Two characters have been talking, talking has turned to kissing, and as kissing turns to... other things, the modest camera suddenly decides to look elsewhere. The view pans away as it fades to black or rests upon an intimate but innocuous object like a burning candle, the curtains of the open window or the door being closed. We're not supposed to care about this particular subject. It's just how the writer and the director say, "Okay, they're going to have sex now. Let's give them their privacy".
This shot can be turned into a passage-of-time montage. A dissolve shows the candle going from just-lit to guttering, or the darkened window now gleams with the rays of the rising sun. When the camera wanders back we see our couple post-coitus, cuddled up for some pillow talk or slumbering peacefully beneath their Modesty Bedsheet. Sometimes this dissolve will include an actual clock, giving a clearer indication of the couple's... stamina (this is occasionally spoofed when the time elapsed is only a few minutes, implying the moment of passion was neither long nor particularly satisfying).
If it's the woman's first time, you may see a flower drop to the floor to represent the loss of her "innocence."
This trope is a useful trick for Getting Crap Past the Radar if the Censorship Bureau simply does not allow sex. That was usually the case some decades ago, but now it can be used anyway for the retro effect. It may be used as well if sex is allowed by the network, but the sex scene does not play a significant role for the story.
Similar tropes include Dress Hits Floor, Don't Come A-Knockin', Kissing Discretion Shot, Take Our Word for It, Coitus Ensues (if the scene doesn't fade to black), Sexy Coat Flashing, Something Else Also Rises. This may be a result of Crashing Through the Harem.
A lot of the photos in the Abercombie and Fitch catalog like this one◊.
Anime & Manga
In Maria-sama Ga Miteru, the Discretion Shot actually pans away before a kiss between two girls, and then back (all that happens is a kiss) — apparently the camera has some very old-timey sensibilities. In another case, it pans away when a character unbuttons her pyjama jacket to show a scar on her chest to another character.
In Neon Genesis Evangelion, there is a scene between Misato and Kaji. The viewers are treated to a view of a glass filled with water.
"Don't put strange things in there!"
Also subverted in both episode 25 of the TV series and from "End of Evangelion"; both during Misato and Shinji's experience during Instrumentality, respectively. Only her feet are visible.
In Bleach, Matsumoto, while taking a bath at Orihime's place, comforts her by stepping out of the bath, tickling her, and then throwing her backward onto the floor. Nothing sexual is happening, but the camera still cuts to a blank corner of the wall and ceiling.
Ultimately averted when Uryu gets moderately injured and gets cared for on the couch of female bount, Yoshino. Eventually they get to talking about how Uryu is the last Quincy and that leads to this:
Yoshino: So you're the only Quincy left. Uryu: Yeah... (Yoshino leans in close) Yoshino: You must be so lonely.... (Uryu gets visibly flustered) (Cut to Uryu's friends finding Uryu, who is now in the hospital)
A notable sex scene occurs, a given because it stands out from the rest of the ambiguous scenes taking place in Akio's car in Revolutionary Girl Utena. During this escapade, Ruka takes Shiori out to Akio's car to discuss Ruka's dueling plans (which is actually a ploy to get Juri, the girl he actually loves, to snap out of her Broken Bird state that Shiori was making her have, and subsquently humiliate the latter girl). Both of them are then shot shoulders up in a state of undress, and then a few more shots of the car, and then finally, two more shots of them throwing their heads back and sighing happily. Given the ambiguous nature of the show and what happens, just about anyone can see clearly what's happening.
Used in Kanamemo episode 11, when canon lesbian couple Yuuki and Yume are seen going to bed together. Cut to an unrelated cartoon sequence ending in an explosion, then the next day Yume sleeping late because she's "exhausted".
In episode 22 of Macross Frontier, when Sheryl tells Alto to 'give her the courage to sing' and they fall into each other's arms, the camera was angled from outside the room, focusing on the koi swimming in the pond, pans up to the sky and then fades out into outer space. Later on, Alto is shown outside the room, with his jacket suspiciously hanging over his shoulders, as opposed to wearing them normally the scene before. It was vague, but the viewers still had the impression of what had happened.
The first chapter/episode of Monster contains one of these.
In an episode of 009-1, when Mylene starts to have sex with someone, the camera pans away and zooms in on their wine glasses as the glasses start to shake.
Ranma ½: This trope happens when Soun imagines the possibilities of sending Ranma and Akane to a hot springs resort for some quality time together. The first thing we see is a scene of them in their room all alone. They're sitting there, side by side, and as they reach for a bun at the same time, their hands touch. The camera cuts to a clip of the window, where we see flowers in a vase. Then we hear Akane say, "Oh, Ranma," and the head of one of the flowers falls off completely.
Happens in the anime adaptation of Berserk when Guts and Casca are making love.
Takes place in the Sailor Moon manga. At some point Mamoru and Usagi kiss while laying on the floor of his apartment, then the scene ends. The next time they're seen, Usagi is lacking the cute blouse she was wearing under her dress...
In Koi Kaze, when Koshiro and Nanoka kiss for the first time, they knock an orange off of a table. The scene cuts to a night shot of the orange, still on the floor.
The first occurs at their hotel room, during which Lupin is shown eagerly waiting in bed for Fujiko. As soon as she strips down, the scene immediately cuts to the balcony outside their room, allowing the viewer to hear the remainder of their conversation. When Sadachiyo and his men crash through the windows, the motion beneath the covers and Fujiko's moaning leaves no doubt about what she and Lupin were doing.
About midway through the film, they run into each other again when Lupin infiltrates Morocco's police HQ, while disguised as an officer. After he accidentally spills the beans about the treasure he's after, Fujiko returns the favor by giving him hers. The scene then pans over to the opposite wall, before fading to black.
Yuugen Kaisha: About halfway into the third Incident File, Mr. Nagasuki and his secretary start going at it hot 'n heavy in his office. The scene shifts to the hallway outside, just as Karino shows up to question him. So when he opens the door, he gets an eyeful, though the door keeps the audience from seeing anything.
*secretary screams from off-camera*
Mr. Nagasuki: (angrily at Karino) "GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!!"
Karino: (closes door, snickering) "Hot action."
Hilariously, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a discretion shot of his large pistol in a holster when he's hugging a Fury girl. Originally, it was just going to show them embracing. The shot was modified by demand of The Comics Code, and the subtext of the gun is more suggestive than the original panel could have hoped to be.
Invoked in a magazine cartoon with two young people watching TV and the boy saying excitedly, "Here's the part I was telling you about! They kiss with all their clothes on, and then the camera just pans up into the trees and leaves it all to your imagination!"
Mighty Avengers 11. Dr. Doom is in the middle ages, and requested Morgan Le Fey (a Hot Witch who is in fact naked) to instruct him on how to raise an army of zombies. Morgan Le Fey wants something in exchange... and we jump to the present, with Dr. Doom using said army of zombies to defeat the Avengers. At the end of the story, we go back to Le Fey's castle, who wakes up from his bed and notices that Dr. Doom is no longer there.
In Superman & Batman: Generations II, Dick Grayson as Batman and Barbara Gordon as Batgirl decide to have some private time together in her apartment, with the only hint of anything going on is the same shot of an empty living room couch for three panels with the clock showing how much time has passed.
I am afraid that I must tell you that I cannot relate the events that occurred in the room for it would be a horrible invasion of their privacy. I hope that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me, my dear readers.
In a subversion, though, the author later went on to write an uncensored version of the fic...
The first time the two of them didn't even make it out of Quark's. Cut to Eleya arriving on the USS Bajor's bridge the next morning and getting a "Did You Just Have Sex?" reaction from her first officer.
The second time they got as far as him unzipping her uniform jacket, then end chapter.
Averted the third time, but it's still left basically undescribed.
Invoked in the movie Forrest Gump, where Jenny climbs into Forrest's bed and the scene fades to black.
Spoofed in the movie Top Secret!: the hero and heroine have embraced, started kissing, and have gotten to rolling around on the furniture when we pan away to a fireplace. Then they roll onto the floor right in front of the fireplace, so the camera pans away again...to another fireplace.
The director's cut has them rolling in front of that fireplace, too, forcing the camera to pan to the window...and in the window, you can see a building on fire.
As if that weren't enough, a few scenes later the shot parodies itself while the characters are parachuting into enemy territory. They start kissing, we pan over to... a fireplace wearing a parachute.
Also parodied in National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, where Emilio Estevez and Kathy Ireland are in bed getting ready for it. Pan over to a digital clock. The time advances by one minute, a change of a single digit. Pan back to the bed, where they are smoking cigarettes. Lampshaded later, where Kathy asks if they can actually make love next time instead of just smoking in bed.
Played with in Click the camera does pan away, but only far enough to show the remote going automatically to fast forward, and their shadows. The aftershot with the Modesty Bedsheet shows them, but only he's satisfied.
Parodied many times with shots of a train going through a tunnel, rockets blasting off, etc.
The train going into a tunnel wasn't quite a parody when Alfred Hitchcock used it at the end of North by Northwest.
This parody was subverted by thisMonty Python's Flying Circus sketch, which features a couple kissing before falling onto a bed. Cut to shots of a train entering a tunnel, rockets blasting off, towers rising, waves crashing, Richard Nixon and the Women's Institute applauding, planes crash landing and exploding..... cut back to the women in bed looking disgruntled, who says, "Are you actually going to do anything, or just show me films all evening?"
Done in Spy Hard, where the scene cuts to Stock Footage of flowers opening, bees pollinating flowers, and a rocket lifting off... and promptly flying off-course and exploding.
The Three Musketeers (1973) uses a textbook 'candle dissolves to a much-shorter candle' shot to indicate d'Artagnan has successfully convinced Madame Bonacieux "why, that's the best place for you, bed ..."
The Maltese Falcon: Sam is leaning in and kissing Brigid in the window, suddenly it's the next morning and the curtains in the window are blowing gently in the sunlight.
At the end of Robin Hood: Men in Tights Robin and Marian go to unlock her chasity belt after their wedding. The camera pans out onto a skyward view of the area, except (shown through a voice over) Robin can't open her chasity belt and begins calling for a locksmith.
In The Saragossa Manuscript (1965), the hero embraces two sisters sitting on a bed; the camera remains fixed as the characters sink down out of the frame.
Subverted in OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies — the secret agent hero and his girl lay back on the bed, the camera pans right, to some flowers in a pot, then it pan right some more — and we "accidentally" see some jerky, inept-looking (fully clothed) sex in a mirror for a few seconds before the camera "realises" what's happened and quickly pans left back to the flowers.
In the film A Place In The Sun, the main character and his girlfriend are slow-dancing in her room. The camera pans over to the window. The rain stops as the sky changes from night to day and her radio now plays static. . .and now we see the man leaving her house. While the pan to the window hinted at it, seeing him leave the house in the daytime confirms that he spent the night with her. The movie was made in 1951 and the scene was likely shot this way to avoid issues with the censors.
In Me and Orson Welles this trope is both employed (when the image fades to black ofter Sonja invites Richard into the bedroom) and, in its literary form, discussed:
Joseph Cotten: You know, in a novel, when the main characters are finally about to schtup. They can't describe it, otherwise they can't print the book. They just go, you know, "he hugged her hard, they fell on to the bed", Period, Quadruple space.
In Maid In Manhattan, the title character and her paramour embrace. The scene fades away to be replaced by a rosy dawn as the camera pans down to them lying in bed in the afterglow.
Girl with a Pearl Earring: We see Griet passionately kissing Pieter while standing outside a pub at night with her leg up along his side. There's more kissing, heavy breathing and some partial undressing (no nudity). We later see her finishing getting dressed, thus implying additional fooling around or sex.
The film noir classic Out of the Past features a scene where the leading man and the femme fatale walk into his villa, she trips and lands on the couch, and the camera decides it would be an ideal time to go outside and have a quick stroll in the Mexican jungle before returning to find the two of them sitting on the couch drinking whisky and laughing.
Parodied in Being There. Chance learned everything he knows from watching TV. When he tries to handle a romantic situation by imitating a romantic scene in a movie, the Sexy Discretion Shot and Fade to Black leave him a little confused.
Hardbodies: Kristi teaches Scotty how to use his waterbed in this sceme.
In Friday the 13th Part 2, Ginny enters her cabin, takes her shirt off and reveals her bra. She then puts on her robe and hears a knock on the door; she goes to investigate and is never more than two steps out of her door. Ginny goes back in and Paul surprises her. They kiss and Paul unhooks Ginny's bra underneath her robe. Crazy Ralph is secretly watching them before he's garroted by Jason against the tree he is near. The next morning, Ginnny wakes up alone with "Beware of Bears" written on her mirror in lipstick.
A necessity in the Adrian Lyne adaptation of Lolita as it involves a man having sex with an underage girl (though the events are set in the 50's so there may be a retro look involved too). We see Dolores with Messy Hair, dressed in a pyjama top sitting on the lap of a shirtless Humbert in a No Tell Motel. They rock back and forth in their chair and Dolores starts moaning, then the scene cuts to the overhead fan that's turning with a rhythmic throb.
In Downstairs, Karl the evil chauffeur finally cajoles Anna the innocent (and married) ladies' maid into kissing him. Cut to the decorative figurine in a snow globe that sits on her table. The camera stays on the snow globe as Karl's coat is thrown on top of it.
The Big Bounce (2004). Femme Fatale takes off her panties and leads away hunky surfer dude. Cut to surf wave breaking. Cut to her getting naked out of his bed in a Sexy Back shot.
Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter has a couple of these scenes. The first one has the voyueristic Tommy Jarvis looking out his bedroom window and watching some of Paul and Samantha's foreplay until he pretends to be asleep and Mrs. Jarvis pulls down the pulls the window shade down. The second scene has Jimmy sitting on the bed while Tina unbuttons her blouse.
The book version of The Princess Bride has a variation of this when Buttercup and Westley reunite at the bottom of the ravine in Guilder. The narrator notes that it's enough to say that they were very excited to meet each other again after three years (five in the movie). In the end it doesn't matter anyway, for fifteen minutes later they're arguing about which direction to go.
The movie has Fred Savage insisting that Grandpa Peter Falk skip over the kissing part.
In the book Vamped, the main character/narrator digresses into an aside of this trope, which he called "Insert Fireworks Here". After speaking of his own initial annoyance with the trope, he relates how he came to appreciate its use, then ends the chapter with the stage note "Insert Fireworks Here".
In one of The Stainless Steel Rat books, the narrator pauses in his description of an impending love scene, handwaving it with something like "and since I never kiss and tell, let's just pull a curtain across that scene."
Ironically used in the first Dexter novel, wherein the title character is just fine describing gory murder scenes or what he does when the Dark Passenger is driving, but when he and his girlfriend make love for the first time, he is so horrified that he can't bring himself to reflect on it in any detail.
In Men at Arms, the scene where Carrot and Angua finally succumb to their romantic feelings for each other is summarized thus: "After a while, the bedsprings went glink." The glinkiness of the bedsprings in question had already been established as a Running Gag in the scene.
Almost certainly takes place between Dido and Aeneas in The Aeneid. The two and many others go out in a hunting party but find themselves stranded alone in a cave when a rainstorm hits, and suddenly the narrator becomes very interested in describing the weather outside and doesn't get back to them for a while. When they emerge from the cave, much later, he makes an offhand remark about how Dido now considers them practically married, while Aeneas... does not so much.
Dorothy L. Sayers, author of the Lord Peter Wimsey series, apparently had quite definite feelings about preserving her characters' modesty (even by the standards of the times); Busman's Honeymoon has entire chapters devoted to the cause of making it clear, without referring to a single body part, that Peter and Harriet are doing rather well, thank you.
[...]Their lips met, and in perfect unison their bodies slowly sank down to the ground.
On the distant horizon, another volcanic mountaintop erupted, its hot magma shooting forth into the air. And the ground once again trembled, shaken by nature's primal throes.
In Breaking Dawn, Edward and Bella arrive at their honeymoon destination. She takes a shower and goes out on the beach where Edward is. She takes her towel off, he pulls her into his arms and... Oh look, it's the next morning.
Because the narration is written in a parody of 19th century novels (especially those of Dumas), in Paarfi narrated sections of Dragaera novels, sex scenes tend to be given this kind of treatment. For example, in the section of Tiassa narrated by Paarfi, there's a scene where Khaavren, who is Happily Married comes home and he and his wife are chatting and being kind of intimate (they like to give each other massages) and Khaavren is talking about how busy he is, but at least he's free for the rest of the evening. Then Paarfi comes in and says something to like "History does not report what they did for the rest of the evening, so he will draw a curtain over that".
In the Edith Wharton short story "Summer", the protagonist and her soon-to-be lover kiss at the town festival. The reader is promptly treated to a long paragraph offering an elaborate description of fireworks going off.
In the novel Madame Bovary, the eponymous character and her current paramour get into her carriage, intending to talk. The reader soon realizes that the description of the carriage rocking back and forth is representing something else.
Spy High gives Ben and Cally one of these at the end of Calista Green, fading out of the scene as they snuggle in bed together after reuniting.
One of the stories that made up Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos is the honeymoon of the main characters. As they ride a Flying Carpet, with the autopilot set, the one narrating describes the romantic setting, "and nothing else is any of your business."
One of the Literary Review's "Bad Sex in Fiction" awards went to a sex scene in which a bunch of unconnected, evocative images play in the head of a female character, who must have seen way too many movies.
Occurs a few times in the tales of Ciaphas Cain, as the chapter ends on a suggestive comment and the next one starts a day or so later. At one point, Cain's love interest Amberley (who is the in-universe editor of the stories) cuts out a section because "it covers personal matters of no interest to anyone else".
At a certain point during Sparhawk's wedding night in The Sapphire Rose, the camera decides to look out the window at the rising full moon.
Done repeatedly in Jurgen as a not entirely successful way of Getting Crap Past the Radarnote The novel was famously prosecuted for obscenity, though the case was thrown out, and the prosecutor was lampooned in later editions as a dung beetle with a ridiculously dirty mind - Jurgen repeatedly has conversations with his love interests full of suggestive remarks about lances, spears, swords and whatnot, but because all the conversations take place in pitch darkness, the narrative doesn't actually say that Jurgen was doing anything. Becomes a plot point towards the end of the novel, when the goddess who gave Jurgen his youth back, and has been secretly spying on him for the entire novel through his shadow, remarks that she would have punished him if he'd misused the gift of youth to seduce women, but luckily for him she never saw him do anything like that.
Smallville used to be rather conservative with these that sometimes it isn't even clear if they really had sex, but it gets less so as the Audience Shift.
In Mortal, Clark and Lana make out on the floor before the screen fades. In Hidden, they wake up in bed together.
In Sleeper, Chloe and Jimmy goes through another round of Slap-Slap-Kiss, falls onto the bed and out of the screen.
When Buffy sleeps with Angel in Season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel(us) flees from a bed that Buffy is asleep on, and later there is a misty flashback scene of the two kissing while lying in Angel's bed. (okay, it's a bit more than just kissing, but still far from anything explicit)
Played with on another episode; Andrew is making an amateur documentary, and comes across Willow and Kennedy kissing on the couch. He says "Here's something our viewers might find interesting" - then focuses on a window frame and starts speaking admiringly about how well Xander repaired it. This was taken by some fans as less a discretion shot and more a hint that Andrew wasn't like other boys, though he probably still liked them.
Not to mention the rocking police car in "Band Candy". Later explicitly revealed in no uncertain terms that Joyce and Giles had sex there. On the hood of the car. Twice.
In every season of The Bachelor, the three finalists are invited to spend the night with the bachelor in the "Fantasy Suite." The camera regularly pulls away from the couple kissing and out the window or behind the closing door. This is done regardless of whether the couple actually slept together or not.
Used in Scrubs quite often, played both seriously and for laughs.
In the Star Trek episode "Bread and Circuses", Kirk starts to make out with a slave woman, and the camera pans up to the candles above their heads. In the next shot, the candles have burnt down.
An even clearer example is in "Wink of an Eye". One scene ends with Kirk and Deela starting to get friendly; the next time we see them, she's combing her hair and he's putting his boots back on.
And Leonard Nimoy has joked about a strategically timed costume change Spock had in This Side of Paradise. Spock gets hit with emotions-inducing flowers, he starts kissing Leila, fade to black. The next time you see him he's in different clothes, as Nimoy put it, "Leaving one to wonder what transpired during the commercial break."
The 1987 miniseries Casanova, starring Richard Chamberlain, begins with a scene where Casanova, on the lam from the authorities, jumps into a stagecoach occupied by a grand lady played by Faye Dunaway and her two pretty "nieces". After some double-entendre talk and Casanova hiding under the skirt of one of the young ladies (and playing with her satin garters), one of the girls faints face-first into Casanova's lap, Casanova smirks in surprised delight, and the camera cuts away to a shot of the stagecoach rolling down the road, while the footmen posted on the back of the coach crane their necks to get a view of the goings-on inside.
In The Thorn Birds "midquel" The Missing Years, as Luke and Meggie fall onto the bed, the camera pans up to the window. Night changes to day and when the camera pans back, they're asleep in each others arms, obviously post-coital.
Done very well in The Phantom of the Opera miniseries. Christine and childhood sweetheart Phillippe are walking through the woods. They stop to embrace passionately. This fades right into another shot of them walking out of the forest. Both fully dressed, but he's now carrying his jacket, while her dress laces are sloppily done and her hair is mussed.
Full House: Jessie spends a whole episode trying to be the perfect stay-at-home dad to convince Becky they can have another baby. In the end, it's Becky covering a miraculous birth on Wake Up, San Francisco! that changes her mind. (Although they never do have another baby during the course of the show...)
Jessie: Just one question... when would you like to start? Becky: Now works for me. (They get in bed, lights out, and the episode ends.)
Mad Men normally isn't shy about showing as much of sex as they can get away with, but a nod to this trope occurs in the episode "Maidenform." Pete goes to a girl's apartment in the middle of the night, and she turns on the TV so her mother won't hear them. What comes on is aviation footage with a narrator reading"High Flight."
In the series finale of The Vicar of Dibley, the eponymous Vicar and her love interest disappear upstairs while the camera stays on the front door... which is then knocked upon, repeatedly, as parishoners continually interrupt. Finally, everybody leaves, and the camera pans to the sky - and fireworks go off over the house.
Criminal Minds: in "The Fisher King Pt. 1" (the first-season finale) Hotch is home with his wife, who has just gotten their infant son down for the night. Kissing ensues, fade to black. Next time we see them, they're snuggled together on the couch, fast asleep and completely naked. Subtle.
Average Joe: Melana Scanlon and Jason Peoples continue their smooching in the limo and when the windows fog up, the camera cuts away as their smooching turns into heavy petting.
In the "Pilot" episode of In Plain Sight, Mary goes to Raphael's house so she can let him know how she apprciates his picking up Brandi even though she steals his car so she at the community center so she could get away from the Gang Bangers who were trying to intimadate her. Raphael invites Mary in and in the next scene, Mary's panting loudly and the two are naked and sweaty on Raphael's bed.
The Masters Of Sex opening credits sequence is almost completely made up of these, interspersed with shots from the characters' work (electrodes being taped to people, etc.) plus an animation of an innocent-looking period drawing of a boy and girl on a park bench, who hold hands, kiss, and are finally seen enjoying a cigarette.
Rod Stewart's song "Do You Think I'm Sexy?". The listener is treated to a long musical interlude as the protagonist arrives home with his one-night stand, and the interlude ends with them waking up the next morning, quite happy and content.
In Aida, Radames and Aida embrace passionately at the end of their duet "Elaborate Lives". The scene fades out. Their positions vary when it fades back in—sometimes she's fully dressed, other times, her dress is wrapped around her in Modesty Bedsheet style. But the fact that he's shirtless makes it pretty obvious what's happened between them.
In Miss Saigon, the lights begin to dim as Chris and Kim undress, then fade out completely as they get into bed. There's similar staging during his later love scene with Ellen.
West Side Story. At the end of their duet "Somewhere", Tony and Maria kiss and sink from view. By the time the scene returns to her room, it's obvious what's transpired—they're both wearing little more than their underwear.
Possibly in The Phantom of the Opera. The lights go out at the conclusion of "Music of the Night", leading to endless speculation by fans that sex may have occurred between the Phantom and Christine.
In South Pacific, Joe takes off his shirt, Liat removes hers. . .and the lights go out as they embrace and fall to the floor.
Wicked has a variation in "As Long As You're Mine", which is pretty obviously about sex. The lights dim, and theatrical fog covers everything below the actors' chest as they kiss and embrace, implying that they're doing it.
Nathan and Richard are really clearly having sex in Thrill Me— up to and including kissing, pulling clothing off, and having a written contract signed in blood that they'll have sex at certain times (yep), but the lights always shift before anything actually happens.
Sex scenes in the Assassin's Creed games always fade to black or skip ahead to later before you see much more than some kissing:
In the beginning of Assassin's Creed II, Ezio pays Cristina a visit. A quick-time event lets you slide off her dress, but the view is of her back, and after he pushes her towards the bed, the scene skips to the next morning, where we are given a fascinating view of the house as we hear Cristina's father open her door and find the two together.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhoodonce again ends Ezio's first day with a sexual encounter, this time courtesy of Caterina Sforza. She approaches him in her underthings while he's having a bath, and they start kissing before it fades out and jumps ahead to the next morning — where once again Ezio and his lover are rudely awakened.
In the Fable games, the player can choose to sleep with their spouse, lover, or a prostitute. Doing so cuts to a black screen, with the partner's comments heard.
In Star Control 2 you can seduce Captain Talana. The screen goes black, but you can still read their sexy dialog: "Cowabunga!"
In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the player can choose to sleep with his girlfriends. If he does so, the camera shows the outside of the house while you hear the sounds of love. Amusingly, Rockstar was actually planning to allow the player to control the sex scenes, but wisely changed the game to prevent it. When a man later discovered them, it spawned the infamous Hot Coffee mod controversy.
It also happens in the intro to the "Gone Courting" mission, where Catalina decides to jump C.J.'s bones, and from what she brings into the encounter in question, she's into S&M in a big way.
Not to mention, the player can pick up hookers on the street and take them to a quiet area for some fun. This causes the car to rock violently, but nothing can be viewed... Unless you change the camera to see inside the car, when both the player's character and his prostitute just sitting there, facing forward and not moving, the sounds apparently coming from nowhere.
This is itself averted in Grand Theft Auto IV. If you sleep with Niko's girlfriend you get the Sexy Discretion Shot. If you hire a prostitute and swing the camera around you can see exactly what's she's doing.
Averted as well in Red Dead Redemption, where in one of the missions John stumbles upon Abraham Reyes railing a peasant girl on a table.
Similiar to GTA, God of War also allows the player to get some action off-screen, while pressing the displayed buttons.
Subverted in 3. While you're boinking Aphrodite offscreen, her handmaidens are doing foreplay onscreen.
In Disgaea 3, a Horny Devil teaches a class on how to "influence" people. We don't see her "lecture", just the male characters' reactions.
In Persona 3 and Persona 4 when the main character is alone with one of his love interests (after maxing her Social Link), the screen will fade out with some sort of statement about 'spending a long time together' or 'sharing an intimate moment'.
Even better with Naoto. She gives you one of a pair of watches that have a simple tracking mechanism. Shortly after, the screen fades to black and there's only one message. "Distance < 1m"
Overlord does this when you've bought everything your romantic interest wants. The one with the "good" (more psychotically obsessed with order) option girl is particularly amusing as you catch her increasingly out of breath lecture on military tactics. One will never react to the phrase "pincher movement" the same again.
In the denouement of Metal Gear Solid 3, a romantic evening between Naked Snake and EVA ends with the camera panning over to the fireplace before cutting to Snake waking up, barechested.
If the player manages to make it all the way to the waterfall cave without extracting the Tracking Device from Snake's leg, you'll be treated to a rather amusing lampshade of this trope.
And in Metal Gear Solid 4, a cutscene shows Naomi and Otacon dancing around some awkward flirting, near-kisses, and UST before (at her request) he shows her to a private bunk on the plane (presumably, so she wouldn't have to bunk with the lads). She vanishes within, and he loiters outside it for a minute or so before she reaches out and yanks him inside. End cutscene.
If Big Boss successfully manages to reach maximum affection with Paz or Kaz in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and chooses to have sex with them, we see his partner hop inside his cardboard box with him, which then starts jostling suggestively as little hearts appear above it.
One of the cities in Jagged Alliance 2 has an, um, establishment where, if you drop a few hundred bucks to the nice madam at the door, the usual map view changes to a smiley face while happy noises and glinking bed-springs are heard. (The scene is not accessible in all versions of the game, though.)
In Final Fantasy VII. The night before the final battle Cloud tries confessing his love to Tifa. When he is unable to find the words Tifa suggests expressing how he feels without words. Cue fade to black. With Cloud and Tifa laying on each other the next morning.
The romance scenes in Mass Effect 2, which may have been a reaction to all the hubbub surrounding the ones in the first game. The most we get is a shot of Miranda's undergarments, the others cut out before either party starts taking anything off.
Jade Empire gives us the kiss for different-sex couples and some lines implying that more is about to happen, but nothing more than that. The same-sex couples fade to black before the kiss even happens. If you manage to romance both Dawn Star and Silk Fox, they will both be happy to share a tent with you, but it still fades to black before you kiss either.
The PC title Leisure Suit Larry loves this trope, as it is by nature, a tongue-in-cheek sex comedy. Most noteworthy is the use of it in Larry 7, when nudist Drew Baringmore shouts that Larry look her in the eyes seconds before the wandering camera gets a chance to reach too far down below her chest.
And averted in Larry 7 if you look for the easter eggs. If Larry is wearing earplugs, he will fail to hear Drew's request to look at her eyes and the camera will continue wandering down. If you get 100% completion, you're also treated to a second or two of Larry and Captain Thygh doing the nasty.
In Defender Of The Crown, when the player rescues a Distressed Damsel they are treated to a cutscene that shows the two of them having a late night rendevous where the female drops her clothes to the floor (although she's seen from behind so no actual nudity is shown). The game then cuts to a shot from outside the window where the silouettes of the two lovers embrace before the screen fades to black.
The Phase novels in the Whateley Universe: Phase and his girlfriend Vox are no longer virgins. But every time such a scene occurs, Phase (the narrator) skips over the details. Once he flat out tells the reader 'it's none of your business'.
Done in Dragon Ball Abridged to show Vegeta and Bulma's first time, though it's mainly because the abridgers have to work with what source material they have. The sounds left very little to the imagination.
Batman: Mask of The Phantasm does this twice with Bruce Wayne and Andrea Beaumont (one in flashback). Both times, the camera pans away to a slightly ajar doorway, in which Alfred appeared, muttered a quick "Oh my", and moved away.
But subverted in the first time, as the camera pans to them making out on the grass. The second time however, it is made clear exactly what went on off screen, especially in the scene afterwards, it shows Andrea sitting on the balcony gazing at the sea, wearing nothing but Bruce's shirt. Bruce himself is seen wearing nothing but pants.
This is not the only time this would happen in the DCAU. After finally admitting they have feelings for each other Green Lantern/John Stewart and Shayera Hol kiss for the first time on a recovery bed, with the backdrop of space lighting the area. It then cuts to a woman who'd been seen earlier playing a slot machine at a Las Vegas casino winning the jackpot and proclaiming "finally!"
And there is a scene where Terry and the Ten are kissing, then fall onto Terry's bed and the camera slowly moves away...
Also in the episode "Sneak Peek" in which Terry watches a news program "The Inside Peek" that exposes secrets, especially one involving Paxton Powers. We see him grabbing a girl with his towel and it cuts to Terry's awkward look which leads to this scene:
Matt: What are they doing?
Terry: This isn't for you. [puts hand on Matt's face blocking his view]
Matt: I wanna see, I wanna see!
[Mary turns off TV]
Terry and Matt: Hey!
Mary: I don't want you watching this.
While Granpa Phil reads Arnold's father's journal on Hey Arnold! he accidentally stumbles upon the chapter of their wedding night...
Granpa: "It was the hottest night the jungle had ever had..." *starts mumbling as we see Miles and Stella move in on each other, then promptly closes the book* "Okay Arnold, time for bed!"
South Park subverts this trope for laughs. Instead of changing the shot during a provocative scene, it switches from two women about to kiss to the two women having sex.
The Simpsons: Not shying away about sex even when left to the imagination, this trope happens in several episodes:
The episode "Grade School Confidential" has Principal Skinner and Edna Krabappel having a conversation, eating applesauce, and then making out in Edna's apartment only to have sex on the kitchen floor; thus explained with the Charlie Brown Wax Candle burning down to its feet.
"Insane Clown Poppy": In Krusty's flashback about how Krusty met Sophie's mother in the Gulf War, we see Krusty and her kissing and embracing each other in a army tent and then it pans to the window shot of the burning torches in the desert which 'burned out' like candles in the morning.
Krusty: There was your mother — looking like a beautiful mirage. Maybe it was the anthrax in the air, maybe it was the fact that the Arab women weren't biting, whatever it was, it was magic.
"She Used to Be My Girl": After rescuing Chloe, Barney is rewarded with pity sex in which we see the shot of the helicopter humping up and down.
"Treehouse of Horror XVI": Happens at the end of the second segment, "Survival of the Fattest"; it concludes with Marge and Homer having sex, only to have commentator Terry Bradshaw as the 'Discrection' shot.
"The Devil Wears Nada": Near the end in which Marge and Homer have sex; cut to shaking family pictures in the living room, cut to Santa's Little Helper and a poodle nose rubbing in the doghouse, and finally cut to birds forming the shape of a heart.
"Dangerous Curves": In a scene in this flashback episode, Ned and Maude (seducing him modestly) kiss and then turns out the lights, only to cut to Homer and Marge, unmarried and separated in different rooms.
Subverted in the flashback episode "And Maggie Makes Three" in this scene after Homer and Marge spent a romantic evening celebrating their new life:
Homer: [sighs] I love you, Marge. Marge: I love you too, Homey. Homer: Everything in our lives is finally perfectly balanced. I hope things stay exactly like this forever. Marge: Mm hmm. [Cut to several sperm with Homer's head racing to an egg, then to Homer demonstrating how they swim] Marge: Did you have to be so graphic? Homer: It's OK, Marge: they pave the way for this kind of filth in school.
"Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy". After telling Abe about how weak their sex life is, Abe gives Homer some tonic to improve his sex life with Marge leading to shots of a train going into a tunnel, a rocket blasting off, and hot dogs falling in a factory which pans back to reveal Bart, Lisa and Maggie in a movie theater watching stock footage of all three.
"Catch 'Em If You Can": Near the end of the episode in which Homer and Marge finally make love, which we don't see explicitly, in an inflated castle floating in the Niagra river.
The very end of "Colonel Homer" in which Homer and Marge are making out and before they have sex, Homer throws his white cowboy hat toward the screen blacking it out till the credits appear.
"Black Widower": Happens after the end of Sideshow Bob and Selma's honeymoon video:
Sideshow Bob: Oh, Selma dear. You and your little camera. Whaddya say we shut it off for awhile...
Selma: ...and make love?
[Selma removes the sheets. revealing her nude offscreen]
Sideshow Bob: [sighs] I suppose.
Marge: Aww, that's sweet.
"A Star is Born Again": After a concert, Ned Flanders, after consulting bible verses before he engages into pre-marital sex with Sara Sloane, makes out with her on the picnic carpet. Then it cuts to sunrise and it pans down showing both Ned and Sarah naked under the sheets along with their clothes lying on the grass.
Treehouse of Horror XVIII: Near the end of "Mr. and Ms. Simpson" in which Homer and Marge kiss each other passionately realizing they're more attracted then ever, after killing Chief Wiggum together. Cuts to both of them lying on Wiggum's body and under a sheet in the morning.
"The Burns and the Bees": To keep Lisa's bees from becoming extinct, Homer and Moe conduct a plan to mate them using africanized bees:
Moe: Now lets give them some privacy while they get down with the buzziness.
[Homer and Moe play "Sea of Love" record, light candles and dim lights]
Lampshaded in the Family Guy episode, "Welcome Back, Carter", when Carter Pewterschmidt first meets his later wife, Barbara:
Carter: Now, let's kiss while the camera pans over to the drapes!
(camera pans to the drapes)
Carter: Good stuff happening here! All implied.
Also done in a later episode, when Meg daaydreams about her and the boy she likes being the only humans left. Their spacesuits start being unzipped, and then they go below the camera while a little ditty is sung about the fact that they are having space sex below the camera.
Futurama In the episode "The Late Phillip J. Fry", Bender makes out and has robotic sex with another female robot off-screen which disturbs Fry.
"The Prisoner of Benda": Happens between Fry, who's in Zoidberg's body, and Leela, who's in Professor Farnworth's body, when both argue and do disgusting acts at each other when they're on a date only to have them make out on the table. Later, we see them in bed naked in the same bodies, after making love.
"Put Your Head On My Shoulder": Double Subverted. After talking with each other while driving on Mercury and then using up all fuel on the car, Fry and Amy look at each other seductively. Then hours later, as described with the sun setting downwards, a tow driver wipes the glass of Amy's car revealing them to play cards inside. Then, when Amy's car towed, both Fry and Amy immediately make out on the floor of the car and you know the rest...
"Amazon Women in the Mood": The "Snu-Snu" scenes with Fry, Zapp and Kif.
"A Flight To Remember": One scene with Bender and the Countess parodies the sex scene from James Cameron's Titanic.
"A Biclops Built For Two": Happens between Leela and Alcazar after he tells her the history about their heritage.
"How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back": Happens between Fry and Morgan Proctor in Bender's closet. Morgan sees Fry as she unbuttons her blouse before proceding to have sex with fry. Cut to Bender walking with a candle he made for Fry and then walking in on both Fry and Morgan naked under the sheets.
"Mother's Day": Happens between Professor Farnsworth and Mom when attempting to seduce her to get the robot controls from her bra only for Farnsworth to throw away the bra blinded by his lust for Mom. Later, the rest of the Planet Express crew barged in the house and after Fry opens the bedroom door, we see both Farnsworth and Mom in bed naked.
The Drawn Together episode "Captain Hero's Marriage Pact" shows a disturbing but hilarious version. It can't really be described concisely. Just watch the clip. Subverted at the end: this scene is something that CH and Xandir are watching on TV.
Implied to have happened in the Adventure Time episode "Breezy". Finn pecks Lumpy Space Princess on the lips, but LSP wants to swim in the "deep end," not the "kiddie pool." Cut to a while later and the two of them in separate sleeping bags, with Finn looking equally contemplative and traumatized.