You’ve probably heard of the vending machines in Japan that sell used panties supposedly worn by schoolgirls. It appears Japan isn’t alone in having sexual vending machines in public places. Not far from my home in Santander, on Spain’s northern coast, I came across this innocuous-looking little cubbyhole. Its vending machines offer hot food, soda and snacks 24 hours a day.
It’s in between a bar district and the residential neighborhood where I live, so I popped in here one night for some potato chips to absorb some of the wine I’d drunk. It turns out I could buy more than potato chips. Further inside, out of view from the street but still completely open to the public of all ages, was a vending machine selling sex toys.
The picture is on the next page, and no, it’s not work safe (duh!).
Whatever entrepreneur thought this up was a genius. When you’re coming back from the bars late at night you always need something. If you’re a married guy like me, it might be something as mundane as a snack. If you’re getting lucky with someone you met on your fifteenth round of sangría, you might need some flavored condoms. If you didn’t meet the person of your dreams, you can at least cuddle up to a giant black dong for only €16.50 ($21). Just don’t forget the lube for €6.50 ($8.29) or you might wake up the next morning with more than your head hurting.
This isn’t the only dildo vending machine in Spain. A friend of mine came across one in a youth hostel where she was staying with her two little daughters. The girls saw it first because they were attracted by all the shiny colors. They asked what the dildos were and their mother, quite wisely, I thought, answered honestly and with just enough information to satisfy their curiosity. They shook their heads at the weird things adults get up to and soon forgot about it.
Spain isn’t some decadent place full of loners seeking out dirty vending machines. You can also find vending machines selling books. So far I have yet to see a vending machine that sells books and dildos. I’ll be sure to tell you if I do.
Yeah – you can stop giggling. We already know that 42% of you don’t mind traveling with your favorite sex toy, and who are we to judge?
“Design centric brand” Jimmyjane knows a thing or two about sex toys – so they used their experience with the products to put together a list of tips on how to carry them through the airport checkpoint.
Some of them are no-brainers (remove the batteries), others are things I would not have known (buy a toy with a lock button). Of course, the list does point out several Jimmyjane products you may want to check out, but this is a classy brand – their toys are even on sale at select W Hotels, The Delano hotel in Miami and The Metropolitan in London.
And yes – a quick Google search does show that people travel with their toys, and that plenty of them have had “issues” at the checkpoint. At least those people can travel with the knowledge that they helped brighten the day of the security screener.
Funny “man blog” Manolith has put together a helpful chart with tips on how to carry “marital aids” through the airport checkpoint. The list is obviously meant as a bit of a joke, but from my conversations with TSA workers, it appears that the occasional dildo is not that rare in checkpoint luggage.
The full version of the chart is here. One tip you won’t find in the list is the Gadling recommendation to send your bags (and toys) by FedEx to your destination. That way, you won’t have to worry about a TSA agent questioning you on the purpose of that 12 incher in your bag, or the massive tube of lube you forgot to remove (remember the liquid rules!).
Robocop sets off alarms. Of course, this “Robocop” is the nickname sexologist David Steinberg has for an 8-inch solid brass sex toy. Even a TSA official could see that one coming. This device was stored safely at home, but Steinberg’s bag of goodies still attracted inspector attention at the airport in Seattle.
For once, it may have been prudent to respond, “No,” when asked if the security official could inspect the contents of the bag.
An older, serious women had to sift through nipple clamps, a butt plug, condoms, personal lubricants and other implements of Steinberg’s trade. Truly a committed professional, her facial expression did not change during the entire ordeal. Some of the other passengers working their way through security took notice, undoubtedly thinking that these are the very devices the TSA uses if it summons you into one of those “special” rooms for a more thorough search.
Most of these professional tools are deemed fine for the flight, though a whip with a 6-inch metal handle doesn’t pass the test. The security guard claims it’s a weapon, probably not realizing that that isn’t its intent. I guess it could be used as one, though the owner correctly describes it as a toy (conveniently omitting the word “adult” from the exchange).
Encouraged by the suggestion that he check it as a separate piece of luggage, Steinberg dashed over to the ticket agent to make his move. She was a bit more aware of the device but declined an offer of explanation. The whip was checked successfully, and Steinberg went on his way.
So, the next time you pack your carry-on, remember to consider the contents carefully. Steinberg’s a comfortable pro, but you may not be ready to have your belongings put on display.
Just north of Gran Via, you’ll find all the leather,
sex toys adult novelty items, prostitutes and hook-up bars you’ll need – whether you’re in Madrid for a few hours or several months. For wholesome distraction, however, look elsewhere. The narrow streets and tight alleys can frustrate navigation and make a sketchy space feel even more confined. A mere two blocks from my hotel, I found an “erotic boutique,” “Bears Bar” (which is not a celebration of Yogi or Winnie) and several posters advertising all manner of gratification.
So, why would you hit this neighborhood?
Aside from the obvious anonymous lust-fueled jaunts into a neighborhood designed to satisfy with minimal effort, the bars may be worth the trip. There is an evident party scene in this corner of Madrid, and it’s not limited to the Bears’ niche. After 9 PM, the restaurants and bars along Calle des Infantes [verify street name], especially, attract a young, energetic crowd. Stop by El Tigre for tapas (and be prepared to eat standing), and then crawl from one dive bar to the next … there are plenty to occupy your evening. Finally, in a drunken stupor (or, “stooper,” as a commenter on one of my previous stories put it), decide whether to hunt or pay for an evening’s companionship.
A word of caution: I’ve read that this part of town can be dangerous for accompanies women after dark. While I’ve made light of some of the risks in this neighborhood, please be smart. Both prostitution and drugs, I understand, are common just north of Gran Via. There is a cool bar scene up there, but you probably don’t want to check it out alone.