Travel Tips

Getting Sex Toys Through Security: 6 Things to Consider When Traveling with Birth Control and Sex Toys

sex-toys

Sex toys can travel! Just understand how. Image by Flickr user redjar.

Sex and travel go hand-in-hand. Both are pleasure-based activities that are best engaged in when we’re safe and comfortable.

That being said, sex can be a difficult topic to discuss even at home, but, when traveling, we need to be aware of different customs and traditions around the world. Knowing these variances is important for many reasons, from avoiding embarrassment to avoiding jail time.

This is especially true when traveling with sex toys and birth control. The laws and regulations where you live might not be the same where you’re going.

So, what’s a Wanderful lady to do?

1. Pack your items appropriately.

I shouldn’t have to lead with this, but I’m going to: Make sure everything you pack is clean. The only thing more embarrassing than having your dildo fondled by a TSA agent is having your dirty dildo fondled by a TSA agent.

Pack all of your items in clear, plastic Ziploc bags. Store the Ziplocs in the middle of your luggage. This will buy you a bit of time to let security know you’d like to be screened in private.

Remove batteries or charging cords from any electronic items. Some higher-end vibrators have locking mechanisms because you cannot remove the batteries.

And remember, the three-ounce liquid rule also applies to lubricants and toy cleaners. Bottles larger than three ounces can be checked.

2. Consider a smaller version.

You may want to consider opting for a subtle version of your favorite toy if you believe the item will cause an issue in a country you are visiting. It’s probably not the best time for the Great American Challenge. (This link is about as NSFW as they come!) If you are traveling with a larger or non-traditional toy, label it and pack it in checked baggage. TSA agents may throw an item away if they can’t identify it.

3. You are entitled to a private screening with the TSA.

When I travel, I only pack things I’m prepared to justify to a stranger. The unfortunate reality is that women are often detained at borders when carrying items that are declared “morally objectionable.” Sexual customs for women vary widely around the world. An item that may seem innocent in one country is cause for scandal in another. Even if an item is not outright illegal in the country you are visiting, it may cause you to be detained at the border.

If your luggage is flagged, you are able to request a private screening with an agent. Do not consent to a screening alone. If you encounter rude or unprofessional conduct in America, report it to the TSA complaint line. If you are outside the U.S., or not an American, contact your local embassy.

4. Know the laws of the areas you are traveling.

TSA is just the beginning of the issues.

sex-toys

Avoid ending up in these when crossing any borders. Image from Pixabay.

It’s illegal to possess sex toys and pornography in India, Saudi Arabia, UAE, oh, and in Alabama. Randomly, there is even a town in Georgia called Sandy Springs that has a law banning “any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.”

Some countries have bans on various kinds of contraception. Intrauterine devices are illegal in several countries but, most surprisingly in Spain, Switzerland, and Nepal. The Morning-After Pill is also banned around the world. Depending on your length of stay, you may consider using an alternative form of protection. Carry a doctor’s note for any medications and contraceptive devices if you are concerned.

5. Remember: Seized items can be used against you in a court of law.

In 2009 a Brazilian woman was barred from entering the UK after security searched her bag and uncovered lingerie and sex toys.

In 2013 a Canadian woman was held in American customs three separate times in two weeks for traveling with a married man and being in possession of condoms. She was accused of being a sex worker and forced to pay thousands of dollars in transportation costs when she missed multiple flights.

If you are flagged at the border, always tell the truth. If things get out of hand, demand to speak to someone from your country’s embassy.

6. Are you LGBT?

Being LGBT is illegal in 82 countries. If someone sees you with an item and they perceive you to be LGBT you can land in jail or, in some countries, be eligible for the death penalty. A lesbian couple in Malaysia was arrested for homosexual conduct after a vibrator was uncovered in their hotel room. Another couple was the alleged victim of a hate crime by TSA agents. LGBT people who do not pass as straight and cisgender are disproportionately targeted for enforcement of laws regarding sexual deviance. See my previous work for more on LGBT Travel and Trans* Travel.

Do you have a question about sex?

I want to hear about you. I will be responding to reader questions on all things sex-related — from safer sex to self-pleasuring, relationships to marriage, and everything in between.

Maybe you’ve had more partners than you can count, but you’ve never had an orgasm. Or perhaps you think you might be interested in women, but you’re not sure how to take the first steps to discovering your identity. Maybe you’re in a country with strict reproductive health laws and need birth control. Any question is on the table.

I’m excited to hear your questions and learn what turns you on! This is a monthly column that will appear on the second Tuesday of every month.

Contact me at Meg@DopesOnTheRoad.com; on Twitter,  Facebook , or Instagram; or leave a comment below!

Meg Ten Eyck
Meg Ten Eyck is a fun loving and feisty LGBT advocate and community educator. After 8 years in LGBT nonprofits, Meg moved to South Korea and started her website Dopes On The Road. Dopes On the Road is a travel blog focused on queer culture. She has won several blogging awards, including Best LGBT Blog in Korea from a national newsmagazine. Her writing focuses on developing an international dialogue for queer travelers. Meg is currently a digital nomad and enjoys her location independent lifestyle with her partner Lindsay and two dachshunds, Mackenzie and Bailey.

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24 Comments

  1. I recently had an experience at the SFO airport where my bag was pulled. I guess my electric vibrator, empty Shakeology cup and some bags of Samoan chocolate (given to me in San Diego) looked pretty suspicious to the screener. I just kept a straight face while the TSA agent went through my carry on with a fine tooth comb and checked for residues.

  2. Hey! Nice article – definitely helps to have these things out there!

    Just wanted to say though, that IUDs are definitely not illegal in Spain (where I used to live) and Switzerland (not sure about Nepal). I’m referring to where you say: “Some countries have bans on various kinds of contraception. Intrauterine devices are illegal in several countries but, most surprisingly in Spain, Switzerland, and Nepal.” IUDs are actually more widely used in Europe than in the U.S., and are available in Spain, Switzerland, and the majority of European countries. Also, while emergency contraception (the morning-after pill) is not available everywhere, is it not “banned around the world.” It’s actually more readily available than you might think, and in unexpected places too.

    It’d be awesome if you could update this post with current info for women traveling, so there’s no misinformation floating around! Thanks so much!

  3. You have got superb info on this website.

  4. I am going to Cancun, Mexico with my boyfriend and would like to bring my vibrator. I am just wondering if there would be a problem.

  5. Im Spanish and female. Intrauterine devices are legal and widely used by Spanish women since the 1970’s.
    Please ammend this information when you get a chance.
    Thanks.

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