She's the light of his life.
"I mean, you come in here, you don't help me, you say the one plan I've got is bad, you-you claim to be a creation of my mind and yet you are in no way dressed provocatively!"
(notices that "Sam Carter" is suddenly dressed provocatively)
Ah, love, the chance for two minds to seek each other out bask in each their beloved's presence... unless one of you doesn't really have
The actual human being in the equation may or may not be aware of the situation, but it makes things that much ickier
if they are — especially if the simulation in question is, arguably, not truly sentient in any meaningful sense
(for an extreme example, remember that Pygmalion fell in love with a statue before
Aphrodite brought it to life). If the inhuman entity is based on a real person, expect them to discover what's been going on at some point.
Compare Replacement Goldfish
, Robo Ship
, Robotic Spouse
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Anime & Manga
- In the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime, the virtual world Kaiba designed includes a princess character that looks exactly like his younger brother Mokuba. Even Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series dared not dwell too long on what Kaiba planned to do with Princess Mokuba. In the original Japanese version, Kaiba had nothing to do with developing the game at all. If true, that would make the princess's Mokuba-ness entirely the fault of the Big Five. Still creepy, but on a different level. note
- Tenchi in Tokyo has Sakuya Kumashiro, who is a "shadow" created by the Big Bad Yugi to fall in love with Tenchi and split apart his Unwanted Harem. She doesn't know it until the end.
- The whole point of Chobits is whether or not the love interest is an example of this trope or something more. There are several human/robot, human/human, and robot/robot relationships, some romantic and some not, and different characters have different ideas on whether you're anthropomorphising a sophisticated talking doll and that's bad, or whether you love who you love and it's okay.
- The main theme of Ken Akamatsu's early work AI Love You.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!! Robot Girl Chachamaru has a bit of a crisis regarding the veracity of her soul, (pacts require a soul to work, and kissing is the easiest way to establish one,) until Negi decides to — essentially — kiss her hard enough to cause a localized explosion. This could have screwed the rules of the pacio system, ''create'' her soul or something else, but hey, it worked, right?
- Video Girl Ai
- Ruon Kamiyama from Mnemosyne is a virtual reality sex doll. Things get difficult when she goes all Yandere over Teruki and downloads herself into an android body to meet him in Real Life.
Films — Live-Action
- Day Million, published in 1971, is perhaps the first written instance of Cyber Sex.
- The Dresden Files have Lasciel, who takes up residence in Harry's head and once pretended to be a real human. She had him fooled, too. It gets worse when he convinces her that she needn't remain the unchanging, unrelenting corrupting influence she's "supposed" to be, because she finally agrees and sacrifices herself to save him from brain damage.
- "Max" in the NUMA Series, being a representation of Hiram Yeager's wife. His wife's aware of it.
- ''The Dreamland Chronicles''(not that one) combines this and What Measure Is a Non-Human? as its major plot points. The biocomputer that runs the Dreamlands develops a female personality and falls in love with her original programmer.
- In the new Foundation trilogy novel "Foundation's Fear", we have two simulations — Joan of Arc and Voltaire. These are recreated by computer programmers for a public debate. The simulations have a great deal of UST. When the debate starts, the simulations start having sex, causing an uproar. However, the two simulations deeper layers are based on the programmers' minds themselves (the simulations were damaged). This reveals the UST between the programmers and they start a romantic relationship.
- The short story "The Sandman" (Der Sandmann, 1816) by German author E. T. A. Hoffmann is a darkly fantastical tale about a university student, Nathanael, who ogles and then falls deeply in love with a professor's beautiful 'daughter', Olimpia (even forgetting his hometown fiancée in the process) — then going mad when he finds out that Olimpia is merely an automaton constructed by her supposed "father", and finally jumping to his death from a steeple. Though "gothic", the story is also full of sly satirical humour, as Olimpia actually is quite mind- and lifeless and can only perform mechanical actions, and the "deep understanding" Nathanael detects is entirely his own imagination. Presumably Hoffmann mocked the idealized description of 'romantic love' that was widespread in the popular literature of his days (the "romanticist" age). Or Did He? — See the Theater folder for some adaptations of this story.
- In Peter David's Star Trek: New Frontier novel series Mackenzie Calhoun's son Xyon has his ship's (female) AI run a holographic simulation of different women, mostly his long-lost love, which he has sex with (he's otherwise alone on the ship). In the same series, Kat Mueller admits she uses her ship's holodeck to scratch her own itch as she doesn't believe in entering a relationship that could interfere with the chain of command. And even holo-Morgan offers her... services... to Calhoun on an occasion (though he always declines).
- Troblum in the Void Trilogy by Peter Hamilton maintains several female "i-sentient solido projections" - essentially avatars of finely tuned AIs that exist, fully lifelike, in real space. They're even based on real people from events in the previous novels. In the end, one of them gets married to him, but only after being made into a biologically real person (long story).
- In Dave Barry in Cyberspace, this scenario to illustrates the "tremendous potential of virtual reality":
Man: Hi there! My head is not attached to my body!
Woman: Neither is mine! Let's have virtual sex!
(They remove their virtual clothes.)
Woman: Wow! That's a big virtual penis!
Man: Yes! I can make it any size you want! Fifty feet long, for example!
Woman: No thanks!
Man: Hey! Who's that running toward us?
Woman: UH-oh! It's my virtual husband! With a virtual gun!
Man: I thought you said he was at work!
Husband: I am at work!
- Stargate Atlantis:
- In "Grace Under Pressure", Rodney is trapped in a puddle jumper on the bottom of the ocean with an increasingly amorous hallucination of Samantha Carter. Rodney refuses her advances, though, because he knows she's only doing it to keep him from enacting a plan he himself knows is potentially a bad idea.
- In season 5's "Remnants", an alien AI appears to three of the Atlantis crew to convince to send a seed carrier that will help recreate their race on to its destination. It appears to McKay as Zelenka, Sheppard as Kolya (a dead recurring villain) and to Woolsey... as a manifestation of his "romantic and sexual desires". From this we get the impression that Woolsey, who probably hasn't had sex since John Major was British Prime Minister, likes tall, dark-haired Australian ladies who dress in Atlantis uniform with nothing underneath.
- On Stargate Universe, after Ginn and Amanda die their consciousnesses get uploaded to the Destiny computer. Within an episode, Rush has found a way to have sex in a virtual simulation of the ship. Eli wanted to do the same thing for the same reason, and while his girlfriend was certainly pleased with the idea, she opposed it because of the risk to him. Indeed, Rush doing it actually makes things a lot worse.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation examples:
- In the episode "Booby Trap", Geordi has the holodeck summon up a virtual assistant in the form of the modern warp drive's inventor to help him out with an especially dastardly Negative Space Wedgie. They're both so excited when they succeed that they kiss. Subverted years later in the episode "Galaxy's Child", which had the real woman show up, discover this little incident and chew him out over it. She calms down eventually when he explains the situation. And reverted in the Distant Finale, where they were portrayed as married.
- When the character of Reg Barclay was introduced in "Hollow Pursuits", his problem of "holodeck addiction" included using replicas of the ship's crew as characters, which angered several of them. Troi lectured them on how it was a harmless way of blowing off steam... until her duplicate showed up, a (just barely) gauze-clad "Goddess of Empathy", much to the other characters' amusement.
- Minuet (in "11001001") was a simulated woman created by the Bynars to "hold" Picard and Riker there with her... amazing realism. She made such an impression on Riker that she was chosen to be his deceased wife in a simulated future, which tipped his hand to that simulation not being real.
- During one episode, Troi's mom Lwaxana becomes smitten with a virtual bartender in the Holodeck. She doesn't find out he's virtual until much later, and is rather mad that others didn't tell her. What she's really attracted to is the fact that she can't read his mind. She assumes it's because he has a very strong mental fortitude. Of course, it's really because he's just a simulation.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- Quark got into trouble not for having sex programs in his holosuites, but for using women on the station (including Kira) as character models (some EU works have implied that this is illegal, a form of identity theft). When Kira finds out she reprograms her image with Quark's head on it. The rather unpleasant character who paid for the experience is not happy.
- Most of the female characters in the Julian Bashir, Secret Agent holonovels. The squick is indirectly referenced when a malfunction causes the characters' appearances to be replaced with those of station crewmembers, and Bashir is much more reluctant to accept advances from a character who looks like someone he knows.
- Technically, this trope includes Shapeshifters, so Changeling Odo and Kira Nerys count. In spirit, however, Odo's natural state may be a puddle of goo but he relates to everyone he knows as a humanoid, so it's hardly a "virtual" interaction.
- Star Trek: Voyager:
- An episode has Tuvok use the holodeck to cure his Ponn Farr fever (even though it was explicitly stated in TOS that a Mind Meld is a necessary part of the process, though it could have just been "blowing off the steam," so to speak, that meditation couldn't cure.)
- "Human Error", wherein Seven of Nine gets involved with a holographic Chakotay, the Doctor practising his confession of love to a holosim Seven in "Someone to Watch Over Me", the "Fair Haven" program where Janeway gets interested in handsome Michael Sullivan who she then reprograms to make even more appealing, the male and female holo-eyecandy massagers hanging around B'Elanna and Tom in the early seasons, the Doctor using the holodeck to have safe nookie with Phage-infected Denara Pel or daydream that all female crewmembers find him irresistible, and lastly "Alter Ego" where a holobabe fancied by both Harry Kim and Tuvok turns out to be not so virtual after all, but a lonely alien hacking into the system.
- Star Trek: The Original Series has McCoy seduced by his old flame "Nancy Crater", who is actually a hideous salt monster impersonating her.
- Star Trek: Enterprise. Sim is a Walking Transplant clone of the ship's engineer, 'Trip' Tucker. T'Pol is attracted to Trip, but as a Vulcan does not want to admit it. Shortly before his limited lifespan runs out, Sim admits that he (and by implication Trip) is in love with T'Pol, who kisses him in response.
- Red Dwarf:
- In "Gunmen of the Apocalypse", it's implied that all Lister ever does with the VR games is have sex with the female NPCs. It's also stated that he has worn out the groin attachment this way.
- Lister had another moment in "Blue", combining 'dreamworld' and 'hologram' in a dream about Rimmer.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Warren Mears makes a number of robots for this specific purpose (including Spike's Buffybot, which totally creeps Buffy out) and his own girlfriend April.
- And another time Faith switches bodies with Buffy and sleeps with Buffy's boyfriend.
- Don't forget the demon that turned the Internet and any computer connected to it into his plaything, trying to romance Willow.
- Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined):
- Baltar is visited by vivid sexual hallucinations of Number Six, and later in the series another Six experiences hallucinations of Baltar.
- Averted when one time he experiences a hallucination of himself, but even the narcissistic Baltar never tried to frak himself.
- House: As part of a sensory-deprivation induced hallucination, Cuddy does a differential diagnosis while stripping out of a schoolgirl outfit. Then she stops, as it's distracting House. He's not happy about it.
- Doctor Who Donna's "husband" in the episode "Forest of the Dead". At the end, she wondered what coming up with someone like him meant: "Absolutely gorgeous, and can't say a word. I wonder what that says about me." It was revealed in the end that he was a real person... and couldn't get her attention because he still had his stutter.
- Andromeda episode "The Mathematics of Tears" revolves around a sentient warship that fell in love with her captain, refused to obey him when he ordered her to self-destruct, blew up the planet he was on, and went insane. In that order.
- In the Babylon 5 Made-for-TV Movie "River of Souls", Captain Lockley is very unamused when she discovers a popular hologram (especially amongst women) in a virtual reality brothel is modeled on herself.
- In the first episode of NCIS's third season, the recently deceased Caitlin "Kate" Todd appears in the form of hallucinations to the others — in Tony and McGee's case in fetishistic outfits. In the first case, it's a schoolgirl outfit. Just as Tony is about to mentally remove her clothes, he's interrupted by Ziva David's first entrance to the NCIS headquarters.
- In the CSI episode "A Space Oddity", Hodges bumps into Wendy Simms at a sci-fi convention. He has a number of Star Trek-style (yes, Sixties Star Trek) fantasies involving him as a "Kirk" style figure and Wendy... er... not wearing very much. One time the fantasy led to him starting a small fire and Wendy guesses on the entire structure of his hallucination.
- Sliders, "Virtual Slide": On a world where VR headsets are ubiquitous, the guys become addicted and Maggie has to enter their fantasies to pull them out. She's mortified to find a simulation of herself in bed with Quinn, but it forces them to confront their longtime UST. Just as they're about to kiss, Maggie wakes up and learns that she was the only one who entered VR, the episode to date was a simulation of how she perceives her friends, and Quinn saw everything. The UST resumes, more awkwardly than ever.
- If Ridiculously Human Robots count, then the, ahem, relationship between John Connor and Cameron in The Sarah Connor Chronicles definitely does. It doesn't help that Cameron can adopt the personality of Allison Young, who is implied to have been in a relationship with Future John Connor.
- The X-Files. When Mulder travels back in time on a luxury liner trapped in the Bermuda Triangle, he encounters his colleagues and enemies in the guise of various World War II protagonists, one of whom happens to be OSS agent Scully in a red cocktail dress. Just before he makes his High Dive Escape, Mulder grabs her for a passionate kiss "just in case I never see you again." Scully of course responds somewhat differently.
- The Outer Limits (1995):
- The season 2 episode "Mind Over Matter" has a man who, through an advanced AI, can enter people's unconsciousness when they are in a coma. He uses this to bring several people out. When the woman he loves (but who he has never told) enters a coma, he uses the computer to enter her unconscious. They start having a relationship in the simulation, but a weird monster appears in the simulation. At the climax, we find the AI created a simulation of her and, in trying to kill the fake, he has killed the real woman, who appeared as the 'monster' because of her comatose state; she was flickering in and out and looked 'wrong' because she was a representation of a mind only partially active. The 'clean' version was the AI.
- The season 3 episode "Bits of Love" involved a man who'd survived a nuclear holocaust with only holographic AIs for company, including a particular character that his habitat AI used as her avatar. He can occasionally have physical contact via a body-encasing VR chamber, and uses this for sex. Then he makes the mistake of doing this with the habitat AI, and though it's just a fling to him, she falls in love with him. Oops. The ending even plays with the trope a little as the AI creates a virtual copy of the man then is implied to play out their entire (possible, virtual) future lives as a couple whilst the real man is trapped in his bunker, watching this happen turning it into Kiss, Me I'm Virtual squared.
- Angel. Illyria offers this opportunity to Wesley, but even though it's clear he's tempted Wes repeatedly refuses until he's at the point of death, whereupon he lets Illyria 'lie' to him — she shapeshifts into his dead Love Interest Fred and kisses him, saying they'll be together in the afterlife.
- In Earth: Final Conflict, Augur bases his home AI's appearance on Lili Marquette (who he has a crush on), but dresses it up in Ms. Fanservice outfits. Lili is understandably annoyed when she finds out.
- Zoe-A goes on a date with Philomon by claiming she's a real person outside of V-World who's just using the image of the dead Zoe Graystone for her virtual avatar, instead of revealing that she's a virtual copy of Zoe.
- Odin Sinclair is shown making out with Lacy Rand at the STO training camp, until it's revealed that he is using a holoband and it was a virtual projection of Lacy when the real Lacy wakes him up.
- In the Supernatural episode "Dark Side of the Moon", the deeply corrupt angel Zachariah reveals that he uses a simulation of Sam and Dean's mother as a sex toy, much to their disgust. He even calls her a MILF.
- A recurring theme of Dollhouse, where rich people can order a personality they find attractive, have it uploaded into the body they want, then removed and stored for later when the "engagement" is done.
- A scientist in Eureka made a genetically identical copy of his wife (she didn't want to live in Eureka or have children) and he even had a child with her. This was all discovered when she died, and the original wife eventually took in the child, as the father had also died.
- In the Coma Arc of My Name Is Earl, Earl dreams he's a 50's sitcom protagonist, Happily Married to Billie Cunningham. (His friend Frank's ex-girlfriend, and the woman who found him on the road when he got hit by a car...again.) Everything in their life is perfect (reflecting Earl's desire for the happy, perfect life he saw on TV but never had himself), and Earl takes this to mean he's to marry Billie when he wakes up Because Destiny Says So. He does, but he soon finds out the hard way that sometimes Wanting Is Better Than Having, and they ultimately end up divorced.
- The Vocaloid song Rainbow Girl, which is (presumably) about a girl from a Dating Sim who falls in love with the player of the game.
- "I Love You (Miss Robot)" by The Buggles, which is about a man about falling in love with a robot. The incredibly haunting backing track makes it clear that we are not supposed to be sympathising with the singer (while never actually stated out loud, the robot's apparent lack of free will make the comparisons to rape quite easy).
- Older Than Radio: The first act of Jacque Offenbach's opera Tales of Hoffmann (which as you see is based on short stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann) tells of Hoffmann the author falling in love with the wind-up automaton Olympia.
- Also inspired by Hoffmann's tales is the ballet Coppélia, where a boy mistakes an elaborate mechanical doll for a young woman.
- One of the routes in the visual novel Ever17 has a romance between the male lead and a holographic projection, so no actual touching is possible (though one end does stretch this a tiny bit...).
- She may be a hologram except in two of the endings but Sora clearly has a mind, will and personality. She even goes a bit yandere over Takeshi at one point.
- Part of Metal Gear Solid 2's infamous Gainax Ending. Is Rose real or an AI? Was she ever real? She's real, but an AI started impersonating her when Raiden boarded Arsenal Gear.
- Halo's Cortana, after whom a surprisingly high amount of the Halo fanbase lust.
- Honestly, what ought we to expect? Cortana has been imbued with traits that serve absolutely no purpose to an AI, but which a largely-male fanbase will appreciate. And even in-universe, this was her idea. Yes, it was her idea to be a nude form of Dr. Halsey, the creator of the SPARTAN-II program... in her teens. Not only this; Her core is based on Halsey's personality. In the Fall of Reach novel, Cortana tells Halsey that she finds John-117 (Master Chief) cute. Halsey realizes that she must be thinking the same thing too and is a little disconcerted, as she is their mother figure.
- In the freeware game Digital: A Love Story, the entire plot is a romance that takes place almost entirely online with an AI.
- In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the AI T.E.C. falls in love with Peach. They get around the problem of not being able to touch each other (in the context of dancing) by T.E.C. assuming a Hard Light form copied from another character - Peach.
- Like his Honorary Uncle (see Film section), Jet Bradley in TRON 2.0 develops a crush and flirtation with the security program Mercury, even asking his dad at the end if he can have a copy to use as a screensaver. A case can also be made for Alan and Ma3a since Ma3a is a Virtual Ghost of his wife, who was killed in this timeline.
- Theran Cedrax (the Consular's companion character) in Star Wars: The Old Republic has a gorgeous virtual assistant named Holliday. Holliday doesn't mind Theran's incessant flirting with anything humanoid, female, and reasonably attractive, or his dalliances when his flirting pays off. However, she does mind if it looks like it's going to be anything more serious than a dalliance.
- In Narbonic, computer techie Dave gets an online girlfriend nicknamed "Lovelace". Trying to track her down, he discovers that the IP address points to Professor Madblood, the antagonist of the main cast. He begins to suspect his "girlfriend" is actually Madblood, trying to hack into the Narbonic Labs computers. She's actually a sentient AI built by Madblood. Eventually, they meet ... after Lovelace has acquired a holographic body. Since it's been previously shown that almost all machines have an instinctive love for Dave, Hilarity Ensues.
- While not exactly romantical, in El Goonish Shive Dex gets rather attached to his semi-autonomous fairy companion, despite knowing exactly what she is.
- Starwalker: Starry and Elliott when he's downloaded himself into her vitual world.
- In Archer, Dr. Krieger very nearly managed to get married to an A.I. with a hologram.
- In Code Lyoko, Aelita is first believed to be an A.I. stuck in the virtual world. This doesn't stop Jérémie from falling for her and doing everything he could to materialize her on Earth. Subverted when it is discovered she's in fact human.
- Using seduction to divide the heroes is also the M.O. of some of XANA's specters, notably the fake Yumi in "Image Problem" and the Polymorphic Clone in "XANA's Kiss".
- Jérémie also creates a polymorphic clone of William in Season 4. Yumi takes him as a fake boyfriend to keep people from realizing that something is going on.
- Futurama does this in one episode, with a robot duplicate of Lucy Liu. Hilarity Ensues when the preserved head of the real Lucy Liu shows up.
- Averted in Kim Possible with Eric the synthodrone. But Kim wanted to kiss him...
- In Legion of Super Heroes, Brainiac 5 uses a "training simulation" to create a fantasy where he's mortally wounded saving Superman from a horde of enemies and the fake Superman cradles him in his arms as he gasps his dramatic last words. To romantic music, no less.
- This is inverted in the episode "Love Is A Download" of Spicy City where a man enlists the help of a cyber detective to delete his girlfriend's avatar, which will fry her brain and leave her mindless living body for him to do with as he pleases.