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On safe sex toy storage

I’m not an expert on sex toys. I have some, I’ve had others, and as a general rule I buy a new one every few months, then use it until either I or the guy I’m with is bored of it, or until it accidentally gets lodged somewhere it shouldn’t and we never use it again.

However, what I am an expert in is ‘inadvertently fucking things up to create maximum embarrassment for those around me’. So, to go along with the genuinely useful guides on safe sex toy storage and how to care for sex toys to make sure they last as long as possible, I thought I’d chip in with some tips of my own, based on a few choice fuck-ups I’d prefer not to repeat.

How to store sex toys so your Mum doesn’t find them

If you’re reading this, you should be over 18. However, as the housing market turns into a pit of howling souls and burning money, and thirty year-olds find themselves priced out of even the most basic rented accommodation, there are probably a fair few of you who live with your parents. Should you find yourself going away for a protracted period of time, heed rule 1: lock your sex toys away in a safe place.

A good friend of mine went away to University and failed to heed this rule. A month or so into the first term, she got a phone call from her mother.

“I found something under your bed. It’s a battery-powered thing.”

“Oh, really?” She panicked. “I… umm… what were you doing under my bed?”

“Tidying. But don’t worry, I didn’t throw it away…” Pause for dramatic effect. “I cleaned it and put it back.”

Cleaned it.

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with having a relationship so close that your mother feels it’s OK to clean your sex toys, but this clearly was not one of those relationships. My friend’s level of embarrassment was so high that she dedicated the next weekend to a round-trip home so she could sort and dispose of anything that had previously been into contact with her vagina.

I’ve had similar panics myself – not from my own Mum, who would no more go through my drawers than she’d read my dirty sex book, but the mother of an ex-boyfriend of mine, who once found an item that we’d stored under his bed.

She never mentioned it to us, so we were spared the conversation. I could probably have coped with a “hide your sex toys better” conversation, but my fear was that the object we’d hidden might spark the far more excruciating “what exactly is this for?” question. We only knew she’d discovered it because, when he returned from his trip, not only had it been wrapped in a carrier bag and pushed right to the back, but she’d also hidden one of her own – ahem – personal items alongside it.

In case you’re wondering what the toy in question was, it was this.

How to store sex toys so your nosy flatmates don’t find them

You might think that, having moved away from home, you wouldn’t have to worry much about this stuff. No one’s going to come into your room and insist you pick your knickers up off the floor, and nor are they going to root around in your bedside drawers to see what’s inside.

You would be reckoning on housemates that were not like Steve. Steve (obviously not his real name) was a housemate I had at University. He was the kind of smarmy arsehole who would listen through paper-thin walls when you were having sex with someone then complain loudly in the morning that you had disturbed his sleep. How did I know that he listened through the walls? Another of my housemates told me, because he had been bragging to that housemate that holding a glass to the wall and listening to some of the things I got up to was “much better than paying for porn.”

‘Flattered’ doesn’t even begin to cover it.

One weekend I nipped back to my hometown for a couple of days to recharge my batteries by drinking gin with my Mum and caterwauling showtunes with her into the early hours of the morning. Unfortunately, being a trusting soul, I had neglected to clear away the toys I’d played with the night before I left, and there was something sitting relatively exposed in the middle of my bed.

When I returned home, Steve greeted me with a smug smile.

“That money I owed you – I left it on your bedside table,” he smarmed.

“Umm… OK. Why didn’t you leave it on the kitchen side, like we always do?”

“I just… I thought it would be safer in your bedroom.” There was a long pause, while he grinned even more greasily, and I knew exactly which question was coming next. “That thing on your bed. What exactly is it for?”

It was one something a little like this.

How to dispose of sex toys so your neighbours don’t find them

I was raised on a diet of lentils and The Guardian, so I’d always aim to recycle products if I can. However with sex toys this has been limited to taking the batteries out and putting them in one of those recycling bins you find in supermarkets.

I don’t really know how you go about recycling them responsibly. Perhaps I could just collect them, then glue them all together in some sort of fucksculpture for my living room. If I get enough, I could create a sex toy throne to sit on as I watch porn, reveling in all the rubber cocks I’ve vanquished during wanks past.

But when it comes to proper sex toy recycling, I’m at a bit of a loss. What I can tell you for sure, though, is that you should absolutely not seal them into cardboard boxes with a pile of other un-recyclable rubbish then leave them out overnight for the council to collect.

It turns out that:

a) the council is not as efficient in collecting stuff as they promise on their website and

b) mysterious boxes sealed and placed next to your bins are infinitely tempting to thieves.

I came home one afternoon to find ripped boxes and bin bags all over my front lawn, and jelly cock-rings and vibrating butt-plugs strewn liberally across the pavement. My humiliation was almost complete – all I needed was for a concerned neighbour to slip a note through my letterbox asking: “what exactly is this stuff for?”

UPDATE: if you do want to recycle your old sex toys, the excellent Nymphomaniac Ness has published a fantastic guide on how to recycle sex toys. Please do check it out, and make sure that your wanks have as low a carbon footprint as possible.


  • this is a great post. gosh that steve was creepy, listening to you was better than porn? eesh! thanks for sharing all of the toys as well to illustrate as well…

  • Yaya says:

    Also in this category; how to hide them when your family members help you move. You *definitely* take the batteries out. Taking your pulsating vibrator out of a bag in the middle of the street surrounded by neighbours, loved ones and their friends who came to help..

    Ah well, now I get vibrators for my birthday every year from my nephews

  • Russ says:

    So women are wearing out plastic and electronic toys and sending them to landfill whilst my 100% organic, reusable, and ultimately bio-degradable member is being woefully ignored.
    I hope you are all happy when you’ve destroyed the planet.

    Oh well, if you can’t beat them,..

    • seasideslut says:

      I’ll have a go on you, Russ :P

      I want to know what the buttplug mum put in the bag. A mum of a mate of mine found her vibrator – cleaned it, wrapped it in tissue paper and replaced it.

      Whenever I moved house my mum always ended up carrying the box containing an accidentally activated vibrator. And a flatmate actually borrowed my vibrator once.

      • Girl on the net says:

        Ah, the mum toy was just a standard rabbit-type thing, if I remember correctly. Accidental toy activation can be a bit tricky, I should have added something in about battery removal!

        *Wrapped it in tissue paper*?! Seriously, this whole mums-cleaning-sex-toys thing slays me. I should tell my own Mum, as I suspect she’d find the whole thing entirely hilarious.

  • @KatieButterfly says:

    I would like to think none of mine have ever been found, but I’m probably deluding myself.

    My biggest embarrassment, was finding my older sister’s vibrator (I was 13 and had only just discovered wanking using my fingers, sex toys were just things I laughed about with friends) when rummaging in a drawer in her bedroom for a top of mine that our mum had decided must be hers, and I wanted to wear that evening.

    I couldn’t look her in the eye for days after that, although the fact that she had one was of course a source of amusement to my friends and me…

    Katie xx

  • Chaz says:

    I kept my first vibrator in a spectacle case under my bed. As far as I know, my mother never found it, although I’m sure she heard me using it on more than one occasion.

    I keep all of my old, broken sex toys in an old shoe box, as I’ve never known how to dispose of them without embarrassment. Thanks for the link on recycling them. Now my friends won’t have to get rid of them after I die!

  • I don’t have a lot of sex toys, and the limited amount I have were all acquisitions after I moved back from university (and always for free; I’ve never bought one). There have been a couple of moves since then, but I always made sure my toys were packed into a box and moved first – often by me – and stored in a safe space. Currently, they are – where else? – under my bed. But then they’ve also been at the foot thereof, in a cupboard, on top of the cupboard, in a box marked “mementoes” on a shelf, and other various places. I don’t need to have them to hand so much, so they go into storage a lot.

    What’s more tricky is where to store my porn, as that’s mostly on DVDs (and 25 CD-Rs, but they’re all in a case) and they take up space. I used to put them inside a Dungeons & Dragons box (along with the AD&D stuff, I wasn’t going to get rid of that!), on the assumption that my mum wasn’t going to open it. She didn’t, of course, but in transit back home from uni (first time around), I still made sure I carried the AD&D boxes – especially the one that was falling apart…

    My parents moved house last year, while I was renting a room elsewhere. Though I was a little touchy about what they may have found under my bed when (re)moving it, all my mother found were little sachets of lube which had fallen out of my bag at various points. She, of course, mistook them for condoms… so I’m assuming I’m perfectly safe when it comes to her identifying anything at all, really.

    • Girl on the net says:

      I’m seriously fascinated – you still have your porn stored on physical media?! How come? Why would you not rip the DVDs? It’s not illegal if you’re not sharing it with anyone, just easier to store, surely? Is it a sentimental thing, for the same reason as I keep books even though I could more easily have them on my kindle?

      I like your cunning plan of hiding them in something you don’t think people will be curious about, although having heard mych about D&D but never played it, I’m not sure I could have resisted the temptation…

  • Azkyroth says:

    Fortunately the only sex toy of mine either of my parents ever found was an improvised one I made out of Legos when I was about 13. Yay for maybe-plausible deniability, and resourcefulness. x.x

    I did accidentally leave a several page printout explaining the work of a particularly, um, out-there artist I’d taken an interest in, and the community of similar fantasies, for my then-wife’s edification, in the back seat of my car once, and mom found it when she was helping me clean it out. I explained it was something I was drawing inspiration from for my writing (villain characterization and all), but…yeesh. x.x

    • Girl on the net says:

      I have to ask – what did you make out of lego? If you can make sex toys out of lego, I am surprised sex toy companies have not gone out of business by now.

      Also, very good cover on the Mum thing!

  • Azkyroth says:

    A very crude dildo. Rocket pieces with one of those plus-cross-section things up the center to reduce the chance of anything getting lost, one of the large, trapezoidal cross-section things for a “flared base,” and none of the fin pieces. It wasn’t very comfortable or easily cleanable, but was better than nothing, when I wasn’t quite up to abusing flashlight handles or didn’t have the patience for swiping a condom out of my parents’ dresser (they weren’t always in there, either) and using it over a long piece of cloth that was once part of a ninja costume wrapped on itself into a reasonably rigid phallic shape.. >.>

    (I’m kind of mystified that a trip to the doctor never resulted from my early/mid teen experimentation, actually. O.o)

    • Girl on the net says:

      Blimey – that’s some imaginative DIYing, although yeah, I’m also sort of gobsmacked that you didn’t end up at the doctor, or on one of those “top 20 weird things they’ve found up people’s arses” lists.

  • Hugh Jassman says:

    Scilly airport a few years ago (basically a shed with a short length of tarmac outside):

    Tannoy announcer: Would Mr Jassman please come to the security desk, your suitcase is vibrating.
    {I wander back to the security desk from the cafe}
    Me: I’m Mr Jassman.
    Person behind desk: Is there anything in your suitcase there shouldn’t be sir?
    Me: No.
    Person: Why then is it vibrating?
    Me: I genuinely have no idea, sorry.
    Person, we’d better go have a look.
    {he leads out onto the runway, in full view of the cafe where about 40 people, including my ex-inlaws, are peering out the window. I then open my suitcase and discover the source of the vibrating. My ex-wife’s electric toothbrush}
    Person: You’ll have to take the batteries out sir.
    Me: I can’t, it’s a sealed unit without a lock, sorry, I’ll turn it off.

    Not a sex toy thing per-se, but the roughly 40 people in the airport building at the time were giving me some looks I can tell you.

  • Sarah says:

    I once shared a flat with a couple of devout Christians. I once called them in to help me deal with a spider above my bed – it dropped down, one removed a pillow go uncover my vibrator.

    I am not kidding, one moved back in with her parents two days later.

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