Ninja Tips: Flying With Sex Toys

Dealing with airport security is quite possibly the least fun part of travel.  Long lines, pulling out liquids and laptops, emptying pockets, taking off shoes… the process is unpleasant under the best of circumstances.  Because of all the rules, regulations and hassles, the prospect of packing sex toys for a trip can be a little unnerving.  The first time I packed a vibrator in my carry-on bag under the post-9/11 security rules, I was terrified that it would be confiscated or hauled out for inspection in front of a crowd of people.

As it turned out, the TSA could not have cared less about that little vibe.  No one said a word about it.  Since that initial success, I’ve gained fairly extensive experience traveling with sex toys.

General Tips

Regardless of whether I’m checking my sex toys or carrying them on, I store them in a clear, zip top plastic bag. This allows them to be inspected without being touched.  And when my toys are in checked baggage, I find that manual inspection happens A LOT. As in almost every time. I label the bag to indicate the contents/materials (e.g. “Sex Toys – Silicone”) to help clear up any confusion since some of my toys are unusual in shape and/or size.

 

Pile of TSA notices

Just a few of the notices I’ve received…

 

Before departure, I take a photo and keep a list of what was packed in the event that something unfortunate should befall my baggage. Thus far, I haven’t needed to use it but I feel better knowing everything is documented.  I also use TSA-approved luggage locks to keep my bag from opening and spilling its precious cargo during loading/unloading.  Don’t let this happen to you.

For vibrators, make sure that batteries are removed or the travel lock is engaged. If you have a rechargeable toy that doesn’t have a locking system, run the battery down and pack the charger. The last thing any traveler needs is for their bag to start buzzing as it goes through security, or is about to be loaded on the plane. Buzzing bags have to be investigated, potentially delaying departure for everyone.

Carry-On Luggage

There are a lot of rules about exactly what U.S. travelers are allowed to have in their carry-on bags. The rules that exist are very specific. Scissors with a blade length under four inches, fine. Over four inches, nope.

The problem is that there aren’t a lot of rules specific to sex toys, so we have to extrapolate them from the stated rules. Personally, I think this is ridiculous. I know a lot more people who are concerned about traveling with dildos and vibrators than about spear guns and cattle prods, yet we have clearly defined rules for those items.

 

Dildo Not Found 2

Error: Dildo Not Found

 

Based on the TSA’s published regulations and my own experiences, here are the guidelines that I follow when packing sex toys in a carry-on bag.  Keep in mind that the final decision about whether a particular item is allowed on a plane rests with the individual TSA agent doing the inspection.  If you’re unsure whether a particular item is permitted, I recommend erring on the side of caution: check it, leave it at home or ship it to your destination.

Vibrators

  • While not spelled out in TSA guidelines, a search with their “Can I bring…” tool indicates that all vibrators are permitted in carry-on luggage.
  • I have packed a variety of vibrators, from the tiny Tango to the substantial Big Boss, in my carry-on bag or purse without incident.
  • Large wand-style vibrators could be viewed as “club-like items”.  I have not tried traveling with one of these, but if I did, I’d put it in my checked bag.

Dildos

  • For wood, metal, hard plastic or glass dildos, I keep the length under seven inches.  This is based on the prohibition against “club-like items” and the seven inch length limit for miscellaneous tools.  I have heard of folks successfully transporting larger metal or glass toys in a carry-on bag, but I prefer to be cautious.
  • For silicone dildos, consider weight.  Some of my larger toys, while soft, could probably do serious harm if swung at a person’s head.  If there’s a good chance I could subdue an attacker with my dildo, it travels in a checked bag.
  • Some silicone dildos (handled ones in particular) could look weapon-like on a security x-ray.  While my friends and fellow bloggers would immediately know them for what they are, I’m not certain that every TSA worker would.  I’d rather avoid the potential issue and play it safe.

Other Toys

  • Butt plugs, kegel exercisers, and other such wearable items should be fine in your carry-on bag.  I would not attempt to wear such things through a security checkpoint, at the risk of provoking a cavity search.  If you want to do kegels on the plane, stop by the restroom after security to insert your exercise device of choice.
  • E-stim/TENS units used for pain management are allowed in carry-on bags, so it’s fairly safe to assume that recreational units are allowed as well.
  • Strap on harnesses are not specifically referenced in TSA guidelines, but climbing harnesses, belts and other similar gear are permitted in both carry-on and checked bags.

BDSM Items

  • This probably merits its own article, but I’ll touch on a few things here.  According to TSA rules, riding whips and riding crops (classified as sports equipment) are OK to carry on but “whips and bullwhips” are classified as martial arts/self defense items and must be checked.  Based on those rules, a small flogger or other light impact play item should be fine in your carry-on.
  • As far as paddles go, ping pong paddles are cleared for carry-on bags, cricket bats are not.  I interpret this to mean that small paddles are acceptable to carry, larger paddles (especially wooden ones) should be checked.
  • Rope and handcuffs are definitely permitted in carry-on bags, as are collars and leashes.

Lube

  • When checking luggage, I’ll toss my lube in there to avoid the bottle size issue.  Truth be told, I check all my liquids whenever possible because I hate pulling everything out when I go through security.  I still bag everything in a zip-top bag though, in case of any leakage.
  • If I’m only traveling with a carry-on bag, I’ll transfer some lube to a travel size bottle (3.4 ounces/100 ml or less) or pack a few trial-size lube packets.  I save lube samples I receive with sex toy orders to have them on hand for travel.

The nightmare scenario for most people is having a sex toy plucked from their carry-on bag and waved around by an angry security agent for the world to see. Personally, I have never had a TSA agent open my carry-on to inspect a sex toy, nor have I seen any kind of negative or judgmental reaction. That being said, if I am traveling with colleagues, I make sure we’re not passing through the same security line at the same time…just in case. It wouldn’t bother me much if security questioned me about a sex toy in front of strangers. I would, however, find it horrifically awkward in front of co-worker.

Speaking of questions, if you do happen to be asked about a toy in your bag, the best thing to do is be brief and honest. You’re not the first person to bring a sex toy through security, they’re not going to be shocked or upset when you say “That’s my vibrator”. If you’re still worried, remember that you can ask to be screened in private.

I hope this guide helps people to feel more comfortable and confident flying with sex toys.  If you have tips or tales about traveling with toys, please share them in the comments!

 

7 Comments
  • Bex
    June 30, 2015

    I travel with sex toys all the time and always keep them in my carry on, this way I know if anyone touches them and can supervise because I’m paranoid I’ll check them and never see them again. That said, I’ve only been stopped when carrying the Pure Wand (which looks awesome on the security scanner btw) and they either just let me go when I tell them it’s a sex toy or search very discretely for me because apparently once they log it as seeing something weird they have to open the bag and look at it, even if they realize what it is.

    • Lunabelle
      June 30, 2015

      That’s good to know! The one I worry most about is the Njoy Eleven, because if there was ever a toy that looks dangerous, the Eleven is it.

  • Beauty's Punishment
    July 14, 2015

    I remember the adventure of trying to get our bags to each weigh 50 pounds or less, and jigging stuff about multiple times in a row at the Amtrak station. We were going to Thunder In The Mountains in Denver and would be flying. I did believe Jolynn mentioned something about sex toys to the person at the airport, but it wasn’t any big deal.

  • Layla
    September 25, 2016

    Thanks so much for the tips! Those are such a relief. Also, have you ever used sex toys in your carry-on to calm pre-flight jitters or kill time during a layover? I know I’d be tempted if I was traveling alone. Sorry if that’s a rude question! I’m just always curious about other peoples’ experiences.

  • Xxmickeymoorexx
    September 30, 2016

    When I travel I keep the toys in my checked bag. I. Don’t travel with anything extravagant that can not be replaced easily. The issue I have is my jewelry. I have a permanent collar (yes, impossible to remove without cutting it), a ring that never comes off except for cleaning that gets some odd looks and I get asked about every second or third trip. Explaining large metal genital jewelry is awkward but the price I pay for not ever taking it off. The response is always the same. Just a nod that they understand, nothing more.

    Those body scanners have seen some shit. I guarantee it.

    • Lunabelle
      October 5, 2016

      Oh yeah! If those body scanners could talk…

  • Zoe
    March 25, 2017

    I was pulled out of the screening line while carrying a Pure Wand. I did exactly as you advised: I told the agent exactly what the Pure Wand was…and immediately after I told her that, yeah, the oddly-shaped piece of steel in my bag was actually a dildo, she told me that she had pulled me out of the line to inspect something else. Whoops. (Maybe I just got an exceptionally cool TSA agent, but she recommended a great podcast about sexual and romantic relationships. Plus, apparently she was looking into buying a Pure Wand, too.)

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