Vibrators and Airport Security: Traveling with vibrators in your luggage

airport security x ray


Sometimes I travel with sex toys in my luggage either for business (at meetings, toy company reps will often give me sex toys to review in my columns or for the emerging toy box section of the blog) or for pleasure. This morning I had this experience while flying out of a certain Florida airport with a silver bullet vibrator in my suitcase: As my luggage passed through the x-ray machine there were two male screeners, one who turned to the other and with a smile on his face, he pointed to the screen and said to a second male screener “it’s a vibrator”. I imagine he thought he was saying this quietly but at 8:45am with very few travelers in the vicinity and me standing only a few feet away, it was something that I heard quite clearly.  The second male screener smiled, then looked up at me.

“Is this your bag?” asked the second male screener.

“Yes,” I said, fully expecting them to open it for a first hand look. But he didn’t. Instead it got more personal with a major ick factor. They never asked to look in my bag nor did they seem concerned about its content – they really did just seem amused with themselves.

“Are you a happy traveler this morning?” he asked.

Truly not certain I had correctly understood his question, I said “Excuse me?”

With his hands still on my luggage he repeated the question. I said “yes” in a flat, serious tone, uncertain if this was chatty small talk or excitement/amusement about having seen a vibrator in a young woman’s carry-on bag.

Then he asked, “Did you sleep well last night?”

I said that yes, I had slept fine.

“Not tired?” he asked.

“No,” I said, now upset with him, seeing that this was not chatty small talk at all but insinuations about the vibrator.  But my purse, shoes and laptop had now come out of x-ray, I was free to walk away from the screener, and was already contemplating both a complaint to the airport and a post on the blog.

I don’t like how some people’s comfort with sexuality (such as my lack of fear or inhibition about traveling with vibrators, for which I have never once previously had a problem) is an open invitation to others (such as this particular male screener) to behave in an inappropriate manner at his place of work and my place of travel.

Will  still carry vibrators in my luggage? Of course I will – I’m not going to let two airport security screeners stand in the way of my work or my orgasms, but I will probably just travel with a little more readiness to get someone from airport management involved should it happen again.

Image from How Stuff Works.

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.