Common Hollywood Sex Traits

In fiction, sexual activities do not have to be realistic. They are not there to give people realistic expectations. So they may as well present rare luck, implausible stuff and the downright impossible as being the average daily life that anyone should expect. At best, the authors tend to run on a mix of Rule of Fun, Rule of Sexy, They Just Didn't Care and let's-not-squick-people-out. With or without Lampshade Hanging. At worst, they didn't know better. Thus, welcome to the wonderful world of Idealized Sex, where sexuality often works like this:


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     Everything I know about vanilla sex, I learned from the Movies 
  • No-one ever plans to have sex, unless they really plan and go all out with candles and rose petals. Characters never simply agree that after work they'll go shag. It's always an impromptu act of passion, emotion, and perhaps raging hormones.
  • Once the commitment to sex has been made, it is impossible to delay the act, so you must rip each other's clothes off and be lucky if you make it to the bed. Ripping off clothes is always treated as a sign of how incredibly attracted the characters are, and never seen as ruining (sometimes very expensive) outfits just to get into bed 30 seconds sooner.
  • Since A Man Is Always Eager, if a man loses his commitment to sex for no logical reason while his girlfriend remains Ready for Lovemaking, it means that he's actually gay. This is a stock Coming-Out Story.
  • Nobody performing oral sex has any sense of taste. Porn stars seem capable of giving a blow job regardless of where the penis has just been.
  • No-one has difficulty getting into position. No-one ever gets pinched because an arm is in the wrong place, no awkward elbows or knees. It is not necessary to communicate to coordinate yourselves. Everyone will simply transition from one position to another as smoothly as Olympic gymnasts. Even if the lights are so dark that nothing can be seen. The exception is if extremely advanced positions are attempted, which in a comedy will result in hilarious injuries while in drama can result in accidental death.
    • It is worth noting that the same trait does occur in written works (literature, comic books and manga), although in them it's more a case of Conservation of Detail, being that describing where everyone puts their limbs at a particular moment is far more difficult and long-winded, taking up time and space, than in a movie where showing people taking difficulty getting into a position takes a few seconds at most rather than a page and a halfnote 
  • Lubrication is also not required. No matter how big the difference in sizes, penetration will take no more than a brief grunt. Sexual organs are also auto-targeting and therefore will require no help finding the right orifice.
    • And when lube is used, it is sometimes dangerously improbable. Blood is popular in goth/vampire fiction, despite being the exact opposite of a lubricant (otherwise we'd all bleed to death from a papercut); sugary substances would get sticky after awhile and could cause a nasty yeast infection in a woman; oil, lotion, and any other oily lubricant including medical ointments would dissolve a latex condom; gun and motor oils are toxic; and alcoholic beverages would burn. The exception is menstrual blood, which contains anticoagulants (alongside mucus and bits of tissue and other things most people don't find erotic).
    • This trope is very dangerous in Real Life for both people involved, for even (microscopic) cuts or scratches on the inner genital are ideal entryways for HIV virus. The practice of dry sex (using large amounts of soap and herbs to dry out the vaginal lubrication before sex) may be the main culprit for the explosion of HIV infection via heterosexual sex in African countries. Besides, it's just as painful as it can be imagined.
  • Impotence, if it occurs at all, is never a temporary or minor thing. If it happens, then angst must follow and serious steps must be taken to fix the problem. It never fixes itself if you relax and give it a minute.
    • Averted twice in Choke; both times it's treated as normal.
    • Conversely, a man who isn't impotent will respond instantaneously to arousal, as though it was spring-loaded.
  • Unless impotence occurs as mentioned above, men ALWAYS climax during sex with no trouble. Nobody has "death grip syndrome"note .
    • Averted in 'The Five-Year Engagement'.
  • Pre-sex hygiene and post-sex clean-up are not required, except perhaps sharing a shower for romance reasons or a villain ordering his servants to give the captive damsel a pre-ravish cleaning. Condoms or fluids of any kind are assumed to be left to their own devices and do not need to be cleaned up/disposed of (there is no such thing as a urinary tract infection), and underwear will have regenerated by morning so that the participants can get out of bed in view of the audience.
    • This one in particular was averted in a Neil Gaiman erotic short story where the characters briefly do anal; neither have reached a climax, so before they continue, the woman tells her partner to throw out the soiled condom.
    • Averted in A Brother's Price, where Jerin's wives all clean him up before leaving his bedroom. Sharing a husband between several sisters only works if everyone leaves him like she found him, after all.
  • Nobody suffers flatulence or similarly awkward noises during sex, despite this being a distinct possibility, what with people twisting their bodies or compressing their lower orifices slightly to get into certain positions, along with the loss of muscle control at certain points.
  • Nobody ever makes weird faces during sex or while climaxing.
  • Couples always come at the exact same time. Unless:
    • If a man climaxes prematurely, his partner will be left unsatisfied, as it is impossible to continue sex or bring the partner to climax any other way.
    • The female orgasm is an elusive creature rarer than the rarest Mon. Women simply fake it to spare their partners' feelings, as if communicating what does and doesn't work would not make it as easy to climax as any man.
  • Socks simply don't exist, as there is really no way to remove them in a sexy fashion, nor is it sexy to leave them on. (Sexy to the mainstream, that is; foot fetishists didn't get a vote.) Hence the Sock Gap.
    • The exception being thigh-high or knee-high socks, which may be allowed to exist since they can be removed in a sexy fashion. With much panning down the legs and so forth.
  • Couples sharing true love have gentle, sweet sex; couples sharing a wild, passionate romance have, well, wild and passionate sex.
  • A woman's first time will always be bloody and painful, no matter how relaxed and horny she may be (and don't even mention foreplay). From her second time on, however, she'll be perfectly used to the sexual act and having multiple orgasms (and still no sign of foreplay). What arguably justifies this is the fact that her and/or her partner's inexperience can result in a painful first time, and sex becomes more enjoyable as she learns what she does and doesn't like, but the first time doesn't have to be painful.
  • Related to the above: The presence of a hymen as proof of virginity. Not only is this misconception perpetuated in fiction, but it's used to humiliate women all over the world in real life. In reality, all sorts of physical activity can rupture the hymen, and many women have one that doesn't cover the vaginal opening and isn't significantly altered during sex. A hymen that completely or mostly covers the vagina is a medical disorder, not the average woman's default state.
    • Zig-zagged on True Blood. Jessica was 16 and a virgin when she was turned into a vampire. After having sex with Hoyt, she's horrified to find out her hymen had grown back and she would have to deal with the pain of breaking it every single time she had sex. At no point is she stated to have an imperforate hymen. This aspect of her character is quietly dropped after the second season and she is later shown enjoying sex with no problems.
  • Roll in the Hay: Stables and barns are a perfect place to make love. They're not cold, dirty, or smelly in the least and those blankets that appear out of nowhere are always perfectly clean as well. (And hay never, never pokes you in an impertinent manner.)
  • You are much more likely to see a woman performing oral sex on a man than vice versa. In some contexts this is an Enforced Trope: the MPAA has been accused of automatically giving more stringent ratings to scenes of male-on-female oral sex than female-on-male.
  • A woman is biologically incapable of experiencing orgasm without screaming the words "God" and "Yes."
  • All couples huff and puff under special L-shaped bed sheets that reach up to the armpit level on women but only the waist level on men. However. often during the seventies and early eighties, the bed sheet would also only reach waist level on women.
  • Shirts are a turn off to women; in fact, they'll ignore you if you're wearing one, like the female sports reporter in this Diet Rite commercial does. When a woman's meets up with two very attractive, fit, muscular guys in which one's shirtless and the other one's wearing a shirt, she'll choose the bare chested guy over the guy who's fully clothed.
  • Foreplay is not required; you can go from a passionate kiss to intercourse with nothing in between, and it won't be painful or lack sufficient lubrication for either partner.
  • Anal sex doesn't require any sort of stretching or preparation.
  • Virgins instinctively know what to do and how to do it.
  • There's no need to worry about urinary tract or yeast infections. No one in the movies is shown urinating after sex, especially women, even though that (and washing hands, genitals, and anus) is the best way to prevent them. And no one ever has problems with receiving oral because they're susceptible to these sort of infections. In real life, this is a very real concern, especially for women.
  • Only conventionally-attractive people (women especially) have any hope of having sex. Hollywood Homely, Hollywood Pudgy, over a certain age, scarred or otherwise disfigured, or otherwise not fitting into that category? You're shit-outta-luck.
  • A man (or, in the case of Slash Fic and the like, the Seme) might not disrobe completely. The act will be completed Right Through His Pants. A woman (or an Uke), meanwhile, will always wind up naked or nearly naked, even if they're doing it in an unlikely setting.
  • Speaking of which, no one ever gets caught or gets in legal trouble if they choose to do the nasty in public. In the rare event that they do get caught, it's almost always Played for Laughs.

     Everything I know about BDSM, I learned from Comic Books and Fan Fiction 
  • BDSM practitioners are all the same in interests and preferences. If you like it at all, you must be into everything that might be categorized as BDSM. There is no such thing as individual tastes or preferences. Either you are into BDSM or you are not: There's only two kinds of people: Vanilla and BDSM.
  • Communication is totally unnecessary. Fictional masters seem to know their submissives' needs and limits better then the submissives themselves. So why waste time checking if the sub has any relevant medical conditions, phobias, or physical quirks, much less preferences? Right? Of course right.
  • Related to the above, having a Safe Word might as well be redundant. If you do use one, you can safely assume it to be foolproof. Surely a person could never be too proud, scared, high on endorphines, or whatever to use one when they need it, right? So just keep running full throttle; as long as you don't hear a Safe Word, nothing could possibly be wrong.
  • Bondage is not only cool, but so cool that gravity itself defers to it. Go ahead, tie your sub just like the one in the comic book - leaning forward, with the only rope supporting them also pulling forward. Surely they won't fall?
  • On a related note, blood circulation seems to be optional. A person's body weight can easily rest on a thin rope that pulls the body in a really awkward position. Don't bother studying real shibari before trying suspension bondage, it's not like fan fic writers do.
  • If Bob is a bad person because he's into BDSM, then just why is it bad to be into BDSM? Well, obviously because a person like Bob is into it. We already know that he's a bad person, right? That's all we need to establish a Designated Villain or the premise that Evil Is Sexy... abusively so.
  • Whether one is a dominant or a submissive is 100% fixed and completely rigid. Switchable persons, in the world of Idealized Sex, are given the same treatment as bisexuals. Whilst in Real Life some practitioners of BDSM do have an exclusive preference for one role alone, this isn't true for all of them.
  • A true masochist enjoys all kinds of pain, and will eventually be happy to submit to anyone who is brutal enough. Surely a suddenly sprained wrist must feel orgasmic? Best way to start a healthy kinky relationship? Well, just force the kinky stuff on a complete stranger. If you can keep him from running away, you can add the relationship part, and upgrade to healthy later. Building trust and earning confidence is the easiest part, right? (Naturally, this works just fine for Vanilla romances as well!)
  • If a male is a Dominant, he is always dashingly handsome, ridiculously wealthy, between the ages of 25 and 45, and does BDSM with his coworkers or employees.

     Everything I know about fetishism, I learned from pornography and the plot-twist of detective stories. 
  • Fetishism is the same thing as BDSM — if you are turned on by leather, rubber, or high-heeled shoes, you are automatically into whipping as well. And vice versa. There's no such thing as Casual Kink.
  • If someone has a fetish, their entire life automatically revolves around it. Or better yet, their fetish is their life and entire identity. They exist only to be some alien object for others to stare at in one way or another.
  • If a person wears clothes in materials associated with fetishism, this person is either evil or only a sexual object without any relevant personality of her own.
  • On the other hand, fetishists who play with shoes or whatever (rather than wearing outfits) are automatically incapable of being evil or competent in anything malicious. Their lot in life is to be a Red Herring for cops and others to stumble over.
  • If you have a fetish, it must be incorporated every time you have sex. There's no such thing as a quickie.
  • Love & sex fiction and urban legends quote a list (too long to be posted entirely) of objects and foodstuffs which are supposed to turn oral sex into a breathtaking earth-shaking spine-trembling experience: mint (in Britain, Altoid Mints, in other places creme de menthe liqueur), cognac, ice cubes, tea, ice cubes and warm tea, ice cubes plus cream and warm tea, ice cream...

    Nobody ever cared to explain how are they supposed to work note  and even people goaded to try after reading about them reported nothing extraordinary. They stem from the Steam Age stories of High Class Call Girls and attempts from the ordinary public to find a reason why they were so desired by men of wealth and power in their time.
  • If a man likes or expresses interest in any form of anal play, it means he's secretly gay or bisexual. (In actuality, plenty of straight guys like butt-play as well...and plenty of gay/bi guys don't.)

     Everything I know about same-gendered sex, I learned from slash fiction, manga and pornography (gay and straight) 
  • For LGBT people in the world of Idealized Sex, everything on the above lists might also apply.
    • Lubrication gets an honorary mention for gay male couples. It's not just anal sex, any hump-type fun can be ruined or prevented entirely by lack of lubrication.
  • In some settings, a person is either "normal" or "deviant". It's all or nothing. Thus, every homosexual is also a sadomasochist and fetishist. Hopefully it stops there.
  • In other settings, each character can have exactly one trait that deviate from the mainstream. Thus, it's not possible to be both gay and into BDSM. Or to be gay and Muslim. When being female is such a trait, it's also impossible to be a lesbian.
  • Conversion is easy! Whether you're gay or straight, all it takes to jump borders is some mind-blowing sex from the "right" one on that side. Whether you want it or not.
  • All same-sex couples have a dominant aggressive one on the giving end attempting to seduce the passive, submissive receiver. In other words, one is the "man" and one is the "woman." Male couples always have one Manly Gay Seme and one twinkish Uke. Female couples always have one Butch Lesbian and one Lipstick Lesbian. Nevermind that even straight couples don't all follow this dynamic.
  • All gay and bi men enjoy anal sex and do it every time they're intimate. According to to fiction, the only way two men can have sex is anal penetration. Most queer men in real life save anal sex—if they like it at all—for special occasions; for run-of-the-mill sex they may prefer oral, mutual masturbation, or other acts normally considered foreplay. But in fiction, there's never foreplay. At most, they'll lovingly make out, then dive straight into the buttsex.
  • There is either no such thing as versatility, or the couple is equally reversible with them easily swapping all the time and both partners being 100% comfortable in whatever position. There's also no such thing as one partner being uncomfortable giving whatever kind of oral sex (forget the idea of mastubatory aids all together!).
  • A bottom's anus is a discount vagina, essentially. It even self-lubricates! A really egregious example of this trope will even have a hymen (the Hollywood "barrier" version) back there! And since it's roughly located in the same vicinity as a vagina, gay couples have zero problem getting into popular male/female sexual positions.
  • All bisexuals (if they exist) will sleep with Anything That Moves, because being attracted to both genders means they're not allowed to have any standards or physical preferences.
  • Lesbians always have long, well-manicured fingernails. Hopefully, the problems with this are self-evident.note 
    • A similar problem occurs with some Camp Gay characters.
  • Then there's the other extreme where two women can only have sex using their fingers or other masturbatory aids, or the implication that two women don't have "real" sex if there's no penetration involved.
  • If a character is "just experimenting", his or her partner will always understand that (and in fact, will often be "just experimenting" him/herself), even without talking about it beforehand. (Which almost never occurs in fiction.) Everyone's just magically on the same page, and no one feels "used" or develops unrequited feelings for their partner, who almost inevitably decides that nope, s/he is straight after all, or that it really was "just a phase," or "just the alcohol talking."
  • A man can become pregnant as easily as a woman can, with no explanation. (Not even "A Wizard Did It!")
  • Since Girl-on-Girl Is Hot, it's not considered cheating if Alice sleeps with Carol while in a relationship with Bob that isn't explicitly stated as an open relationship. Even if Bob would fly into a jealous rage if Alice so much as looked at another guy. Curiously, even in settings where Guy-on-Guy Is Hot, two men doing it (where one or both of them are involved with a member of the opposite sex) would be considered cheating, unless it wasn't consensual. (And sometimes, even then.)
  • When two girls do it, it doesn't really "count," since there is no penis involved...and also Girl-on-Girl Is Hot. So Alice can have all the lesbian sex she wants and still be considered a virgin, and not lose Virgin Power, or the privilege of being on the "Madonna" side of the Madonna–Whore Complex spectrum. Also, if a woman engages in sexual contact with another woman without her consent, it doesn't count as rape, and does not leave the victim Defiled Forever or traumatized.
  • When a guy sees two hot chicks having lesbian sex, they will ask him to join them for a threesome.
  • When a hot chick catches a hot bisexual guy performing fellatio on another hot bisexual guy, she will take her clothes off and invite herself to join them for a two-guys and one-girl threesome.


For other ways things can go unnaturally smooth, compare and contrast Common Mary Sue Traits. While Mary Sue is a way to function socially and Idealized Sex is a way to function sexually, they are both unrealistic in the same basic way. (Not to mention that Mary Sues tend to try their damn hardest to serve as fanservice anyways...)


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CommonHollywoodSexTraits