you tell me what this is?"

My friend is red to the top of his shaven skull. "It's... uh... it's a sex toy."

And TSA chick says: "Oh, I know that. But what is it?"

Moral of story: sex toys are not illegal, and the TSA people have seen it all.

If they even bother to ask, look them in the eye and tell them it's a sex toy. I guarantee they won't be shocked.
posted by ottereroticist at 2:14 PM on February 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

My husband is a security director for an airline and an NTSB consultant, so I asked him for his professional opinion :)

He said that you should probably check it if at all possible if you were going to feel embarrassed; if you check it they may search your bag but there's nothing against having some jolly time toys. If you carry it on, take the batteries out because if it starts buzzing it will red flag you as a selectee and they will go through your luggage in front of you, which could be humiliating depending on what kind of a sport you are. It could also, more importantly, make you late for your flight and screw up how neatly you have packed your stuff. TSA is not known for their superior repacking technique, my stuff always looks like a hobo slept in my suitcase after they search it.

As a personal aside, after my wild honeymoon in Vegas we brought back all sorts of crazy shit in our luggage... sex toys, porno mags, massage oils, lingerie etc that we picked up in this cool shop on the strip. I gave my bag to TSA to check and my husband remarked that they would have a lot of fun looking at our stuff and he was glad to have made their afternoon interesting.

Have fun :)
posted by Emperor Yamamoto's Eggs at 2:21 PM on February 5, 2006

I'm a devout backpackery kinda girl as well. Trust me, as long as you take the batteries out, you'll be fine, particularly if it's not metal. They won't ask to see it JUST to embarass you, though you may get a knowing grin. If it's obviously penis-shaped, it's not going to be mistaken for a weapon. [fill in your own weapon/penis joke here.]
posted by desuetude at 2:34 PM on February 5, 2006

When I was working airport checkpoint security, I saw on the x-ray screen a rather large dildo in a flight attendents bag.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 3:09 PM on February 5, 2006

There have been several anecdotes about sex toys in carry-on luggage on the Blowfish podcast, and none ended in confiscation. Sounds like the most important thing is being unwilling to be embarassed by their questions.
posted by olecranon at 4:25 PM on February 5, 2006

My sister's husband works for the TSA, and he has some funny stories. One of them was the time that one of the less clueful guys got a HUGE vibrator on the X-ray screen. They didn't say anything about it, and let it go through (didn't search the woman), but they kept the image as long as they could... kept returning to it and laughing at it some more. (there's apparently some way of saving an image permanently, or printing it or something, but they didn't know how to do that.) Eventually they let it scroll off too far and lost it.

So yes, you may give some bored TSA employees something to laugh at awhile, but it really didn't sound that mean spirited... it's not like it says "JOAN SMITH'S LUGGAGE FROM ALBUQUERQUE" on the screen. :)
posted by Malor at 4:28 PM on February 5, 2006

No advice to add to the excellent stuff above, just loving your title for this question, anonymous.
posted by evariste at 5:25 PM on February 5, 2006

I would think airport security is smart enough to know that it would be a logical place to conceal a weapon, precisely because it might be embarrassing to examine. So it will be examined in that context, rather than a moral one.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:56 PM on February 5, 2006

I've taken mine through security in both the US and UK in my carry-on bag. I took the batteries out and kept it in my toilet bag and have never been pulled aside, searched, or questioned.
posted by meerkatty at 6:38 PM on February 5, 2006

Heard a story about a large man going through airport security with a BDSM kit. He was pulled aside and asked and he simply replied "marital aids".

I say take the the same tack.
posted by plinth at 6:44 AM on February 6, 2006

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