I remember the first time I entered Israel in the late 1970s. Their airport security had that sensibility of post-9/11 Homeland Security decades before 9/11, racial profiling and all. I had reluctantly stored all of my sex toys with a friend in the States (who sold them for a fix, I found out later) and had only packed a modest bullet vibrator - I didn't want to be alone on another continent, utterly bereft of stimulation.
They did go through every item in my bag and when the security wonk found the candy-stripe battery-operated vibrator, I explained that as a professional athlete (I was a martial arts instructor at the time), it was essential therapy for my muscular health. That story worked.
Things are so different now than those days in the 70s when you could assume a lot of people didn't know from sex toys. There weren't stores (or those that existed were considered too sleazy for "nice" folks.) There was no internet. Sex workshop were not ubiquitous. It was a different world. People were still perplexed by the question of what two women might do together sexually, for gawd's sake.
So how do things stand now, here? I've just read an article by David Steinberg telling the story of how airport security searched his sex toy bag. I was turned onto this piece by Joan Price, whose important blog "Better Than I Ever Expected: Sex and Aging" I've mentioned a number of times over the years.
Here's an excerpt from Steinberg:
"The stern, older woman watching the screen backs up the belt and stops my bag under the x-ray. She points at the screen, showing her young, blonde assistant what to look for. I'm in a good mood, not too close to flight time, and find myself smiling to a traveling companion who's taking the same flight, and looking forward to a little good theatrical fun.
"Is it all right if I look in this bag?" the attendant asks with measured politeness.
"Sure, if you really want to," I answer.
I watch her face as she digs through the cuffs, the latex straps, the blindfold, the ziplock bag with condoms, rubber gloves and lube, the ziplock bag with miscellaneous nipple clamps, butt plug, and so forth, Mark Chester's wonderful spandex full-body bondage bag (if you don't have one, you should, but that's another story), the wonderful soft leather scratch gloves with the sharp metal points scattered across the palm and fingers. Her face stays 100% deadpan throughout, an impressive show of professionalism......Finally she finds what she's looking for -- what I knew she would get to sooner or later -- my springy little whip with the 6" metal handle..."
Steinberg goes on to describe his amusement, especially when he was ordered to drop the whip into a plastic bag and check it as a separate piece of luggage.
What about you? Have you packed your sex toys for your holiday travel or do the holidays turn off every shred of potential desire? If you're taking something that needs power, have you been sure to take out the batteries to avoid a suspicious buzzing under your seat? Have you tried for sex toys that look more like toys than sex, like the rubber duckie vibrator in the photo? Why not just pack your toys - especially if there's any metal involved - into the bag you're checking, instead of dragging them through security? If you must carry something onboard, are you prepared to stand up for your predilictions or have you already devised a brilliant cover story?
"Those clamps? I'm a writer and they're for holding my manuscripts together."
"That red ball on a strap? My neice is teething so my sister asked me to buy her one of these."
I'd love to hear your plans, what gear you're packing and your approach to security. Will it be as confident and in-your-face as this David Steinberg? He wrote:"I look at all the people around me and feel like the whole airport -- passengers, ticket agents, security guards -- are giving me the benefit of the doubt on this one, at least in part because I'm refusing to have it any other way. My lack of embarrassment, my lack of apology, is defining the moment and telling everyone how to respond. I feel exceptionally powerful. It is the liberation of one more level of coming out, of refusing to be made wrong for being different, for being sexually different."