Alice is not normally attracted to Bob, but because she feels sorry for him, she sleeps with him. May or may not be played for laughs. More likely to happen if the one who takes pity is an Ethical Slut
. Could lead to a Friends with Benefits
situation. Another version of the trope plays out when a prostitute is hired out of similar motives (pity sex by proxy). The G-rated version would be the Pity Makeout.
Usually establishes the one being taken pity on as something of a loser
, while portraying the one taking pity in a positive light (especially in the by-proxy examples). Usually tends to be a once-off event rather than an on-going relationship, so do not expect a Relationship Upgrade
to take place. Can also be used to establish the sexual mores of the characters by showing pity as enough of a reason to have sex, so one of the characters could be an Ethical Slut
, Good Bad Girl
or a Chivalrous Pervert
. If this is something that is normal in a society, or not out of place, maybe the setting is a Free-Love Future
. Might be prefaced by someone invoking You Need to Get Laid
, especially in the by proxy version of the trope. Compare or Contrast Sex for Solace
, a type of Pity Sex
that deals with emotional trauma from a tragedy
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Anime and Manga
- In the hentai manga Slut Girl, Sayoko cons Satoru out of a lot of money. When he learns he's been conned he is so distraught that Sayoko takes pity on him and they have sex. But she is so impressed by his sexual stamina that they end up becoming Friends with Benefits.
- Yunoshin from the first arc of Ooku was known for this. The only son of a middle-class (at best) samurai household in Tokugawa-era Edo generations after an endemic man-killing plague took root in Japan; he is hopelessly in love with his longtime neighbor O-nobu, would sooner clean sewers than sell his services (despite having the looks, health, and bloodlines to command a decent 'stud fee'), and frequently tries to get unattractive, dirt-poor women with child just for the asking.
- In Empire State, Sara describes a date with a very unattractive man that ended with the two of them making out, partly because she felt sorry for him and partly because she didn't want him to think she was shallow.
Sara: But I felt so bad for him, Jimmy. He looked so sad. I guess I just didn't want to treat him the same way every other woman does. ... Long story short, Brent calls the next day for a second date, but my guilt had been assuaged by that point so I broke it off.
Jimmy: What a tease.
Sara: Whatever, dude. That make-out session probably got him through the rest of his thirties. He should be happy overall.
- In the notorious Sins Past story arc, Spider-Man's late girlfriend Gwen Stacey was revealed to have gotten pregnant after pity sex with Norman Osborn aka the Green Goblin. Editor-in-chief Joe Quesada thought this more acceptable than the original plot, which would have made Peter Parker the father of Gwen's twins.
- A variation accurs between Rogue and Magneto in the aftermath of the Age of X storyline when Rogue becomes torn between her feelings for Gambit and Magneto. Gambit states that she has to be ready for him for good before he could be with her again, and that he would be waiting for her when she is ready. After Rogue confronts Magneto about his past, he has a change of heart and tells her that becoming involved with him was a bad idea and that she should return to Gambit. However, Rogue has a change of heart of her own and decides to go with her feelings for one night of passion with Magneto, nothing more, noting:
"Most people want the things they know are gonna turn out to be bad for them."
- Zig-Zagged in The Life Of David Gale. When Constance reveals she's dying of leukemia, David asks if she has any regrets. She tells him she would have had more sex. When he asks how many partners she's had, she thinks, then holds up four fingers. He asks if she wants to "complete the hand." Her response is an incredulous "A pity lay?" He then tells her it wouldn't be pity. Not quite Sex for Solace, either. David seems to genuinely care for Constance, although she doesn't seem to be all that attracted to him. Perhaps the pity is on her part, as he's just been divorced and fired.
- In the Vorkosigan Saga, Miles spends a year on Beta Colony at age 15. He has hopes for unlimited possibilities for sex, but finds that half of those interested (not many) are good Samaritans, and found that he "did not care to be an object of charity".
- Averted in Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. Jubal Harshaw believes that any of his three secretaries would probably have sex with him out of pity, but he himself is too proud to accept such charity.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: Averted with Sansa. She is fully aware that her total rejection on their wedding night is pretty much killing Tyrion, since it's a confirmation of one of his biggest fears, that his disability means that no woman will ever be attracted to him of her own free will. She feels very bad for him... which just makes the prospect of sleeping with him even less attractive. Even that is subverted in that we see from his perspective that he's actually relieved to have the excuse not to sleep with her, since he finds the circumstances of their marriage and her young age distasteful.
Live Action TV
- On American Dad!, Hayley needs a favor from her brother Steve. The price is admitting that Steve might one day get a long-time female friend to have "awkward pity sex" with him once.
- Lana has sex with Pam after taking pity on her in the first season finale of Archer.
- Leela and Zapp on Futurama, and there's a suggestion that he uses this intentionally to make women sleep with him.
- In Drawn Together Xandir, who is Camp Gay, "tosses a mercy-fuck" to Hollywood Pudgy Toot. He clearly didn't enjoy it.
- In an episode of The Simpsons, Barney's high school sweetheart returns to Springfield, and she is a successful journalist. She doesn't see them being together again, but she does give him pity sex while he flies a helicopter.
By Proxy Examples
- Many of the gags in The 40-Year-Old Virgin revolve around Andy's friends misguided attempts to get him laid, including taking him speed-dating and hiring a prostitute who turns out to be a transvestite.
- Subverted (or maybe zig-zagged) in A Song of Ice and Fire. Tyrion's first sexual experience is with a woman who seems to just love him for who he is. Then it turned out that his brother Jaime hired a prostitute to play the part of Tyrion's loving girlfriend. Then it turned out that that was a lie Tywin forced Jaime to tell Tyrion — the woman wasn't a prostitute and really did just love Tyrion for himself.
- In Devdas after learning that he cannot be with Paro anymore, the titular character's friend introduces him to a High-Class Call Girl named Chandramukhi, in an attempt to cheer him up.
Live Action TV
- In The Big Bang Theory, Leonard and Raj hire a prostitute for Howard on a trip to Las Vegas that happens right after Leslie Winkle breaks up with him, though any sex that might ensue is glossed over.
- The pity sex by proxy happens in Boston Public; a romantically starved character discovers that his hot new girlfriend who actually seems to get him is in fact a prostitute hired by his wealthy brother. He didn't react well. (The 'girlfriend' was under the impression that the man already knew that he was getting "the girlfriend experience" and broke character at the wrong time.)
- The other cops hire a hooker for Renko's birthday in Hill Street Blues, and he was pissed when he caught on.