Boarding and customs has become a kafkaesque experience in some countries. But that doesn’t mean that you better stay at home if you are a sexual active traveler. There are just a number of things that you must know if you are planning on taking sex toys with you on your holidays (and who isn’t?). You can read them below.
What to take with you: confidence and common sense
Where ever you are going, never forget to pack your confidence and common sense. Customs ad ground crew has the right to check your luggage, but they don’t have the right to hold you accountable for intimate products that you might have with you. You have as much right to bring condoms as in having toothpaste in your bag.
However, think before you pack your hand luggage. If nail clippers and tweezers are confiscated by customs, you can imagine what they do with cuffs and whips.
The Do’s en Don’ts of traveling with sex toys
In travel brochures or websites with customs information, you won’t find many information on traveling with sex toys, surprisingly enough. In Sweden or the UK they will not be much surprised if you bring your Tarzan, but in many other countries (see below) they are forbidden. Don’t ignore these tips:
- Don’t travel with your favorite sex toys. If airport security has any doubts about the safety, they have the right to confiscate your items and they will be lost. Without mercy. Even if you believe they are wrong, they will always win. It is a matter of boarding without, or stay at home with.
- Hand bagage is usually checked by hand, so you are advised to put your intimate products and sex toys in the bags you check in. It is not appreciated if you take on board sex toys in your hand luggage, because you are suspected of using them during your flight. Chargeable and electrical devices in your hand luggage is a no-go. The power source, the wires, the components and metal parts will be detected during the security scan and chances are you will have to leave them behind.
- Always remove batteries from your toys. Even if you think they will not switch on by itself. The latest toys often have small buttons and they will be activated if they become squeezed (something that will happen because of the smash and trash style of baggage handling). Airline companies are afraid that battery operated devices will switch on accidentally and become overheated.
- Always wrap up your glass dildo. It would be such a waste f they break. Put them in between your clothes, so they will absorb the shocks during traveling and bagage handling.
- Don’t wear (BDSM) lingerie with metal parts during your flight. A strap in harnas or SM-style clothing under your normal clothes will set off the metal detectors, forcing you to take them off. Don’t pack those items in your hand luggage either, for the same reason. You don’t want to have to explain and you don’t want to leave them behind.
- Also traveling with piercings might get you into troubles. Most metal detectors on airports will not be set off if you wear a piercing, but still we advice you to take them off before boarding. Put them in your suitcase between your socks and swimming trousers. If you really don’t want to take them off, or you can’t, use piercings made of materials that will not set off the alarm (e.g. gold, surgical steel, titanium or plastics). The problem is, however, that if the metal detector will go off (e.g. because of your belt or your watch) you run the risk of having to remove your piercing after all. Be prepared of being separated and strip searched. Stay calm and explain you have (genital) piercings that may have caused the alarm. Take pictures with you that you can show to the customs agent. This is no guarantee that they will not inspect the item. In that case, a customs agent with the same sex as you will search you.
- Not all countries will appreciate it if you pretend to be of the other sex than is mentioned in your passport. So if you are in the midst of a gender transformation, are transvestite, or you just look butch as a woman, this might lead to discussions and delay. Especially if you travel to the US. Be prepared. Have a statement with you from your physicians, or therapist, providing with contact details.
- Be prepared. Check customs information of the countries you visit, and those that you have a stop-over. In Texas for example, you are in violation if you carry more than three vibrators. In religious countries, such as Colombia, it is illegal to pretend to be of a different sex. But even in Japan they will not be very understanding. When in doubt, always take the telephone number of the consul with you or of the embassy of the country you are visiting.
Countries where sex toys are illegal
In some countries it is illegal to carry sex toys. These are usually countries with religious legislation in Asia:
- Thailand: It might come as a surprise that sex toys and prostitution are in fact illegal in Thailand, while you will run into one sex shop or brothel after the other on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok. Still, it is true. Sex shop owners are arrested often and with a lot of fanfare, to be released and open shop later that same day. There is a vague kind of tolerance towards sex in Thailand, that is at odds with Victorian views. Don’t take any risks and leave your toys at home.
- India: In India too, there is a kind of ambivalent attitude towards sex toys. There are some sex shops in India and there are even train stations that sell vibrators. But the legislation determines that it is illegal to ‘perform sexual acts that are against nature’. This is however at odds with the right in India on individual sexual choices, but still having a sex toy may be seen as perverted.
- Malaysia: The same double standards can be found in Malaysia. In Kuala Lumpur you will trip over the amount of brothels, while at the same time they are officially illegal. The conservative Islamic government has forbidden the sales and import of sex toys.
- Vietnam: Just like many other Asian countries, sex toys are illegal in Thailand. The import and sales of it is illegal since 2011.
- Japan: You will find many strange sex toys in Japan, for instance holding images of Hello Kitty, rabits or cute dolphins. Manufacturers try to avoid running into trouble with legislation that forbids obscenity. That means that you better not take along with you any realistic dildos.
- Saoedi Arabia en United Arabic Emirates: The Sharia does not permit porn and sex toys. They are in violation with this strict Islamic law. On the other hand, the first Halal sex shop was opened in Mecca in 2015, that sells ‘products to enhance intimacy between men and women’. In reality they sell lingerie, but no dildos. Even ‘massage devices that seem immoral’ are illegal.
- Maldives: Pornography is strictly prohibited on this tropical paradise and sex toys are considered pornographic.
- United States: In most of the USA, sex toys are completely normal and legal. But not everywhere. In the state of Alabama they are illegal and in Texas you are not allowed to own more than three vibrators.
What you should pack?
If you are making a checklist for your holidays, at least put the following things on it, while you are at it:
- Lube. Stress, climate change, a jetlag and change in your diet, can disrupt your inner balance. That’s where lube will come in handy. But watch out. On many international airports, you are not allowed to carry packages containing more than 100 milliliter or fluids. A wholesale package of lube will be confiscated immediately. Some airports will demand that you put your packages in a bag. Everything that doesn’t fit in the bag, should be left behind. Others have a maximum of packages, e.g. 10 pieces. You better pack just one small flask. Our webshop has a large choice. If you don’t know what to choose, read this article.
- Mini vibrators are an absolute recommendation. They hardly weigh a thing, and they are discreet. A customs officer knows what it is, but it won’t draw attention of fellow travellers.
- Massage vibrators, such as the Lelo Smart Wand are ideal. You can always say you have them for health reasons (“I have such muscle aches”).
- Rechargeable vibrators are great. They are quiet and you don’t have to carry any extra batteries. The rules for packing and carrying batteries are kind of vague on many airports. Never put batteries in your hand luggage. If possible, take along your rechargeable vibrator uncharged. It won’t go off accidentally. Be sure to bring your charger and the right plug.
- Condoms. Tsssk. Do we really have to explain?