When my partner and I decided to travel around South America, we couldn't imagine four months without a strap-on harness and dildo. Nor, upon finding out that good lube was hard to come by abroad, could we possibly live without Sliquid Sassy Booty Formula.
Cramming our lives into a backpack was hard enough, but finding a way to make a strap-on discreet for international customs was a greater challenge. Whether for the sake of sexual variety, a little beach-side me-time or a blissed-out honeymoon, sometimes you've got to pack some extra heat. But we can't even get through airline security with a pair of knitting needles these days, so just try getting on board with the Rabbit vibrator. Here's how:
Choose wisely. While our realistic-looking Vixen dildo was our favorite phallus-of-the-year, we selected a less realistic looking candy-colored variety, as a squishy squishy baton may create less confusion than the ego-threateningly large realistic toy we were... attached to. As the lube's bright pink label exclaiming "Booty Formula" seemed a little too loud and proud, we repackaged our slippery stuff in refillable travel bottles available at pharmacies while the harness was taken apart to resemble leather jewelry at best.
Like us, if possible, go for deconstructible, discreet toys (see previous column Dirty Little Secrets for incognito travel-sized treats). If you absolutely must bring the floggers, handcuffs and ball-gags, know that you'll have to check your luggage, as these are perfect pilot-attacking weapons and simply won't fly (no matter how cute and fuzzy the cuffs).
In general, check toys. If you must carry them on, make sure lube is three ounces or less and pack everything in plastic bags. Always take batteries out, as vibrating luggage is just asking for it. Get Martha Stewart with your checked items, honestly labeling everything and its purpose to clear up any confusion if your bag does get searched. Feeling extra cheeky? Add a flirtatious note for security.
Getting through security can be tough. Familiarize yourself with TSA regulations, as that innocent corkscrew can bring unwanted attention to toys that would otherwise go unnoticed.
The best thing you can do, besides packing strategically, is know your rights and have confidence in yourself as a rightfully sexual traveler. Know that it's an inappropriate, potentially sue-able act of sexual harassment for an airline staffer to make a big, public deal about what's in your bag. As long as it's not violating TSA regulations, there's no reason for it to be a problem. I mean, come on, they've invented a "necessary" XXX-ray full-body scanner that conveniently exposes everyone's naughty bits, and they want to make you feel perverted for packing a vibrator? Puh-leez.
If your goodies do get security's attention, answer questions matter-of-factly and honestly. If you're shameless about your sexcessories, security will be the ones to feel embarrassed for not knowing that, "Well, that's my Rabbit. People use it to masturbate, sir."
Know your destination. San Francisco's security and Houston's security are very different. If you're flying internationally, leave the plug-in Hitachi Magic Wand at home (it blows up foreign sockets) and read up on laws regarding sexuality, as no toy is worth legal trouble abroad.
So what South American adventures did our dildo participate in? Well, not many. While Argentinean customs simply showed us the exit, notoriously invasive Chilean customs posed a different problem. Fellow travelers told stories of being fined hundreds of dollars for accidentally "smuggling" in tangerines.
Trying to pass by unnoticed as pierced-and-tattooed, short-haired foreigners was one thing in this religious, conservative destination, but trying to explain to the customs official in my broken Spanish that I preferred my phallus boxed instead of standardly attached was algo diferente. Left behind were the illegal almonds, the peanut butter, and our candy-colored dildo. Somewhere, under an Argentinean hostel bed, it may still be sitting, waiting to be the star of another random travel story.