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Are Sex Toys Banned At Your Holiday Destination?

Are Sex Toys Banned At Your Holiday Destination?

Planning a little freaky getaway this summer? In addition to your usual holiday essentials (mineral sunscreen, filthy paperback, Hunza G bikini, condoms) you might be thinking about bringing your fave toy for a little extra buzz. Check before you pack, as vibrators and other sex toys are actually banned in certain countries. Restrictions on your sex life might be the last thing on your mind as you jet off to somewhere sunny, but it’s important to know the local rules. In case you didn’t have time to research the law in your holiday destination, Henn Mossery-Golan is here to reveal the countries where you should avoid bringing your buzzy buddy, and the answers to your most-asked pre-vacation questions...

Which countries are sex toys banned in?

  • Maldives
  • Saudi Arabia (your toy will be confiscated if found!)
  • UAE (taking your toys, or ordering them into the UAE is illegal)
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • India (you can take ‘massagers’, but not if they’re phallic-shaped)
  • Malaysia

For many of these countries, possession of a sex toy comes under the heading of “obscene objects” or "pornographic material”, which is strictly prohibited. So, although holidays might seem like the perfect time to get some privacy and try out some new goodies, if you’re heading to any of the above countries, you might want to leave your Cindy at home if you’d rather not be threatened with a fine, arrest or prosecution.

Whilst the idea of airport security finding your double-ended dildo might seem highly amusing, these restrictions represent a broader desire to limit and control our sexuality to a narrow definition of acceptability. It's also important to observe that these laws tend to target toys and birth control designed for women and people with vaginas - corresponding regulations are not in place for medications such as Viagra. Controlling female sexuality is a story we’ve seen one too many times before. From the ongoing struggle for reproductive rights across the world, to male pleasure centred narratives in our media, we are constantly being reminded that female sexuality and pleasure is something that needs taming. For instance, Indonesia introduced new legislation in December 2022 which makes sex outside of marriage punishable with up to a year in prison, and cohabitation illegal.

If you’re planning a sexcation this summer, consider checking out Berlin, Amsterdam, Canada, or Brazil, which are considered to be more open-minded and welcoming sexually.

Where is it illegal to buy sex toys in US?

American dreams? If you’re off on a summer road trip through the US, don’t expect to top up your sexy stash in the South. The sale of vibrators and dildos is currently outlawed in Alabama, Texas and Georgia. In fact, you might have heard that owning more than five “obscene devices” in these states is illegal – this is because the law defines having multiple toys in your possession as indicting desire or intent to sell them. 

 

Will I get stopped at security if I take a sex toy in my luggage?

If you’re headed somewhere a little more open-minded this summer break, feel free to take a toy - but you might be wondering how to avoid causing a scene at security. Here are our top tips for travelling through TSA with a vibrator or suction toy:

  • Remove any batteries/do not pre-charge your toy before flying so it doesn’t start buzzing in your case.
  • Pop it in a small hard case within your luggage to avoid accidentally turning it on (ahem).
  • Be upfront if you’re asked what the item is. It might be a little awkward but it's always best to take the blushes to be speedily waved on!

Can you take birth control pills on a plane?

Whilst we’re on the topic of travel – one of the most common questions our Co-Founder Dr Sarah Welsh heard when working as a gynaecology doctor: "is it illegal to take hormonal contraception on a plane?" Simply put: no. You do not need to declare your contraceptive pill at customs, either. We'd recommend carrying it in your hand luggage (ideally in the original packaging), to avoid being in a tricky situation if your checked luggage gets lost. It’s also useful as medication should not be exposed to extreme temperatures, and whilst the cabin is heat-controlled, the hold can get very cold. We’d also recommend taking a backup option, such as condoms, in case of loss/theft/illness that would negate the effect of your pill. 

Where is unsafe/illegal for LGBTQIA+ travellers?

Travel isn't always a fun, care-free experience. Discrimination and prejudice against the LGBTIA+ community is a real concern for many when choosing a holiday destination - and whilst it can happen anywhere, there are key destinations where the queer community are actively persecuted. In fact, 64 UN member States still have laws that criminalise homosexuality, with Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Yemen upholding the death penalty as punishment. Before making plans, check the Human Dignity Trust's map of the countries where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are criminalised - and join the campaign for global LGBTIA+ equality. The draconian laws which might impact your choice of vacation destination are actively repressing the rights, freedom and happiness of those populations on a daily basis. Together, we can fight for universal equality.

 

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