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My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That

"Hey, I have heat sensors. I know what you were thinking when she gave you that smile..."
Talking Gadgetmobile, Inspector Gadget

Unresolved Sexual Tension is always fun when played for laughs and amusement. Two characters are totally into each other but it's never acknowledged, just heavily implied.

That is, until a character with some form of Super Senses comes into the picture.

See, Super Senses let you see things like body temperature, pheromone levels, or simply a better ability to read body language. And what can you infer from those signs? Why, UST of course. This person just proclaimed for all to hear that one character is attracted to the other, or two characters are attracted to each other. Usually causes embarrassment on the part of the other characters and everyone tries to ignore it for the sake of awkwardness. It can be seen as a form of lampshading the UST.

Usually the character announces this innocently, due to not being aware of This Thing You Call Love. Sometimes, though, they're deliberately trying to play The Matchmaker or just amusing themselves at the aroused person's expense.

Of course, it doesn't always have to be UST. Sometimes it's a one-way Love Interest, or just simply sexual attraction because, well, it's what the sensors indicated.

Frequently phrased in Spock Speak. Also, compare Dirty Mind-Reading (for telepathic examples) and Or Are You Just Happy to See Me? (for examples where arousal is readily evident without the need for special senses).


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • Chachamaru does this to some who's trying to deny their attraction to Negi. Chachamaru even offers to replay a video of it.
    • Of course, Chachamaru's creator does this to Chachamaru herself by looking through her memory files and finding a folder full of pictures of Negi.
    • In first episode of Shin Negima, class rep is strutted by an array of sensors indicating body temperature, heartbeat rate, etc. Result? Obviously in love.
  • Subverted in one early episode of Ah! My Goddess: Belldandy senses a sudden increase in Keiichi's heart rate and temperature when he's stressing out over whether to tell her he loves her, and immediately concludes that he's coming down with an illness. Well, the poor schmuck ''is'' lovesick.
  • Migi of the manga Parasyte comments to the hero about this. Of course, everyone's right hand knows what they want, it's just that for most people it can't talk. It wouldn't be so bad if it didn't manifest its knowledge of his desires by morphing into a giant penis.
  • In Love Hina, Motoko experiences physiological symptoms of love around Keitaro, much to her dismay. Turns out to just be the flu. At least in the anime, it comes across as ambiguous, or perhaps as a combination of the two. It's certainly that way in the manga as well, what with her Suspiciously Specific Denial.
  • Funniest line in Chobits is said by Chi: "Pervert! Hideki is a pervert!" In one translation, that line (mostly, being reassigned to Hideki compels her to call him "my master") is also given to Sumomo/Plum.
  • Ren from DearS can tell when she's arousing her master. (And, of course, she's completely ready to hop in bed with him.)
  • Future GPX Cyber Formula: Even though Asurada doesn't really know or care of any love-related conflict around Hayato, Asuka, and Randoll, he still detects his partner's heart rate increasing by 1.2 times and demands to know what a kiss is.
  • Urusei Yatsura: Kuruma's 'spiritual make up' machine was supposed to reveal what made Ataru's personality so rotten but it inadverently ended up doing this. Out of all the women he obviously lusts after the machine says that he loves Lum the most. Then it said he loved Shinobu the most. Then it blew up. Apparently, who Ataru wanted to tap the most created a Logic Bomb.
  • In Uchuu Kyoudai, JAXA staff notice that Mutta's heartrate increases while interacting with Serika. Hoshika, knowing what's causing it, tells them to ignore it.

    Comic Books 
  • From Ms. Marvel: "I analyze your every word, identifying subconscious speech patterns that betray your poorly hidden lust for my rock-hard robot body." — Aaron Stack, the ☠☠☠☠-ing Machine Man.
  • In X-Men: Kingbreaker, when Korvus hurts himself in battle, his "healbot" from the Shi'ar world senses that "his body temperature and heart rate has increased" as he watches Rachel Summers with whom he had a fling. Korvus responds with a definitive "shut up," as he is embarrassed by the robot's intuitive perceptions.
  • In Empowered, the Caged Demonwolf has this role.
  • In Blue Beetle (New 52), the Scarab can sense Jaime's metabolic arousal. It sensed his arousal once when he was around his friend Brenda and again when Red Lantern Bleez pounced on him.

    Fan Works 
  • Many a Naruto fanfic has explored this with the Hyuuga. Since they have the Byakugan they are taught to pick up on body language, heart rate, using eyes to analyse someone and tones of voice. NO. MATTER. HOW. SUBTLE.
    • Naruto:Arashiodori has Hiashi at dinner with his family and Naruto. He then gives a rather amusing overview of Naruto's various reactions to a grown-up Hinata rather subtly flirting and seducing Naruto.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In one of the Not Quite Human movies, Ridiculously Human Robot Chip is able to tell that his human sister has a crush on a guy at school.
    Becky: What makes you think I like him?
    Chip: Your skin flushed, your breathing rate changed, and your body temperature rose two degrees.
    Becky: Three degrees means I like him, two degrees just means... I think he's okay.
    Chip: Oh. Well, his body temperature rose three degrees. Does that mean he likes you?
  • In Transformers, Sam obviously has a crush on Mikaela. But when the Autobots show up, Ratchet sniffs, then delivers the precious line, "The boy's pheromone levels suggest that he wants to mate with the female." Cue poor Sam looking like he wants to die.
  • In the romantic comedy Just Like Heaven, when the guy is visiting the owner of a Pagan-esque shop to see if he can get Reese Witherspoon to stop haunting him, Napoleon Dynamite the shop owner can immediately read the auras of both people in the shop — and proceeds to inform them both that they've got some pretty strong feelings for each other! "Righteous."
  • Race to Witch Mountain has Sara (the girl with Psychic Powers) commenting that the Hot Scientist lady found The Rock's character attractive. This, of course, sets him to wondering about it, spacing out for just long enough to let himself get caught by the mobsters chasing him, and for him to lose track of the kids in a crowded casino.
  • The My Favorite Martian movie sets up the friendship of Tim and Lizzie. Early on, circumstances force Martin to take Tim's form so that he can get rid of Lizzie, who showed up at a bad time. He ends up kissing her. Later, Martin reveals that the process of taking Tim's shape caused him to read Tim's unconscious mind and found an attraction to her, which is why he thought kissing her was appropriate.
  • Robin Williams as Andrew Martin in Bicentennial Man uses this in a logical assertion that Portia is attracted to him, saying her pulse and breathing rate have increased, and even that she's putting out pheromones.
  • Johnny English Reborn. The Love Interest is a psychologist who specialises in reading body language. When she and English share an intimate moment he gently spoofs this by listing her emotional indicators (dilated pupils, flushed cheeks, etc) that indicate they're going to kiss.
  • In the Dudley Moore movie Lovesick the ghost of Sigmund Freud (it Makes Sense In Context) reads Dr. Benjamin's new client as being as interested in him as he is in her thanks to dilated pupils, quickened breathing, etc.
  • Spaceballs: After many scenes of bickering, Lone Starr and Princess Vespa are about to reach the "kiss" part of Slap-Slap-Kiss when the sleeping Dot Matrix's "Virgin Alarm" activates, emitting a loud klaxon and ruining the moment.
    Dot: It's a virgin alarm. It goes off before you do.

    Literature 
  • In Eragon, Saphira says something to the effect of "you find her form pleasing," referring to Arya.
  • In Isaac Asimov's The Naked Sun, R. Daneel is suspicious that Elijah is falling for the prime suspect in the murder they're investigating:
    R. Daneel: And though I cannot share human reactions to stimuli, I would judge, from what has been imprinted on my instruction circuits, that the lady meets any reasonable standard of physical attractiveness. From your behavior, moreover, it seems to me that you were aware of it and that you approved of her appearance.
    [...]
    R. Daneel: Are you perhaps being influenced by extraneous motives of your own, Partner Elijah? Mrs. Delmarre is an attractive woman and you are an Earthman in whom a preference for the personal presence of an attractive woman is not psychotic.
  • The Mechanical Horse of the priest protagonist in The Quest for Saint Aquin (a 1951 short story by Anthony Boucher) says something similar when he insists on going back to a bar with an attractive waitress.
  • In the short story "Liar!", the mind-reading robot Herbie can tell when humans have fallen in love, although he doesn't understand how love works. He reads romance novels to try and get some education on the subject.
  • Discworld
    • A vampire named Sally is able to discern Angua and Carrot's feelings for each other by reading their heart rates. Unusual in that this wasn't news to anyone.
    • Gaspode the Wonder Dog can also tell when two humans are attracted, often well before they can. To his way of thinking, human sex can already be going on when the potential mates are sitting on opposite sides of a campfire, steadfastly refusing to speak to one another, as in Moving Pictures. Noted again in The Fifth Elephant.
    • You Bastard, the camel mathematician... ahem, regular camel whose skills aren't really anything special compared to some of the camels whose postulates he uses in his work, can likewise spot a hookup-in-the-making in Pyramids.
  • In the Mercy Thompson books, this trope makes it impossible for homosexual werewolves like Warren to remain in the closet. To make matters worse, werewolves are socially conservative. It's a testament to Warren's fighting skill that he's survived as a gay werewolf for over 150 years.
  • The Sky People by S.M. Stirling. Venusian cave princess Tessa of the Cloud Mountain People knows that Marc Vitrak is attracted to her from his scent. Of course even the fellow members of the Earth expedition can detect this because, as one of them points out, Marc is wearing a loincloth which makes it clear that he's... aroused.
  • Subverted in the Prince Roger series. One of Despreaux's fellow marines monitors her biometrics to know when to send in a Moment Killer to keep her and Roger from getting it on. Oddly enough, this doesn't work on Roger. Nothing raises his heart rate or blood pressure except exertion.
  • The Dresden Files: "Emotionally sensitive" wizards (empaths) such as Molly are capable of this. Also the White Court vampires, due to the nature of their powers.
  • A short story by the Strugatsky Brothers in their Noon Universe features a group of humans called Readers who are able to effortlessly read minds. One of them mentions a scientist who is constantly trying to fill his mind with complex formulas in order to mask his thoughts. The Reader agrees that he has no idea what the formulas mean but understands the attraction the scientist feels towards a pretty female colleague (i.e. what the guy was trying to hide) perfectly.
  • In David Brin's Uplift series, dolphins are able to learn a lot about one another thanks to sonar. Male arousal is obvious to passive sonar, female arousal could only be determined by directed, intentional probing, which is rude.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the episode of Stargate SG-1 entitled "Divide and Conquer," long time maybes Sam and Jack are exposed as liars by an alien lie-detecting device, because when describing an off-world event they did not recount the emotional intensity of the experience. This prompts the eternally ship-supporting line by Jack:
    O'Neill: Because I care about her. A lot more than I'm supposed to.
  • In an episode of Angel, when Illyria meets Connor for the first time, she comments that "This one is lusting after me." Which led to one of the funnier lines of the fifth season, when Connor tells Angel that he's "always had a thing for older women", and Angel mutters "They were supposed to fix that." Illyria also detects Wesley's attraction to the form of Fred.
  • A milder example in Doctor Who, when Rose recognizes the Doc on a screen:
    Dalek Sec: The female's heartbeat has increased!
    Mickey: Yeah, tell me about it.
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • In "Parturition", Neelix attacks Tom Paris over his attraction to Kes. She's convinced he's wrong about this, but when she shares her frustration with the holographic Doctor, he gives her a list of telltale physiological changes he's noticed in Paris when Kes is nearby.
    EMH: Whenever you walk into the room, his respiration increases, his pupils dilate and the coloration of his ears turns decidedly orange. Until I noticed the pattern, I thought he was suffering from Tanzian flu. It's there for anyone to see. Maybe not in the same diagnostic detail as I see it...
    • Later on, Icheb's Borg-enhanced senses lead him to conclude that B'Elanna is attracted to him. She isn't, of course, but she briefly plays along to get him to shut up. (Icheb isn't very good at this — at one point he thinks B'Elanna has some kind of intestinal parasite, only for Seven to inform him we call this particular condition pregnancy.)
    • Happens twice in "Revulsion," in which certain Voyager crewmembers show anything but for each other.
    B'Elanna: Does this mean you're too tired to meet later in my quarters?
    Tom Paris: Are you sure your heart can take it?
    EMH: I'm detecting elevated hormonal levels. If you two don't take it easy I'll have to declare a medical emergency.
    • And of course Seven of Nine's classic comment to Ensign Kim:
    Seven: I may be new to individuality, but I am not ignorant of human behavior. I've noticed your attempts to engage me in idle conversation, and I see the way your pupils dilate when you look at my body.
  • This one gets played around with a LOT in various Star Trek series, usually as a subversion. Take for example in TNG, Lwaxana Troi's frequent insistence that Captain Picard has the hots for her, and Lal's hilarious misinterpretation of human social interaction in Ten-Forward.
  • It goes way back to Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • In "Mudd's Women", where Kirk asks the computer to describe the effect the title women are having on the crew, and it starts to describe the male crewmen (except for Spock) as having increased perspiration, respiration, pulses and so on. Kirk has it struck from the record in an aside.
    • In fact, it goes all the way back to the original pilot "The Cage". Shortly after Number One and Yeoman Colt are beamed down to Talos IV minus the men in the landing party, the Talosian Keeper describes in clinical detail how the two secretly feel about Captain Pike.
    • Dr. McCoy deducing what Spock's Pon Farr is from a medical examination would also count.
  • In Pushing Daisies Napoleon LeNez smells the pheromones that Ned is releasing in the presence of his girlfriend.
  • Werewolves on Teen Wolf can smell a person's arousal or sexual attraction.
  • Cameron, a Terminator in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, only has to observe two secondary characters conversing to get a reading.
    Cameron: She doesn't love you. Not in the way you love her.
  • Used on Sherlock when the titular character realizes that Irene Adler's feelings for him are genuine because he Sherlock Scanned her biological reactions to him (pulse and pupil dilation) on multiple occasions, which allows him to finally figure out the code on the phone.
    • Also used earlier in the episode, when Sherlock deduces that Molly clearly has a crush on someone. Taken to hilarious / heartbreaking levels when the otherwise perspicacious Sherlock completely fails to realise that the person she's crushing on is him.
  • On The Big Bang Theory, Leslie discovers Leonard's attraction to Penny after noticing his pupils dilate.
  • Done on House after House and Cuddy hooked up (maybe). House uses some kind of heat sensor to detect that Cuddy got warmer in his presence and thus is actually attracted to him. Or maybe just angry. Or both.
  • In the Legend of the Seeker episode "Listener" a young mind reader rescued by Richard and Kahlan informs them both that yes, their to-date undisclosed feelings for each other are mutual, which opens an important can of worms.
  • Smallville
    • The episode "Instinct" has Maxima (thanks to her mental powers) tell Lois that she is in love with Clark, and vice-versa, even if they don't know it yet.
    • Zatanna also detected those two. With Magic!
  • Knight Rider.
    • In the original series, KITT generally seems more knowledgeable and sly with his remarks.
    • However, the 2008 reboot KITT is essentially completely naive about the whole process of human relationships, and it is played on pretty heavily in several scenes, mostly between Michael and Sarah, but also a few times between Zoe and Billy.
  • Becomes a major plot element in the Norwegian sf series Blindpassasjer when the alien doppelganger fails to respond "correctly" to the sexual advances of the original's lover (because they are in the wrong location).
  • The 1972-3 series Search (and its pilot film Probe) featured agents who carried tiny scanners that transmitted images, sound and physiological data back to a base station and a crew of monitors. At least one of the agents (all male) was prone to sudden increases in heart rate and like symptoms upon encountering an attractive woman, which was promptly and loudly announced in the control room (and in the hearing of the agent, too, thanks to the comm gear he wore), leading to a number of running jokes. In the earliest episodes, the technician who did this had a distinct jealous streak; eventually, she somehow got out of the control room and ended up as Girl of the Week for one episode, after which she vanished.
  • In season 3 episode 4 of LOST, Sawyer is fitted with a heart monitor with unknown consequences if he reaches 140 bpm. When Kate starts to change nearby, he almost triggers it.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place has a G-Rated Version in "Wizards vs. Werewolves", in which Mason gives Alex a magic pendant that glows when the person wearing it is in love with the person who put it on them.
  • Dorian from Almost Human, who seems to have Matchmaker tendencies in regards to his partner John Kennex, has not only mentioned the possibility of Detective Stahl being attracted to him, but has demonstrated the ability to tell that John has not *ahem* tapped anything recently by noting that John's testicles are filled to capacity.
    John: You scanned my balls?

    Video Games 
  • At the end of Star Fox Adventures, after Krystal comes on board and Slippy teases him about being slightly tongue-tied:
    R.O.B.: My sensors indicate that Fox's temperature is rising. Are you all right, Fox?
    (the organics other than Fox laugh)
    Fox: I'm gonna be just fine.
  • The first Disgaea gave us this lovely quote:
    Multi-Purpose Super Robot Thursday: BEEP BEEP BLIP BEEP...
    GORDON KEEPS STARING AT JENNIFER'S THIGHS. PERVERT PERVERT PERVERT...
  • Planescape: Torment:
    Nordom: I estimate Fall-from-Grace to be found attractive by the male sex of 321,423 separate species. Give or take five.
    Fall-from-Grace: Oh? Does that include modrons?
    Nordom: I am no longer able to answer that question. I do not know.
    • Besdies the fact that Modrons are genderless, the actual reason he can no longer answer that is because he is no longer a Modron.
  • A version in which the one with the sensors, Visas Marr, also wants to tap that comes from Knights of the Old Republic II if you're playing a male character. Also has the standard version, where talking to Kreia will have her advise you against getting intimate with Visas after she joins the party.
  • In Star Control II, the neo-Dnyarri names a couple of your crew members with crushes on you. Then, when you tell them he's been listening in, they start envisioning creative ways of killing the neo-Dnyarri instead. It's hilarious.
  • In StarCraft, Kerrigan before she gets infested, if you click on her enough, will give the phrase "Doesn't take a telepath to know what you're thinking." She even calls Raynor out the first time they meet.
    Kerrigan: Captain Raynor, I've finished scouting out the area and... you pig!
    Raynor: What? I haven't even said anything to you yet.
    Kerrigan: Yeah, but you were thinking it.
    Raynor: Oh, yeah, you're a telepath. Look, let's just get on with this, okay?
  • Inverted in the Sam & Max episode "They stole Max's Brain!"
    Max: Why don't we just cruise for chicks?
    Skun'Ka'Pe: Strange. My scans indicate you don't even like girls.
  • Played with in Mass Effect 2. If you're in a Romance Sidequest with anyone on the ship, salarian doctor Mordin will offer some amusing safe-sex advice. If you're sticking with the LI from the first game (or never had one to begin with) he'll assume you've been hitting on him, interpreting subtle cues (such as the movement of your lower eyelids) as if you were another salarian. "Cross-species body language awkward."
  • Mass Effect 3 has a mild example between Shepard and Javik (the latter has empathic abilities such as touch-telepathy). During his last major conversation on the Normandy, he'll question Shepard about their love interest (if any).
    Javik: You and the human soldier / asari / turian / quarian are...joined?
    Shepard: You could say that.
    Javik: I'm not. Your pheromones are.
    • In the Citadel DLC, EDI reveals that Cerberus outfitted her with sensors to check body language, for example by measuring pupil dilation and thermal readings of erogenous zones. It was the latter that proved that, despite her claims that she was just joking, Specialist Samantha Traynor really wanted to have sex with EDI's voice.
  • In Immortal Souls, the Mad Scientist-ish leader of the Templars tries ordering one of his captive vampires to kill the main character. When she goes easy on him instead, on account of having a mad crush on him, the leader notes that his Power Armor's "sensors detected pheromones release, possibly clouding her judgment".

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Justice League Unlimited
    • In the episode "Far From Home", Green Arrow discusses Brainiac 5's (a descendant of Brainiac from the 30th century) growing attraction to Supergirl:
    Green Arrow: Admit it, genius: you're in love with her.
    Brainiac 5: Ludicrous. We just met. Moreover, as a Coluan, I'm ruled by intellect, not emotion.
    Green Arrow: So in love with her...
    Brainiac 5: Increased sweat gland production... Shortness of breath... Inability to concentrate... I thought it was guilt, but... I am in love! How did you know?
    Green Arrow: Just call me Cupid, junior. I never miss.
    Skeets: Sir, according to my thermal sensor readings of Dr. Simmons, you just missed a prime opportunity to... well, I believe the phrase is, "kiss the girl."
    Booster: Kissing girls is for heroes, Skeets.
  • Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender , a blind girl who can sense vibrations through earth (as well as having pretty good hearing), pulls this when Katara denies having feelings for Jet.
    Toph: (in a singsong voice) I can tell you're lying.
  • A wonderful variation from the The Legend of Zelda cartoon. Zelda has spent the entire series denying that she loves Link. Due to a wacky accident, Link's spirit gets separated from his body, so he and Zelda go on a quest to find his body and pull him together. While everyone can hear his voice, Zelda is the only one who can see him. When Ganon learns this, he mutters that that must mean that she loves him. Link and Zelda overhear this, and Link shouts for joy at this undeniable proof that she does love him — thus giving away their location and starting a fight scene with the bad guys.
  • Daria: "Guys can always tell when other guys are into someone."
  • Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot: An evil A.I. comments to Dr. Slate that her body temperature rises each time it mentions Lt. Hunter, suggesting she either has a crush on him, or the two of them are plotting against it. Both were true.
  • In the Young Justice tie-in comic, the Scarab notes that Wonder Girl causes "bio-chemical" changes in Jaime's system. So far they seem to be Ships That Pass In The Night, despite also being quite popular.

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