how Sasha learned where babies come from.
Raynor: What? I haven't even said anything to you yet!
Kerrigan: Yeah, but you were thinking it.
Congratulations, You have just acquired the amazing superpower of Telepathy
! Now you can peek into the innermost thoughts
of your friends and enemies whenever you want. Isn't that awesome?
There's a bit of a problem here, though. You see, people tend to think about sex. A lot, in fact. So, guess what you're going to find when you start mind-probing people out of curiosity?
Dirty Mind Reading is what happens when someone with Telepathy has the misfortune of reading somebody's naughty thoughts, either because he can't control his powers
or because he doesn't have the wits to use them responsibly
and is simply getting his Karmic justice.
For bonus points, have him accidentally read the mind of someone in the next room actually having sex
, which can lead to Sex by Proxy
. A subtrope of A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read
, though often played for comedy as well. See also Forgot About the Mind Reader
and My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That
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Anime & Manga
- School Rumble has a weird example, in that Yakumo can't read everyone's minds, only those in love with her. However, she's very beautiful, and half the male population is head-over-heels for her, yet she's never heard anything dirty, but she just finds their obsession intimidating. She also finds Hanai carrying what's left of Nishimoto's Porn Stash.
- In One Piece, Violet, a villain from the Dressrosa arc, uses her Devil Fruit power of telepathy to look into the mind of a captured and beaten Straw Hats crew member for information. The member in question is Sanji, so understandably she's quite shocked to see how many lewd thoughts run in his head, even in a situation like this.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, you don't even need another person to find yourself in this situation, such as Nodoka Miyazaki, who has a rather perverted subconscious. Much later, she meets a huge-bodied masked mercenary with creepy tentacles whose predominant thoughts are "Boobies!". Very creepy until the truth is revealed.
- This is how an Elite Mook with a mind-reading madogu in Flame of Recca is defeated by Domon—she suffers a wardrobe malfunction and all Domon can think of after that is "BOOBS!"
- In YuYu Hakusho, Yusuke and company force a mind reader to help them find whoever is opening up the portal to the demon world, telling him to listen for anything strange. What he comes up with is a lusty "That girl's thinking about getting it on with her teacher, dammit!"
- The heroine in Telepathic Wanderers is both good-looking and telepathic. Knowing a lot of people are fantasizing about raping her drives her to become a hermit.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion has a scene where Shinji stumbles onto a memory of Misato's while in Instrumentality from when she was in her college days—in particular, when she skipped classes to have a week-long sex romp with Kaji. Misato freaks out about how she doesn't want Shinji to see her "like that", but Shinji just seems numb (or perhaps entranced).
- Satori of Ranma ½ has the ability to read minds and he is not happy when the Saotomes and Tendos don't believe him. So, to prove that he can, he decides to read one of their minds and then tell them their thoughts. Unfortunately for him, he happens to choose Happosai's. It was so bad that Satori had a nosebleed and fainted.
- In High School DXD, Issei's Bilingualnote fails on Sairaorg's Bishop because she's willing to strip in front of Issei. Yes, her breasts tell which clothing she's going to strip next.
- This is actually the least of problems for Kotoura-san's Haruka, as out of the few people that are willing to stand by her, Manabe and her grandfather Zenzan have sexual fantasies towards her. Provided everyone else she'd ever known was afraid of or hated her for her powers, she's willing to put up with it.
- Manabe actually Invokes this in Kotoura to get her to stop avoiding him in the first episode. She immediately starts hitting him wearing a red face.
- An unusually friendly version is implied in Fairy Tail when Cobra reads Natsu's mind, then they both start laughing. Happy asks what's so funny, and Natsu tells him "I'll explain it when you're older."
- An issue of Ultimate Spider-Man plays with this. As Spidey is meeting the X-Men for the first time, Jean Grey compliments him for being the first guy who didn't immediately imagine her naked, which he hadn't... until she put the idea of doing so into his head. The next page and a half is her getting more and more annoyed as Spidey desperately tries to stop imagining her naked.
- In Ultimate X-Men the same Jean Grey, immediately after meeting Kitty Pride and telling her she's a telepath, says not to worry about the dirty thoughts that come straight to the top of her mind as Kitty instinctively thinks about what to try and hide. Apparently everyone else does the same thing.
- Poor Jean has this happen yet again in one issue of the main-continuity X-Men...as she narrates about the woes of telepathy, she mostly picks up on people's petty greed, anger, and resentment, but one sales clerk is thinking, "Please walk up and down my chest in six-inch stilletto heels...."
- Her pseudo-daughter, Rachel, reacts to this in an early issue of Excalibur, suddenly tar & feathering the offender. We never find out what the exact thoughts were, but when Rachel shows them to Brian Braddock (Captain Britain) by way of explaining her reaction, his temper slips as well. Thankfully he's prevented from actually throwing a punch.
- Also in X-Men, Gambit deliberately invokes this trope to keep telepaths out of his mind. These aren't just any dirty thoughts, though, no... they involve the Blob.
- In the tie in comic book for City of Heroes, the psychic superheroine was disgusted to hear the thoughts that a teenage boy was having of her. Strange, since being sixty years old should have given her more time to get used to it... or at least to choose a costume that wasn't absurdly Stripperific.
- Persha of the First has the power to see through the eyes of others. She sometimes uses it to keep track of her scheming mother Ingra, who is The Vamp. She's rather deadpan about those moments when Ingra is... busy.
- While it never actually happens in the show (bar the pleasure sensing in "Objects In Space"), rather a lot of Firefly fanfiction takes River's well-established Power Incontinence to its logical conclusion.
- In Forward, a more unusual take on this is used. Jayne deliberately thinks dirty thoughts about River to get her attention when they couldn't talk.
- "YOUR MIND CONFUSES ME EMMETT, PLEASE GO BACK TO THINKING ABOUT FOOTBALL... NO! NO EMMETT I SAID FOOTBALL, MY GOODNESS. NO I DO NOT WONDER WHAT [BELLA] LOOKS LIKE NAKED"
- In the Kim Possible story Nights In The Big City, the Sensei of the Yamanouchi ninja academy says that because of the monkey spirit's sense of humour, "I have been given the ability to read minds, but only when they are in the gutter".
- This Tin Man fanfic uses a version of it. Raw isn't sure quite what to make of the truly strange emotions coming from two of his human friends, as Viewers handle the whole mating thing much differently. Unfortunately for him, he finds out.
Raw didn't get any sleep after all that night. He ended up pacing his room. This was worse than when the females went into season.
- Tends to show up in Golden Sun kink meme prompts and fills, especially when Ivan (noted for being rather fond of his mind reading powers in canon) is half the pairing. Possibly nodded to in Dark Dawn, when it's noted that Ivan is no longer quite so thrilled with his mind reading powers.
- Deliberately used from time to time in Undocumented Features as a quick-and-dirty test for psi powers.
MegaZone: OK, you didn't hit me. You're not telepathic.
- This trope plagues poor Satori Komeiji in Touhou fanworks, sometimes freaking her out or getting to her, other times subverting this with Satori getting bored with dirty thoughts due to overexposure. Since subconscious desire is a massive part of Freud's theories of psychology, this trope also gets used by her sister, Koishi, though she tends to be portrayed as less bothered by it. Or, indeed, anything.
- About half of the movie What Women Want was this.
- Dirty Object Reading variant: This is a Running Gag in the 1988 movie Vibes.
Nick: This is cold. Right out of the package. Never been used. (sets the knife down and picks up another)
Male Professor: Amazing.
Nick: This is from the cafeteria here at the college. Oh, remind me not to eat here. (he sets it down and picks up another knife) This is... oh God... oh Jesus...
Female Professor: Yes?
Nick: (throws down the knife) A woman... her husband's back... eight... nine times!
Female Professor: Yes, we know.
Nick: You know? How could you give that to me? Don't you know how hard it is for me to have to see things like that?!
Male Professor: We have to test you. In science...
Nick: Now I won't be able to sleep! What a sight! His... oh... (lowers his head to the table but then suddenly lifts it back up) Someone has had sex on this table.
(the professors glance at each other guiltily)
Female Professor: Thank you Mr. Deezy, that will be enough for today.
- Seemingly averted in X-Men: The Last Stand
Jean Grey: Logan, you're making me blush...
Wolverine: Are you reading my thoughts?
Jean Grey: I don't have to.
Live Action Television
- In a few early Dilbert strips, Dilbert goes on a blind date with a two-headed telepath. It doesn't go well.
Dilbert: Must not think anything naughty, must not think anything naughty — (the woman's faces freeze in horror) — Oops.
Dilbert: I must admit, this is the first time I've been on a date with a two-headed telepath. Now I'm sure some of the thoughts you're picking up seem strange and disturbing, but I assure you, these are perfectly normal thoughts for a guy — (the woman grabs the tablecloth in disgust and horror) — Well, maybe not that last one.
- Sasha Nein from Psychonauts accidentally wound up doing this as a child when he attempted to learn more about his dead mother by probing his father's mind. Most of them were happy memories. A few of them were really happy (and child-scarring) memories.
- A G-rated version occurs when Raz runs into Lili on his way to Sasha's secret training. As she laments how immature he's being, Raz accidentally reads her mind and hears that she secretly wants to make out with him. Near the end of the game, she deliberately projects the same thought into his head as a Call Back.
- Psycho Mantis laments his telepathy in his Final Speech in Metal Gear Solid, particularly, "how everyone thinks of only one thing".
- In StarCraft, we're never told in-game exactly what Raynor was thinking when he met Kerrigan, but Kerrigan's response implies that this trope was involved. According to tie-in book Liberty's Crusade, it's along the lines of "She's Got Legs".
- Kreia's bond with the Jedi Exile sometimes veers into this territory, with the old bag lecturing about "base thoughts" and "indignities." However, one also wonders if that misplaced Bene Gesserit is getting her kicks by it, as she's talking about it a lot.
- Invoked by Mint in Galaxy Angel Moonlit Lover, Vanilla route. While Tact and Vanilla did share some intimate moments (not that way; Tact just got his ears cleaned), Mint invokes this trope with some very careful wording, leading both Ranpha and Forte to be very visibly excited over the prospect. Naturally, Milfie and Chitose fail to get it.
- Subverted in Kid Icarus: Uprising; when Palutena directs Pit to a stash of treasure in the second level, Pit asks her how she knows this. Palutena says that she can analyze the situation through Pit's laurels, then tells Pit that she can also use them to read Pit's thoughts while warning him that he better not be thinking of anything "naughty." But when Pit promptly sheepishly denies any impure thoughts, Palutena says she was kidding about the whole thing with the laurels.
- After recruiting supernatural Casanova Gannayev to your party in Mask of the Betrayer, prison warden Tirzah the Old sends him off with a bitter good riddance and hopes that she never has to deal with him again. At this, Gannayev asks how she can really be so happy to get rid of him when most of the dreams he's sneaked a peek at involve them making sweet, sweet, passionate love.
- In DMFA, all Cubi are naturally mindreaders. (technically 'thoughtreaders': in DMFA canon, 'mindreading' is intentionally searching through a target mind's memories, not just picking up on current thoughts). Some beings think they can scare away Cubi by intentionally thinking dirty thoughts for them to read. This doesn't work, though, as 'Cubi' is short for "Incubi and Succubi"-and a being attempting to out-dirty a race whose very name comes from supernatural seducers would have to get pretty inventive. It can be inverted, however: think of something boring or make it appear that your mind's not safe to read.
- A halfling in Mind Flayed protects herself from a mind flayer by responding to its telepathy with thoughts of "hot uncensored tentacle sex." This is doubly traumatic for a species with facial tentacles.
- This is bound to happen in Think Before You Think, since Brian can't turn off his mind-reading, but it becomes 10 times worse if Brian's thoughts are also projected. He talks about it here.
- In Madoka Abridged, Madoka surprises Sayaka with Kyubey's mind-reading:
Madoka: (telepathy) I just realized I can speak into your brain too, 'cause Kyubey's here!
Sayaka: So, can you... read my mind?
: Um, maybe. I'll try it. Here goes... (beat
) What the!? Sayaka, you pervert!
Sayaka: Hey, what did you see!? Dammit, Madoka, if you tell anyone...
Hitomi: Eeew, you guys are acting gay, I'm leaving. (runs)
Madoka: Great, now she thinks I'm gay, too.
- In Berserk Abridged, Griffith worries about this happening with the God Hand and sings the Meow Mix theme song in his mind before they assure him that they're used to this happening. Then they actually read his mind and are absolutely disgusted at the thoughts going on in his head.
- In Yin Yang Yo, the Nightmaster's female minion Ella Mental has telepathy. After she reads Yin's mind she shouts, "She can read minds?", Yo then smiles and immediately receives a black eye from her and comments, "That would be a yes."