Are Sex Toys Like Vibrators Illegal In Dubai, Bali, Or Other Countries?
If you live in the United States, it may be difficult to imagine life without vibrators or dildos but some countries have made sex toys — including vibrators — illegal.
Let’s break down in what countries vibrators are illegal.
- Indonesia (including Bali)
- The Maldives
- Saudi Arabia
- The United Arab Emirates (UAE — which includes Dubai)
Sex toys can be confiscated in any of these countries and governments in Malaysia, Thailand, or the UAE may even prosecute you for bringing a sex toy into the country or ordering one online to be sent to an address located there.
The consequences of being caught with an illegal sex toy range from fines to straight-up imprisonment, depending on where the infraction occurs.
And spoiler alert: You won’t get to take your sex toy with you to jail — apparently vibrators are not the new black.
While this may not be enough to disrupt your travel plans, speaking as a former government lawyer, I’ll tell you that it sure can (and should!) affect your packing list.
Are Sex Toys Really Illegal In Some Countries?
Yes, vibrators, dildos — and other sex toys, for that matter — are illegal in certain countries.
But exactly where are sex toys illegal?
Let’s touch on some of the most common countries you may have questions about.
While India doesn’t technically have a law barring the sale of sex toys, the country does have an obscenity law (Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code) that can be applied to sex toys, including vibrators.
If you are caught with a sex toy in India, your item can be confiscated and you may face penalties.
Indonesia (Including Bali)
Indonesia — which includes Bali — has an obscenity law (Pornography Law No 44 of 2008, also known as UU pornografi Nomor 44 Tahun 2008 tentang Pornografi) that can apply to sex toys — but it’s open to interpretation by the official who may be confiscating the device.
Why are sex toys illegal in Bali?
They’re not exactly illegal — sex toys are not specifically forbidden in the legal text — but the island of Bali belongs to Indonesia, and the government enforces its obscenity law there as well as on the mainland.
In 2022, Bali airport officials burned around $63,000 (or 980,734,190 Indonesian Rupiah) worth of contraband items, including over 400 personal devices.
Rules are rules, but this is a little too Fahrenheit 451 for us.
The good news is that the consequence of being caught with a sex toy in Indonesia is simply confiscation.
Malaysia also has an obscenity law (Laws of Malaysia, Act 574; Penal Code Section 292) that encompasses sex toys.
Possession is punishable by fines and up to three years of imprisonment.
Noticing a trend yet?
Well, the Maldives is following it.
Violations of the law (a Class 1 misdemeanor) can even lead to imprisonment — one local spent six months in jail for possession of two sex toys.
If you try to enter the country with a banned item, it can be confiscated and your entry could be delayed or outright denied.
The import and possession of all “sexual instruments,” including sex toys, is illegal in Saudi Arabia.
Violations can result in confiscation and fines.
Thailand is widely perceived as a sexually liberal country, in part due to Bangkok’s famous red-light districts.
So why are sex toys illegal in Thailand?
The country’s criminal code (Section 287) prohibits trading and distributing pornographic materials or “any other thing which is obscene.”
This includes sex toys.
If you are caught with a sex toy in Thailand, you may face up to three years imprisonment or a $2,000 (60,000 Thai baht) fine.
UAE (including Dubai)
If you’re wondering “Are vibrators illegal in the UAE?” — the answer is yes.
The UAE has banned sex toys (Section III, Article 362), including dildos and vibrators, which fall under “other matters” that violate public morality.
Similarly, vibrators are banned in Dubai.
Why are vibrators illegal in Dubai?
While many of us think of Dubai as its own country of sorts, Dubai is actually a city in the United Arab Emirates, and UAE laws apply there.
Sex toy possession in the UAE can lead to confiscation and even prosecution — a fine of up to 5,000 dirhams (around $1,300) and/or six months’ detention.
In fact, reality TV star Charlotte Crosby was nearly arrested at the Dubai airport in 2021 for having a sex toy in her luggage.
Unlike officials in the countries listed above, however, Vietnamese customs officers will hang onto your sex toys and return them to you when you leave the country.
The mental image of lockers full of tourists’ dildos and vibrators brings us so much joy that it almost outweighs our frustration with the law itself.
You win some, you lose some.
Flying Internationally With A Sex Toy
Thankfully, most areas of the world allow vibrators, dildos, and other sex toys so you’re free to take them with you on vacation just about anywhere you go.
Are sex toys legal to bring on vacation in Mexico, for example? Absolutely.
And are vibrators illegal in Georgia? No — you can take them with you there, as well.
If you are considering air travel with a vibrator, check out this article to learn more.
Before visiting any foreign country, it is important to understand the contours of local laws and respect cultural and religious customs.
That way, you can avoid issues at customs and any awkward or embarrassing moments — or worse!
So if you are traveling to any of the countries we talked about above, leave your vibrator and other sex toys at home.
They will be waiting for you when you get back.