Parents

50 Shades of Cringe: When the kids find your 'adult' toys

Long before Christian and Ana’s exploits in "Fifty Shades of Grey" sparked a worldwide conversation about bondage and kink, adults have been spicing things up in the bedroom with all manner of "toys." But, especially for parents, it's not always easy to keep that toybox hidden from prying eyes. That's got some moms taking extra steps to safeguard their personal devices, including having custom hidden compartments built into their closets.

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When Chicago mom Trisha McCarthy overheard her kids playing with their toy dinosaurs, she didn’t think much of it. Until the 41-year old mother of two discovered the cave they were using wasn’t a cave at all.

“It was one of our toys,” said McCarthy, of the cobalt blue sleeve she and her husband sometimes incorporate into foreplay. “I told them it was something special for daddy and I swapped it out with a sock instead.”

Sex toys are big business. The online adult product company, Adam and Even, shipped just under 2 million packages in 2014. With that many novelties floating around, there are bound to be a few gaffes.

Alyssa Royse, a life and relationship coach, was hosting a fundraiser at her Seattle home when she discovered several children in her bedroom playing with a veritable treasure trove of sex toys. California-based author Julia Tracy’s clogged sink led to an awkward exchange between the plumber and her vibrator. And when Allison Williams, a Michigan based playwright, left her toy in a hotel room, she rang up housekeeping and asked that it be mailed to her.

“It was too expensive to kiss goodbye,” said Williams.

TODAY fans shared their own personal anecdotes in response to a call-out on the TODAY Parents Facebook page.

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Miranda Smith’s son came out of her bedroom, vibrator in hand. When he asked what it was, Smith said it was a massager.

“I had to hold still while he massaged my head with it,” said Smith in a Facebook post.

Another viewer, Hollie Spesard-Jasinski, said professional movers dropped her dresser and sent her vibrator jiggling all over the floor. Her in-laws were standing nearby and to make matters worse, her son grabbed it and swung it in the air yelling.

One solution, said Shaun Oriold, a Toronto-based custom closet designer is a false drawer bottom. Oriold has built quite a few for clients.

"It’s not detectable from looking at the drawer on the outside," he said. `“The interior bottom lifts up and out to reveal another layer below.”

Even if you can't install a secret hiding spot for your collection, there's plenty of steps you can to help them stay undiscovered.

For one don’t forget to either remove the batteries for long term storage—buzzing or whirling might alert the kiddos, your dad or the cleaning crew.

And you can't beat just simply keeping it out of reach. These days Royse keeps her fantasy arsenal on a “very high shelf in the closet”

“Except for my favorite vibrator,” said Royse unabashedly. “That one is right next to my bed.”

But users need to be prepared in case their toys do get discovered. don't buy toys that look like rubber duckies or lipsticks, especially if there are young kids in the house, recommends Stef Woods, a sex educator and professor at American University.

And you also need to be ready to have a conversation with your kids should they happen upon one of your adult toys.

“We don’t want to feel shame about something that’s a normal part our personal, intimate lives,” said Woods. “But the parent needs to control the dialogue based on their comfort level.”

Molly Blake is a California-based freelance writer. Find her online at mollyblake.com.

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