Tosca: What is your price?A villain has the hero in his clutches. The only person pleading for the hero is his wife/girlfriend. So the villain says, "I'll release him only if you have sex with me." And now the heroine has to choose whether her love for her husband's well-being overrides her sexual loyalty. Typically, she (or sometimes even he) will agree to the ultimatum, but before the two of them do the deed, a Third Option will present itself, and the sacrifice won't be needed after all. Except if it is used as a premise for an erotic story. The G-rated version of this is "if you marry me" instead of "if you sleep with me", although the one tends to imply the other. And if you think about it, this is actually even more sinister, as marriage is somewhat more permanent than a one-night stand. Needless to say its a very Moral Event Horizon-worthy act. When the wife/sweetheart/sister/daughter/etc. makes the offer, see Please, I Will Do Anything!. If the man is a complete Jerkass, he may shun the wife or girlfriend afterwards, believing her Defiled Forever whatever her intentions. Although treated as rape in most jurisdictions (due to it being essentially a form of Sexual Extortion), it is frequently treated as less serious than this in film. See also Sexual Extortion, Casting Couch, Questionable Consent, I Have You Now, My Pretty and I Have Your Wife. Contrast Lysistrata Gambit, a threat to withhold sex until some demand is met. And yes, the trope name does sounds like a Robert Ludlum title.
Scarpia: They say that I am venal, but it is not for money that I will sell myself to beautiful women. I want other recompense if I am to betray my oath of office...
Tosca: [running toward the window] I'll jump out first!
Scarpia: I hold your Mario in pawn!
Tosca: Oh, wretch! Oh, ghastly bargain...
Scarpia: Tosca, you are too beautiful and too loving. I yield to you. And at a paltry price; You ask me for a life. I ask of you an instant.
Scarpia: They say that I am venal, but it is not for money that I will sell myself to beautiful women. I want other recompense if I am to betray my oath of office...
Tosca: [running toward the window] I'll jump out first!
Scarpia: I hold your Mario in pawn!
Tosca: Oh, wretch! Oh, ghastly bargain...
Scarpia: Tosca, you are too beautiful and too loving. I yield to you. And at a paltry price; You ask me for a life. I ask of you an instant.
— Puccini, Tosca
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Anime & Manga
- In the manga and OVA versions of Area 88, Ryoko tries to sell Yamato Airlines stock to raise money to buy out Shin's contract with a mercenary air force unit. Kanzaki, the former friend who tricked Shin into enlisting in the first place, demands a night with her as part of the deal.
- Daisuke Torakura, the Asshole Victim from a Detective Conan case, got to marry the prettiest girl from a village near his Big Fancy House via this, threatening to ruin her father's business and throw the family into destitution.
- In Mai-Otome, Tomoe does this to an imprisoned Shizuru by lying that Natsuki has also been captured and insinuating that she will help free both of them if Shizuru submits to her advances. However, Shizuru received a smuggled letter from Natsuki before going through with it, so she knew this was a lie and ended up using the event as an opportunity to steal Tomoe's key to her cell. Whether this was before or after the act was left ambiguous — we only see Tomoe passed out in the bed, dressed up as a baby, while an either topless or naked Shizuru is holding the key.
- Happens in the manwha Masca in which the demon lord refuses to lift the spell that will kill the protagonist's beloved mentor/potential love interest unless she sleeps with him.
- In Ooku: The Inner Chambers, the young noble born (and exceedingly comely) Abbot Arikoto is summoned to Edo, granted the use of a guest house by a member of Shogun Iemitsu's staff, and provided with several concubines for entertainment in the hope of catching him violating his priestly vows and forcing him to become the Shogun's bedtoy. When it becomes clear that he plans nothing more than chaste parlor games Kasuga steps the pressure up by having her muscle start killing Arikoto's traveling companions and the prostitutes before his eyes until he caves.
- Urusei Yatsura: Parodied twice:
- In an early story, Ataru was worried because Lum had apparently disappeared. Since Shutaro seemed smug on seeing him alone, Ataru began daydreaming with Shutaro blackmailing Lum in leaving Ataru for him, in exchange for landing Ataru in a first-rate college. Then Ataru yelled "And with that garbage you talked Lum into it, didn't you? Give back her now!" loudly to an angry and puzzled Shutaro genuinely had no idea of what Ataru was talking about.
- In another story, Tomobiki's principal got knocked out while several students were cleaning his office. Onsen Mark suspected of them and started to imagine possible motives to each one of them. Lum's alleged motive was the principal had threatened her with getting Ataru expelled out of school, unless she slept with him. Everyone — including Lum — said that story was stupid and ridiculous.
- It's left out of the dub, of course, but in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Barbara makes this offer to Yusei as an alternative to slavery in the dyne mines. Yusei refuses. (What makes this even more evil is the fact that Lotten - who is later revealed to be her lover - is standing right there and doesn't even mind, but given the type of scum he is, that's hardly surprising.
- Inverted in My Immortal, when Snape threatens to rape Draco if Ebony doesn't kill Vampire (a.k.a. Harry Potter). Of course, considering how it's written...
- In All He Ever Wanted, Prussia doesn't even wait to threaten his rival Austria's beautiful ex-wife Hungary with raping her if she doesn't help him. As the "good" villain he is in the fic, he just brings her into Austria's cell and forces him to watch as he brutally beats, rapes and tortures her "for Austria's sake".
- All You Need Is Love has a male on male example. When Light/Kira goes to L and Naomi Misora for help on a pressing issue L wastes no time in giving this ultimatum:
L: If you're finally going to admit that you're Kira I'll have you know that so far your various futures entail your being my Sex Slave, the government's sex slave, or locked up in some mental institution. Of the three I prefer your being my sex slave but the decision is yours. Or Naomi-chan could shoot you behind the chemical shed, if that's preferable.
- In A Gun to Love's Head Mello demands that Light and L screw each other or he shoots them dead.
- In Yu Gi Oh the Thousand Year Door, this sort of thing turned into a case of Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!. Five-hundred years ago, the original Shadow Spawn of Darkness, Damien, gave this ultimatum to at least one female citizen of Arcadia in the past. (Given who he was related too, he likely did it a lot.) She submitted to him, likely having little choice, but he talked in his sleep, and the victim learned about the Spell of Despair that way, and had the courage to tell someone who told Artorigus. If not for Damien's horrid act, the most vital part of the Shadow Queen's plan would have been kept secret and she likely would have been victorious.)
- Played with but implied. If chapter 4 of Gensokyo 20XXII is to be believed, it is implied that, if she had to, Yukari would perform this as an effort of extracting information from the warden to help the others, as she is the warden's favorite and the warden is infatuated with her. Later on, it becomes apparent that she is likely doing so to ensure none of those close to her are executed and has far worse done to them. It's implied that she did go through with it, not that she was given a choice anyway.
- In the 300 film version, a plot is added where Queen Gorgo is blackmailed into sleeping with The Mole in order to gain his support in convincing the Senate to send the army to reinforce Leonidas. The Mole brutalizes her, and accuses her of adultery in front of the Spartan Senate to turn them against Queen Gorgo. She gets the last laugh by stabbing him, while delivering a ruthless Ironic Echo of the words he said before he raped her. The knife also slits his purse, revealing the Persian gold he was paid to turn traitor, and rallying the Senate behind Leonidas. But, surprisingly, not in time to save him.
- In the Romanian film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Otilia helps her friend Gabita terminate her pregnancy in Ceauşescu-era Romania, when abortion was strictly forbidden. The illegal abortionist they locate, Mr. Bebe, eventually makes it clear that he expects both women to have sex with him as part of his payment. (In partial defense, he had a point that if they were caught, his punishment would have been far more severe than theirs.)
- In the Director's Cut of Amadeus Salieri will recommend a job for the financially desperate Mozart only if his wife agrees to sleep with him.
- This one counts as a subversion, as she reluctantly accepts, but then Salieri immediately calls his servants and orders them to kick her out. Either he changed his mind or he just wanted to humiliate her.
- In the original play, it's also a subversion but for a different reason: in her agreement to his terms, the wife reveals some cringeworthy details of her sex life with obscene manchild Mozart and Salieri is so offended/Squicked by her wording that he throws her out.
- In Back to the Future Part III, Mad Dog drops this one on Doc Brown and Clara. The point is for Clara to dance with Mad Dog to get him to leave Doc alone, but it's as close to lewd as one can get in a gingham dress. Shortly afterward he suggests she have sex with him to cover Doc's debt.
- Barbarella: The Black Queen tries to get the titular heroine to have sex with her by holding her ally Pygar hostage.
- Played with in Black Robe, where a woman agrees to have sex with the villain guarding her, and then she bashes the guard's head in, so that the good guys can escape. And it's all shown very explicitly.
- In Blind Date, after Walter (Bruce Willis) suffers a nervous breakdown due to a combination of the allergy his date Nadia (Kim Bassiger) has to alcohol and her jealous ex-boyfriend David stalking them (an Amoral Attorney and general Jerkass) Walter actually pulls a gun on David and tries to shoot him. After Walter is arrested for attempted murder, David offers to get him off if Nadia agrees to marry him. (This would almost be the G-rated version if he didn't make some very specific terms to go with that). He actually keeps his word, although not via the most legal means. (He shows up in court to defend Walter (a clear case of conflict of interests, as he is the victim of the crime) and promises the judge, who really doesn't like him either, that he'll retire in exchange for letting Walter off easy. Walter is able to get Nadia out of it later with a clever trick, however.
- In Breaking the Waves, Jan urges Bess to find and have sex with other men and tell him the details as it will be as if they are together and will keep him alive. Despite her unwillingness and inner turmoil to be with other men, she perseveres as she believes it is keeping Jan alive.
- In Cape Fear, Max Cady confronts Bowden's wife Peggy on the houseboat and explains how he can legally get away with raping her by describing it as one of these if she reports it.note
Cady: You proposition me. You instead of (daughter) Nancy. And I'll agree never to see you again, all right? Unless, of course, you want it. And that's how you give your consent.Peggy: That's not consent, it's blackmail!Cady: Reasons don't make any difference, you look that up. And as far as blackmail is concerned, you only think I'm going after Nancy. You're just playing it safe. And your husband, he's gonna appreciate your noble gesture, but he ain't never gonna forget it! So, all in all... I don't think you're gonna say too much about this, are you?
- Of course this was never his real intent. Propositioning the wife was just a diversion so he could rape the daughter.
- In Casablanca, there's a scene with a young Bulgarian couple trying to buy passage to Lisbon from Captain Renault. He wants either an enormous sum of money or sex with wifey. In the end, Rick helps them raise the money by letting them win at roulette.
Renault: I'll forgive you this time. But I'll be in tomorrow night with a breathtaking blonde, and it will make me very happy if she loses.
- In contrast to most examples of this trope, Captain Renault apparently always does keep his word, and is willing to take the money if they do happen to have it.
- The Claim employs the Indecent Proposal variation: a world-weary prospector offers a desperate pioneer a lucrative gold claim in exchange for the pioneer's wife and infant daughter (in this case sex with wifey is more implied than stated outright). He accepts, and goes on to build a prosperous mining town, but his past comes back to haunt him when said wife and now-grown daughter return looking for financial support after the prospector died.
- A rather loose variation is implied in Forrest Gump. It is a much lighter example since in that case it is a form of bribery for Forest to be accepted to the school.
Hancock: Your mama sure does care about your schooling, son!
- In Fortress (1992), Karen agrees on one given by Poe, so he will release John from the mindwipe.
- This happens in the remake of The Getaway with Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, who play a couple (literal 'couple') of cat-burglars. The guy had been stuck in a Mexican jail (NOT nice) for a while, and suddenly got released. However, now a crooked cop wants him to pull One Last Job, and the plot starts rolling... anyway, towards the end, the cop betrays them (of course) and in the process reveals that the female half of the couple actually slept with him in order to get her hubby out of prison. He's not happy, but it does work out in the end... which makes it a rare example where it actually went through — albeit 'offscreen.'
- Roman Emperor Commodus in Gladiator performs one of these against his own sister Lucilla near the end. He tries to come on to her earlier in the film, but when she is exposed for conspiring against him with his political enemies Maximus and Senator Gracchus, he decides to give her a "merciful" fate. She has to become his consort, and Commodus takes away her son and threatens to kill the boy if she refuses or takes her own life to spite him. His demand even includes Lucilla having to carry his child so he can establish an eternal dynasty of "pure-blooded" Emperors.
- A version of this happens in the film Gloomy Sunday. Rejection turns some guys into jerks.
- Played for laughs in History of the World Part I. King Louis XVI offers this choice to an attractive young courtesan. If she doesn't have sex with him, he will kill her father as a political prisoner.
King Louis: It's up to you: hump or death? Come on, tick, tock. Hump, death, hump, death, hump, death ...
Courtesan: Okay, okay! Hump!
- Horrible Bosses: Boss #2 is a nymphomaniac. This would be awesome if she were capable of taking no for an answer. And blackmailing her employee to have sex with her with exclusive blackmail. Before his wedding. Lampshaded by his friends; yes it is awesome that your buxom boss willingly wants to have sex with you, no it is not awesome that she is threatening your marriage with Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male.
- Indecent Proposal serves up a variation of this. After a married couple blow their life savings in Vegas, a wealthy businessman offers them a million dollars if the wife will spend one night with him. The couple make a mutual decision to accept his offer.
- The same basic setup is played for laughs in Honeymoon in Vegas (which actually came out a year earlier).
- And parodied in Kingpin, in which three guys are involved, one of whom is Amish, and another is Proposal co-star Woody Harrelson. It turns out to be All Just a Dream.
- Also parodied in The Stinger to an episode of Mad About You, in which an expy of the businessman character makes the same proposal to Jamie. Instead of angst and fear, though, she and Paul casually and quickly accept.
- The titular Villain Protagonist of the Nazi film Jud Süss does this to the Love Interest of one of the film's "heroes," after which his victim drowns herself. This act ultimately leads to his undoing.
- Kull the Conqueror: The previous king forced Zareta to become part of his harem or he'd have her brother executed for heresy by preaching foreign gods.
- In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Elizabeth agrees to go with Sao Feng so that he will spare the crew of the Black Pearl. At this point in time, Sao Feng also happens to think she's the goddess Calypso and expects her to grant him her favor in exchange for freeing her from her human form. When asked what he will do if she chooses not to give her favor, he says that he will take her fury.
- In the first movie, Elizabeth volunteers herself for the And Now You Must Marry Me version of this, agreeing to Norrington's proposal in order for him to rescue Will for her as a "wedding gift." Norrington, though, is not as much of a Big Bad as he seemed at first, and releases Elizabeth from the agreement when he realizes that her heart truly lies with Will.
- Subverted in The Poughkeepsie Tapes: He offers the English woman the chance to live if she lets him rape her. She agrees, but he immediately says he's not that stupid, and that neither of them would want her alive to see what he planned to do to her.
- Happens in The Princess Bride in the form of a And Now You Must Marry Me.
- A variant in Robin Hood: Men in Tights: Marian promises to marry Rottingham if he will spare Robin. The Sheriff has Robin standing at the gallows anyway, just for insurance.
- Inverted at the end when Rottingham is run through. Latrine has a magic pill that will save his lifenote ...but she'll only give it to him if he promises to marry her.
- Done in Slumdog Millionaire, though somewhat strangely. Salim is pointing a gun at Jamal, threatening to kill him, and Latika agrees to sleep with Salim to preempt Jamal's further attempts to protect her. There was no spoken ultimatum, but all things considered, there might as well have been.
- In The Sword and the Sorcerer, Cromwell desires Alana and threatens to kill her brother Mikah unless she submits to marriage.
- In The Sword of Doom, Ryunosuke Tsukue will only accept Hama's request throw a match with her husband Bunnojo Utsugi(whose family will face ruin if he loses) if she sleeps with him. She reluctantly accepts, but then Bunnojo finds out about her attempt to rig the match, divorces her, and swears to kill Ryunosuke if it kills him. He doesn't succeed.
- In The Ten Commandments, Dathan promises not to have Joshua executed if Lilia agrees to be his sex slave and let everyone believe it's of her own free will. As big a Jerkass as Dathan was, he actually upheld his end of the bargain.
- The 1940 version of The Thief of Bagdad has a slightly coded version: the Princess learns that her blinded love will recover his sight the moment the villain "takes her in his arms".
- We're the Millers: The corrupt Mexican cop is looking for a "favor" in exchange for letting the RV full of marijuana pass. David starts to pressure Rose, but no, the cop doesn't roll that way. Part of that has to do with how people view strippers. David figures that, since Rose has no problems with showing her naked body to a bunch of random guys, she would have no problems sleeping with them as well. In fact, this is the reason why Rose is on this trip in the first place, as her boss has demanded that all strippers in his "establishment" have sex with their clients, and she quit on the spot.
- Initially downplayed but later made even worse in Witchfinder General. Matthew Hopkins declares Sara's father to be a witch and starts torturing him, until she, and not Hopkins, comes up with the idea of offering him sex to let her father go. He agrees, but when his depraved minion Stearne rapes her first, he treats her as betraying him and has her father tortured and killed.
- In Heinrich von Kleist's comedy The broken Jug (original title Der zerbrochne Krug) it turns out that the corrupt judge Adam tried to facilitate the circumstances that would lead to one, by forging drafting papers for East India for the villager Ruprecht in order to blackmail his fiance Eve. This being a comedy he didn't even come close to succeeding.
- The novel Bread and Wine plays this straight. A wanted criminal is hiding at his wife's house when the police come by. He hides on the roof while the police search the home. When they're about to search the roof, his wife pleads for them to stop. They are willing to do so only if she sleeps with them, which she does.
- In the steampunk/urban faerie novel The Iron Dragon's Daughter, the protagonist goes to see a she-ogre and witch to learn about sex magic and discovers she has shrunk her ogre husband down into a grotesque homunculus that she keeps in a jar, in a situation that ultimately began because of this. She bribed two police officers who were tracking him down for a crime (she comments it might have been eating someone's dog, but doesn't remember) with her body, figuring that, in their usual crude fashion, he'd roar with laughter about it once they left and would be watching and playing with himself all the while she was coupling with the police. His disgusted reaction was the first step that saw him dwindle into the horrible little thing she now keeps in her jar.
- Approximately one-half inverted in the novel Outlander (Cross Stitch in the UK) — it's for a man, and the villain compelling it would much rather it be rape, as he's a sexual sadist.
- In The Hunger Games, this is more or less how Finnick began his career as a Capitol Casanova. Eventually, he decided that it would be less painful just to go with it and pretend that it was his idea.
- In one of the Anita Blake novels, the villain says he will stop torturing the two teenage hostages if Jason (the group's pet werewolf) has sex with his two female minions. Subverted in that Jason does agree, and seems to be enjoying it, until the minions start rotting.
- Played with in Lois McMaster Bujold's short story "Labyrinth", when 'Admiral' Miles Naismith is obliged to have sex with an eight foot tall (he is a physically fragile four-foot-nine hunchback), fanged, clawed Super Soldier in the hopes of keeping her from killing... herself.
- In The Kite Runner, the Russian guard will let the truck carrying Afghan refugees into Pakistan only if he can have sex with one of the women. Baba, the main character's father, stands up for the couple.
- Implied in Emma Bull's Bone Dance, although the victim is in fact the protagonist, zie isn't in a romantic relationship with the character whose well-being was at stake (who's female), and the perpetrator didn't have any specific designs on the victim. He's just opportunistic. And it's only implied: you could read it as just a savage beating.
- A scene in Dave Barry's surprisingly dirty novel Big Trouble featured a woman who offers herself to an armed thug if he will spare her daughter. She is never forced to go through with it.
- There's a version in I, Jedi where Corran Horn has a month to heal from a fight before Leona Tavira comes to sleep with him. She's the head of a pirate force called the Invids, and has his wife. He's in disguise as a newly-joined pilot who happens to be quite attractive, and who had bested her previous lover dramatically enough that she'd had him executed. If he disagreed, she would kill him. If he agreed, he'd be closer to her and able to find out about the organization and where Mirax was being kept. Initially he decides to go through with it — he'd do anything to save Mirax — but after some reflection he realizes that pride has something to do with it and takes a third option.
- In the novel Blindness by José Saramago, a gang of blind inmates led by the only man with a gun takes over the quarantined abandoned asylum, threatening the other residents, and stealing and hoarding all the food supplies. Eventually they demand payment in valuables, and then in women. The women volunteer to go, as a group, in order to save the lives of all the other people living there.
- In "L'Ingénu" by Voltaire, the title character is sent to prison without reason and his lover, Miss Saint Yves, decides to free him. She pleads her case before a bishop who agrees in exchange for... well, you know. She does it, and gets her man back, but dies soon after without having told the truth.
- Ivanhoe features two examples of this — de Bracy threatening to kill Rowena's guardian and boyfriend if she doesn't marry him (and adjust that attitude), and Brian de Bois-Guilbert going from trying to rape Rebecca to letting her be executed for witchcraft unless she agrees to marry him after he saves her. Both men meet in the hallway at one point to lament over their utter failure with this trope. Women these days! They just won't cooperate like they're supposed to!
- Dracula: Although Dracula can put women in a trance before he bites them, the third time he bites (and metaphorically rapes) Mina, he leaves her completely aware and instead threatens to kill her unconscious husband lying next to her if she resists or screams for help. For the Evulz?
- In the backstory of the Tide Lords novels, Arkady was given a choice of this type by the Duke of Lebec to save her father from prison. Unfortunately, while the Duke kept his word, Arkady's father died of natural causes before the release order reached the prison. Unusually, there was explicitly no sex involved in this example. The Duke was gay in a violently homophobic culture, so he needed a wife to act as The Beard.
- In the short story Free Lunch Phoebe and her mother are trying to survive in a postapocalyptic society. A restaurant employee coerces Phoebe into having sex with him in exchange for food, and she starts to offer sex as payment for food every time they meet someone. When her mother finds out, she berates Phoebe and is ashamed of her, even though the food Phoebe got this way was all that was keeping them alive.
- In Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Sammy is in a gay club when it is raided by the police. A fed offers to get him off the hook if Sammy will have sex with him. Sammy agrees.
- In Wen Spencer's Tinker, Jonnie offers, to Tinker, to treat Windwolf on these terms. Windwolf threatens to castrate him.
- How the railroad at the centre of Atlas Shrugged came to be built. When Nat Taggart needed funding, only one wealthy man was willing to lend him money for his scheme, and then only if his wife was pledged as security. Both Taggarts accepted, the railroad was a success, and so his wife never had to sleep with the businessman.
- In the second book of Alexandra Adornetto's Halo Jake gives Beth the chance to leave Hades and save Xavier in exchange for her virginity. As a Christian angel, this obviously doesn't go down well with her but she agrees to it initially. Luckily, she's saved just in time.
- A complicated example presents itself in Die Pilgerin by Iny Lorentz. Aymer de Saltilieu does offer Tilla to give freedom to her and her friends (one of whom later becomes Tilla's Victorious Childhood Friend) in exchange for Tilla sleeping with him. She reluctantly accepts, reasoning that no one could possibly be worse than her late Unwanted Spouse. But Aymer's seduction actually leads to her enjoying the experience, and Tilla later has mixed feelings on the incident. What's more, both retain a mutual attraction (Aymer even mentions he's sorry for being a man of his word and letting Tilla go, as he would have liked her to stay with him permanently). Tilla's friends never learn the truth about how they were freed.
- In Aleksandr Grin's The Scarlet Sails, the ultimatum's given to the heroine's mother Mary who has to plead with Menners, an innkeeper and shopkeeper and the richest man in the neighborhood, for money to be able to survive with her baby daughter until her husband's return. As nothing would move Menners, Mary goes to town to a pawnshop during a terrible blizzard and a short while later succumbs to pneumonia. Before her death she tells a friendly neighbor about what happened, who tells her husband, and the latter gets his revenge by letting Menners freeze to death in a stormy night while he himself is calmly standing by.
- Female example: In The Way We Live Now, the evil American woman pulls one of these on Paul. She will reveal the fact that he has previously slept with her to his fiancee if he doesn't give her one last night. And there is no Third Option. Then again, it's hard to feel sorry for him when all he needs is to decide to not trick a woman into marriage on false premises.
- On an episode of 24, Teri Bauer offers herself to a thug in order to prevent him from raping Kim. She then uses the opportunity to steal his cell phone and call for help.
- Battlestar Galactica (2003): In the beginning of Season 3, Ellen Tigh sleeps with a Cylon to get her husband out of jail. He's released, but it was only a test. Now that it's established she'd do anything for him, the real condition to release him is to have her agreeing to spying on him while he catches up with the rebels. But as soon as her husband believes his rebel friends that she must be spying on him, he kills her after saying he would rather still be tortured in prison that having her spying on him. So not only did she agree to be raped for nothing, it got her killed by the very man she agreed to be raped for in the first place. It gets even worse than that however. Ellen is later revealed to be Cavil's mother figure, and she created him in the image of her father. And we find out that Ellen and Tigh are both Cylons. Cavil knew all of this at the time. Can't be more Greek tragedy that that.
- On Farscape:
Crais: Aeryn Sun — are you offering yourself?Aeryn: You take what you want Crais and I won't stop you.
- There is a variation where Aeryn tells Crais he can have anything he wants if he saves John from certain death. He immediately jumps to the obvious.
- Also averted in that, while Crais does eventually save John, he claims his living ship Talyn made the decision. Which he did not need to say, since as a ship Talyn could not communicate with anyone but Crais, and therefore Crais could have slept with Aeryn without anyone besides him (and Aeryn) being the wiser. Later he tried to begin a normal relationship with Aeryn.
- Saturday Night Live:
- Parodied in the sketch "The Hangman". The condemned man's wife is a little too eager to screw the Hangman, but he wants the man's grandmother.
- Another SNL sketch (spoofing Indecent Proposal, above) has Bill Clinton withholding aid for Russia unless he gets a night with Yeltsin's wife. The deal went through, but Congress reduced the package from billions of dollars to $50.
- In the Inspector Morse episode "Death is Now My Neighbour", one of the female characters agrees to sleep with an Oxford Don when he promises to give her husband the job of Master of the College if she does. Afterwards, he laughs at her and tells her that since her husband slept with his wife years ago, he never had any intention of letting him be Master.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Dawn (singing): What I mean, I'm fifteen... so this "queen" thing's illegal!
- In the musical episode, the villain is a demon that can force anyone to sing and dance. He causes several impromptu performances, which cause the victims to dance faster and faster until they combust. During the inevitable major confrontation, he simply forces anyone who attacks him to dance away. When they realize kleptomaniac teenager Dawn must have stolen his summoning amulet, he threatens to force everyone in Sunnydale to dance until they burn, unless she returns with him to his dimension to "be his queen," as she consented to do by activating the amulet. However, Dawn told the truth when she said she didn't summon him. Xander thought a singing demon would be amusing. The demon looks Xander up and down and tells them to forget it.
- In season four, it was played for laughs between Spike and Harmony.
Spike: Anything, will you?Harmony: Oh, you mean will I have sex with you? Sure!
- This sort-of happens on Robin Hood, except it's Marian that's providing the ultimatum. Thinking that Robin is dead, she tells Guy that she will "willingly" marry him in exchange for King Richard's life. Guy decides to have his cake and eat it too, and tells the Sheriff that he will help assassinate the King and then: "I will take (Marian) by force."
- A version appears, and is then averted, in the third season of Gossip Girl. Chuck's uncle Jack has taken Chuck's hotel and offers Blair that he will return it in exchange for a night with her. After she initially refuses he sends her a dress and a note saying: "One last chance to save your man." The whole thing turns into an aversion of the trope, since Blair does indeed go to Jack to have sex with him in return for Chuck getting his beloved hotel back... only to find out that Chuck was in on it the whole time and even bought the dress Jack sent her. And Chuck was single when the episode ended?
- Star Trek:
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the episode "First Contact" (4x15), Riker is being held prisoner in an alien hospital. He was sent to the planet surgically altered to look like the native species, but they're getting close to discovering that he's not one of them. One of the female orderlies at the hospital offers to help him escape, but only if he'd sleep with her, as she's never slept with an alien before. It's never shown on screen whether he agrees to sleep with her, but she eventually helps him escape, leaving the audience to presume.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Kira uses the Orb of Time to travel back to the Cardassian occupation of Bajor to find that their regime was no stranger to forcing Bajoran women into "comfort wife" positions with the promise of their families being taken care of (or potentially harmed if they did a bad job or refused). Dukat even had a standard pick-up line for a new woman who took his fancy where he made himself out to be less bad than his lecherous officers. Kira's mother was also forced into this position, which Kira feels is a betrayal before later consoling herself with the thought that she had no real choice.
- In Hispania, Nerea discovers her fiancé Paulo is going to be crucified, so she goes to ask Praetor Galba and tells him Paulo is her brother, asking him to free him. Galba decides to take the chance to finally have sex with her — which he hasn't been able to do due to several circumstances — but before he gets her naked, Nerea blurts out that his wife Claudia and general Marco are conspiring to kill him. Paulo gets sent to the jail again.
- In the Supernatural episode "The Monster at the End of This Book," Lilith offers to refrain from bringing forth the Apocalypse if Sam Winchester will have sex with her and let her kill him and his brother afterward. Sam takes the opportunity to try to kill her.
- In War and Remembrance, in a variation Natalie offers herself as a last resort to a Nazi camp guard. The guard just laughs and points out that Natalie is not even in a position to bargain with that, but that he just doesn't feel like it.
- Completely turned on its head in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, in which a flight attendant is accused of murdering a judge. The detectives learn that her abusive husband is in prison, the judge is part of the parole board, and the wife had been having sex of this kind with him for a long time. The twist comes when they ask the wife why on earth she was trying to get the judge to let her abuser out of jail, and she reveals that she was sleeping with him so that he would keep her husband IN jail and killed him when, after she'd done what he wanted, he called the parole board and told them to let the husband go anyway.
- In Game of Thrones, Robb Stark's forces must gain access to a strategic bridge guarded by Lord Walder Frey, who has more children than he knows what to do with. The only way to gain safe passage is for Robb's mother Lady Catelyn to betroth him and his sister Arya to two of Lord Walder's offspring, amongst other concessions.
- In the episode following their marriage in Lois and Clark, H.G. Wells prevents Lois and Clark from consummating the marriage because in one of their past lives, a past version of Tempus had a curse put on their souls, causing Lois to die following their marriage. They time travel back to where Clark (whose soul is human) is a character similar to Robin Hood (known as "The Fox")(Spanish: Zorro) and Lois is Lady Loisette. After The Fox is captured by Lord Tempus, Loisette agrees to marry Tempus and pledges "her honor" to be true to him in the marriage, provided he let the Fox escape. After returning to their time, where Lois is now set to marry contemporary Tempus, they have to travel back to the old West to correct the situation, since the curse would not be placed on them during that era of history.
- In Last Resort, the island's local warlord kidnaps three sailors, one of whom is female. When he is enraged that the Captain hasn't come to negotiate for them, he threatens to murder one of the three but Cortez offers herself to him to calm him down. It doesn't keep. The very next morning, he gets his blood up again and kills one of the sailors anyway.
- Mentioned in "The 4 Georges" song in Horrible Histories (as this was done by George I in Real Life). What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?:
I was a hunk, girls adored meLadies all swooned before meThey would do anything for meOr I'd have their husbands killed...
- Bob Dylan's "Seven Curses," in which a judge offers to not hang a girl's father in return for sex. Then he hangs the father anyway.
- Judy Collins sings "Anathea," with much the same plot. (It likely derives from a Hungarian song and may share ancestry with Child Ballad 95 "The Maid Freed From the Gallows.")
- "Hangman, Hangman" by Great Big Sea; his brother brings money, his sister brings... herself (and "warms [the hangman's] soul"), but the hangman goes back on his word and executes the prisoner.
Opera and Theater
- The Trope Namer is Scarpia, the chief of police in Puccini's opera Tosca. Scarpia offers to arrange a mock execution of Cavaradossi (Tosca's lover, who has been jailed for treason) by firing squad, and allow Cavaradossi and Tosca to safely flee the country, if Tosca will have sex with Scarpia. Tosca agrees but murders Scarpia before he can rape her. Unknown to Tosca, Scarpia had secretly gone back on his word, and Cavaradossi is actually executed by a real firing squad. In despair, and cornered by guards who had just discovered Scarpia's body, Tosca throws herself from the tower.
- Angelo, the villain of Measure for Measure tries to extort sex from a condemned prisoner's sister, a nun in training. Isabella makes it quite clear that she doesn't intend to give in; besides, after she persuades Angelo's ex-fiancee Marianna to sex Angelo up pretending to be her, Angelo proceeds to order her brother's execution anyway, confirming her initial suspicion that she couldn't trust a man who would propose such a deal. She also was initially sure her brother would never want her to do such a thing and was understandably angry when he tried to persuade her to go ahead with it (like the sister in all previous versions of the story before Shakespeare got a hold of it).
- Also used in Il Trovatore, by Count Di Luna. Who wants female lead Leonora to marry him in exchange for the freedom of Gypsy troubadour Manrico (who is his long-lost brother, but the count has no idea.) This being opera, it ends in tears and one huge Ironic Hell.
- Toward the end of Hedda Gabler, Judge Brack very ambiguously blackmails Hedda into this, which is odd, because she seemed attracted to him. She shoots herself, not because she doesn't want to sleep with him, but because she doesn't want to be forced to do anything.
- In Jean Racine's tragedy Britannicus, Nero falls in love with Junie. He has absolute power over her and her lover, Britannicus. Nero tells Junie to break up with Britannicus and to make it convincing enough that Britannicus does not become jealous of Nero. Otherwise, Nero will have Britannicus killed. Junie does, but the lovers see each other without Nero watching, and Junie explains why she was so cold. It still ends horribly for everyone concerned.
- In Andromaque, another Racine tragedy, King Pyrrhus is in love with Andromaque, the widow of Hector, whose son the Greeks are clamoring him to turn over. So he decides to use the boy's life to bargain for Andromaque's love; if she doesn't marry him, he would return the boy to the Greeks, at which point he will face certain death. It suffices to say that this doesn't impress Andromaque a little bit, and even incurs the wrath of Princess Hermione, Pyrrhus' spurned fiancee.
- In 2004, Kane offered to stop his torment of Matt Hardy if Hardy's girlfriend (both on and off-screen) Lita would sleep with him. This led to a terrible "pregnancy" angle, Lita's heel turn after it was revealed that she had cheated on Hardy in Real Life with Adam "Edge" Copeland, after five years of the fans loving her, and her retirement in 2006.
- WWE even pulled a lesbian version of this: Dawn Marie agreed to break off her engagment to Torrie Wilson's father, Al, if Torrie met her in a hotel room, (hinting that Torrie was Dawn Marie's intended target all along). Torrie agreed. (At the Armageddon 2002 PPV, Torrie met Dawn in a hotel room and Dawn stripped herself and Torrie down to bras and panties and they kissed a bit. As if the differences between the brunette Heel Dawn and the blonde Face Torrie weren't obvious enough, when Torrie showed up and opened the door, Dawn was lit in such a way as to make her appear genuinely evil, as if she was going to take away Torrie's soul.) Dawn Marie "married" Al, anyway.In a kind of "to hell with this" decision, they later had Dawn "kill" Al via sex. Not only was this inducted into WrestleCrap, it "won" the "Gooker of the Year" Award for the worst thing in wrestling that year..
- Subverted in That Mitchell and Webb Sound, where the husband tries to persuade his wife to sleep with the moustache-twirling villain so he won't be killed... she, of course, vehemently disagrees, as it will dishonour her, but at the same time makes no secret of the fact that after he's gone she'll think nothing of getting hitched to the villain.
- In Grand Theft Auto IV, Niko's first girlfriend, Michelle, is being threatened with prison by the UL Paper Company manager unless she maintains a relationship with Niko. For most players, this will include sexual encounters.
- In Dante's Inferno, Satan does this to Beatrice.
- Also Dante himself, in one of his many crimes during the Crusades. A female prisoner offers to sleep with him in exchange for setting her brother free. Unfortunately, she lied. It wasn't her brother, it was her HUSBAND. He murders Dante's father and Beatrice in revenge... after killing Dante.
- Rather weird subversion happens in Dragon Age: Origins if the player character is female and romancing Alistair. Without going into too much detail, the Warden or Alistair will die automatically if either kills the last boss. And they are the only ones who can do it (in fact, it's part of the reason only they can). One of your party, Morrigan, offers you a way out: a ritual that happens to involve a Grey Warden getting Morrigan pregnant, something that the player character obviously can't if female. Which leaves Alistair (or Loghain, who's an Optional Party Member) who happens to hate Morrigan. And it's up to the Warden to convince her boyfriend to impregnate Morrigan. Although not exactly a villain, the sex bit is necessary to keep the death part from happening, and not something she demands as payment so much as offer it as an alternate solution.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, residents of Vault 11 were told that they would have to send their Overseers to be executed every so often, or otherwise everyone in the Vault would be killed. Before she was elected as the final Overseer, Katherine Stone was blackmailed into performing sexual favors for members of the largest voting bloc in order to save her husband from being sacrificed (which they did anyway).
- Although he's not precisely a villain, Jasper apparently pulls this in The Zombie Hunters: it's part of the deal Maureen makes to get him to keep searching for her friends, even after the 3-day cutoff after they disappear.
- Used in the Robin Hood Morality Test: The "test subject" is told a story in which Maid Marian agrees to have sex with the Sheriff of Nottingham to save Robin Hood. Robin, once saved, tells her off for it. Then Little John hooks up with Marian. Then the subject is asked to rank the four characters in terms of the moral acceptability of their actions, and each possible answer corresponds an analysis about the subject's "moral" notions related to gender; things like the Madonna–Whore Complex, My Girl Is Not a Slut, Defiled Forever, Questionable Consent, and All Men Are Perverts.
- Nos. 21 and 24 from The Venture Bros. fantasize about this trope when they discuss striking out on their own as supervillains. No. 24 imagines what it would be like to fly into the bedroom of his arch-nemesis' girlfriend and announce "I'll spare his life, but only for you... sugar pants."
- "And dude, you will be having sex! SEX!"
- The Family Guy episode "Peterotica" has a cutaway gag of Peter housing a "rat farm" in his basement. When the rat couple are unable to pay him rent due to lack of crops, Peter suggests they pay him another way, leering at Mrs. Rat. She begins to weep and unbutton her blouse.
Death: What are you doing? I just wanted another fruit cup! Not bad though.
- In the episode in which Death comes for Peter, Lois mistakenly assumes he wants to use this trope.
Anime and Manga
- In Candy Candy, Neil Legan attempts to get Candy to marry him through this, even involving the sub-leader of the clan that had adopted Candy some time before. He fails: the real leader of the family (Candy's old friend/other prospect love interest Albert) shows up and thwarts this.
- In Fist of the North Star Shin agrees to spare Kenshiro if his fiance Yuria will love him. This is G-rated because although she does follow Shin, she never actually loves him, nor does Shin ever attempt to force Yuria to love him, hoping to make her willingly change her mind.
- In Hana no Ko Lunlun, the beautiful Margot from the Germany arc is an Impoverished Patrician, and a filthy rich Dirty Old Man tries to force her into marriage — to the point of running after her through a garden when she has an Heroic B.S.O.D. and tries to leave his presence. Lunlun witnesses this, hears their sides of the story, and resolves it by challenging the old man to a Medieval-style duel and using her magical flower pin to transform herself into a literal Knight in Shining Armor.
- This used to happen frequently in Silver Age Marvel Comics, especially to Susan Storm, the Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four. In their first encounter, Namor wrecked the FF, then offered to spare them if Sue would marry him and become Queen of Atlantis. She accepted, but Namor became enraged when he saw her reluctance, and stormed off. Variations on this also occurred with Kang the Conqueror and Mole Man (boy, Sue was a hot commodity on the supervillain marriage market!).
- Rehashed in the Ultimate Marvel version, where she kisses Namor in exchange for him not destroying them and the city.
- Kitty promised to stay with Caliban forever in exchange for helping her teammates, but he later released her from that vow after realizing she didn't love him.
- Happened to Angel when Callisto from the Morlocks group decided that she needed a future mate. The TV series used the same set-up but with Cyclops instead — and the bonus of having his girlfriend Jean hypnotised and used as a hostage.
- New Mutants has a surprisingly G-rated version given the participants — Amara (Magma) and Mephisto. The specific terms are that he'll let them out of Hell in exchange for "one date, no strings".
- Beetlejuice. And Beetlejuice makes it very clear that one implies the other (it is a Tim Burton film, after all).
- Rare male version: In The Matrix Reloaded, Persephone refuses to help the rebels unless Neo gives her a passionate kiss, as he would to Trinity. Trinity is not amused. She does this again in the Enter the Matrix videogame with the main character, whether you chose Ghost or Niobe.
- In The Book of Masters the Anti-Villain Yangul hints he'll only spare the hero's life if the heroine consents to marry him. However, about a second later, he realizes he wants a wife, not a slave, and lets both of them go. Closer to the end, he attempts it once more, even getting the heroine to agree, and still decides against it.
- In A Series of Unfortunate Events, Violet is being forced to marry Olaf (in a play so no one will object to her being so young) because he has her sister Sunny and will kill her if she doesn't. Although Olaf is specifically marrying her for the money and doesn't seem to have sex in mind primarily, there are still several disturbing innuendos: Olaf utters the quite Squicky line after being foiled, "You may not be my wife, but you are still my daughter, and —"; he decides that he'll let her live even after he has the fortune and makes quite a few comments on how pretty she is; he rubs a knife against her THIGH under the table in the next book; and don't forget the lines, "Violet imagined sleeping beside Count Olaf, and waking up each morning to look at this terrible man," and Olaf saying, "Now if you'll excuse us, me and my bride will be off to have our wedding night...." Now that's just... wrong. Handler must have known what that would imply to his older readers.
- The Phantom of the Opera: Erik threatens to blow up the Opera House and everyone in it if Christine doesn't marry him. She tries to kill herself, and it's not until her fiancé Raoul is dying in Erik's Drowning Pit that she vows to be Erik's "living wife" if he spares Raoul. Unusually, it's Erik himself who introduces the third option by deciding I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
- However, in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical and movie version, the phantom imposes the ultimatum himself.
- In C. S. Lewis' The Horse and His Boy, Prince Rabadash, finding his suit refused, attempts to blackmail Queen Susan into marrying him by holding her brother King Edmund and their entourage hostage. Fortunately, they get wind of the plan before it can be set in motion, and manage to escape.
- Holes: The origin story for Kissin' Kate Barlow. The sheriff threatens to hang Sam, a black man, for kissing Miss Katherine Barlow. When Katherine protests, the sheriff says that if she'll kiss him, too, he'll only run Sam out of town. She refuses and tries to run away with Sam, but they're caught and in the process Sam is shot and killed. Afterwards, Katherine shoots the sheriff, then puts on bright red lipstick and kisses him. When she turns to outlawry, her calling card is kissing the men she kills.
- Happens in iCarly, where somebody steals Carly's internet domain. He would be content with just a kiss from her.
- Frontier Circus: In "Naomi Champagne", Bandito leader Don Diego tells Naomi he will release Ben and the other prisoners if Naomi agrees to marry me. He goes so far as to have Ben dragged behind a horse in order to force her hand.
- Done in an episode of Jack-of-All-Trades, when Napoleon arrives to Pulau-Pulau in search of a new wife, apparently bored of his current one. When Emilia catches his eye, he demands that she marry him. She refuses, so he threatens to invade England, forcing her to agree. Luckily, the situation is resolved by his wife arriving and dragging him back home.
- In The Musical version of The Phantom of the Opera, he even has a wedding dress for the occasion, and the Death Trap scene is changed to him trapping Raoul in his Punjab lasso and threatening to hang him.
"His life is now the prize that you must earn. So, do you end your days with me, or do you send him to his grave?"
- Comes into play in Final Fantasy VI. The party needs an airship and Setzer will only allow them to use his in exchange for Celes' hand in marriage. Celes manages to cheat her way out of the agreement and gets the airship anyway.
- Specifically, the style and audacity she uses to cheat him he finds so amusing that he pledges his life to their cause because the group's adventures are... well, crazy.
- The truth behind Krauss and Natsuhi's marriage in Umineko: When They Cry, as Krauss's father Kinzou forced Natsuhi into it as a reconciliation of her Impoverished Patrician family's debts to him. Even when Krauss and Natsuhi do care for one another as persons, they end up having massive problems due to his lack of common sense and old-fashioned beliefs and her terrible self-esteem and emotional problems.
- In the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast, Gaston threatens to have Belle's father Maurice committed into an asylum (which would be a Fate Worse Than Death) unless Belle marries him. She uses her magic mirror to prove the existence of the Beast and clear her father's name. Unfortunately, this also gives Gaston the opportunity to rile the mob into a murderous frenzy at the sight of the Beast.
- In Codename: Kids Next Door Operation KASTLE, King Sandy coerces Numbuh 3 to marry him by threatening to dump a bunch of Rainbow Monkeys into a vat of hot nacho cheese. And in the first episode he appeared (Operation BEACH) he tries to marry Numbuh 3 for real and says its okay if she's 10 years old because he's "always liked older woman" before purring.
- Every episode of Superfriends that Darkseid appeared in, he offered to spare the hero of the week in exchange for Wonder Woman becoming his fiancee.
- The Super Mario Bros. Super Show episode "Do You Princess Toadstool Take This Koopa...?" whose title speaks for itself.
- On The Fairly Oddparents, Timmy Turner is forced to use this tactic by his dad while writing a love letter to his crush Trixie. His letter makes such threats as "if you ever want to see your parents again..." No actual kidnapping of Trixie's parents, of course, but his father sent the letter for him. Timmy's dad admitted that he used the same tactic when marrying Timmy's mom.
- Happens in two episodes of Defenders of the Earth:
- In "The Prince Triumphant", Ming's son, Prince Kro-Tan, plants "mind bombs" (small, but powerful, explosive devices controlled by his thoughts) on all but one of the male Defenders, threatening to detonate them unless Jedda (whom he has kidnapped) agrees to marry him.
- Gender-flipped in "The Golden Queen", where Queen Hadea agrees to save Jedda's life - if the Phantom agrees to become her consort.
- The Avatar: The Last Airbender continuation comic The Search reveals that Ursa was pretty much kidnapped to be Ozai's wife and had her parents and lover Ikem threatened with death if she refused to comply.