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Think Unsexy Thoughts

"Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day! Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day!"
Austin Powers, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Sometimes, a man doesn't want to have an erection. Either it's potentially physically hazardous, or there's a beautiful woman who he actually wants to spend time with and turning up with an obvious case of wood might not help (or of course, both). Or maybe he's just embarrassed to be seen in public that way. And sometimes, a man might be in the act, so to speak, and in need of some way to delay the inevitable.

Either way, the solution is the same - to conjure up some image in the brain that draws attention away from the contents of the pants. Such an image is either hilariously mundane or hilariously horrific. In American media, the former option often takes the form "think about baseball!" (Which is ironic considering this.)

Someone in a Transparent Closet might try thinking of someone of the same gender; because of course thinking about the same gender would not result in a positive reaction for a heterosexual person like themselves. For some reason, this doesn't work.

The opposite of Lie Back and Think of England when used for sex. Fetish Retardant and The Loins Sleep Tonight are inversions of this.

Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Infinite Stratos, Ichika finds himself in a changing room with Charlotte, after she pulled him in both to hide from the other girls following them, as well as to show him the outfit she planned to wear at the beach. With his back turned to her, as he hears her undressing, he forces himself to recite Pi in order to get his mind off thinking about her naked body. It eventually works, but a few moments later they get caught...by his older sister and homeroom teacher.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed is with Winry and trying not to think of the time Hawkeye teased him about being in love with her, and starts spouting out the periodic table.
  • In one chapter of A.I. Love You, Hitoshi has been forced into a pair of underwear that will slap him in the crotch whenever he stirs and will explode if it reaches thirty slaps. He tries to avoid getting whacked by thinking about male body builders...while peeking in on the girls' locker room. (Un)fortunately, he loses focus for a second, the underwear slaps him, and the sound alerts the girls, who beat him up.
  • In the dub of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, when Brief has to avoid ejaculating or he'll unleash the Sealed Evil in a Can, he starts yelling "Dead puppies and grandma! Dead puppies and grandma!"

    Comic Books 
  • Rudi does this one time at a nude beach. Problem is that everything he tries to think of only makes him more horny. ("Square root of 4761 makes... 69! Shit, maths is too perverted!") Then, when he finally manages to get his Raging Stiffie under control (by thinking about cancer) - a pissed-of wasp stings him several times in a male body part, making things even worse.

    Fanfiction 
  • There is an Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfic where Shinji tries to summon this trope... then decides he went too far with it and stops. What did he think of? His father in a thong.
  • A Pirates of the Caribbean fanfic has Will using the "Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day" version after a Parody Sue gives him a love potion. He has to spend a lot of time chanting, but it works. Jack, his fellow captive, has no idea who he's talking about but is impressed all the same.
  • Ranma ˝ fics:
    • Fanfic has a bit more of a PG version. After being challenged by Akane to not blush no matter what she does to him, Ranma tries to prevent himself from blushing by imagining Cologne in a string bikini.
    • A lemon has Ranma think about martial arts and mentally go through several katas in order to not come before Akane.
  • A comedy fic of The X-Files has Mulder in the middle of a meeting and daydreaming when he sees Scully eating a banana and his imagination starts generating some very NSFW daydreams. He excuses himself to the bathroom and goes through a variety of possibilities (baseball, some of the cases he worked), until his thought process stumbles on the idea of the Cigarette Smoking Man naked. Mulder is relieved not be turned on anymore, but really wants to wash the mental image away with a beer.
  • In Fever Dreams when L lets Light back into his presence, Light has to work hard on focusing on the murder case L has given him instead of on L.
  • There is an old Harry Potter fanfic called "How To Warm Up a Frigid Valentine" where Harry and Ginny get stranded with wet clothes and no wands in a rickety old cabin in the middle of a snowstorm, and have to share a bed naked to keep each other warm. When Harry wakes up at one point to find that Ginny has unconsciously cuddled up to him in her sleep, he starts rather desperately trying to think of a potions recipe to recite, in order to keep his mind off their situation. The first potion that finally pops into his head? The Shrinking Solution.

    Film 
  • Austin Powers combines this with a Survival Mantra: "Baseball, cold showers. Baseball, cold showers." Then, after things escalate a bit: "MARGARET THATCHER NAKED ON A COLD DAY! MARGARET THATCHER NAKED ON A COLD DAY!"
  • In Closely Watched Trains, a Czech film that oscillates between sex comedy and La Résistance thriller, the protagonist is a young man who is suicidally depressed after he prematurely ejaculated on the big night with his girlfriend. The doctor advises him to think about football to slow things down.
  • In the Steve Martin movie All of Me, a woman is stuck in the body of the main character. He wants to sleep with another female character, but his 'roommate' objects and starts filling his head with images of dead kittens and old nuns.
  • The title character of Blankman routinely goes into... convulsions... when kissed or otherwise aroused. "Think about math..."
  • Margaret Thatcher again serves as anti-erection fodder in Bedrooms and Hallways, where Leo, a gay man, is convinced to sit in a sauna with the fellow (straight) members of his support group.
  • In the movie The Couch Trip John Burns, who is posing as a psychiatrist, recommends thinking of transmission repair for this purpose. Unfortunately, his description of taking apart a transmission, though he doesn't seem to realize or intend it, does not exactly qualify as unsexy. Observe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SQNjg982JQ

    Literature 
  • In the novel Choke, the protagonist thinks of corpses and other disgusting things to avoid early ejaculation.
  • In Stephen King's It, Tom Rogan thinks of "White Sox batting averages or who was trying to undercut him for the Chesley account at work" for the same reason.
  • In Going Postal, Moist von Lipwig finds himself in this mindset regarding Adora Belle Dearheart. "He'd get another chance to be smiled at by Miss Dearheart — think about Golems! Golems, golems, golems!"
  • In Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys, Barry inclues advice for men on how to delay their orgasms, and suggests thinking of Margaret Thatcher, or, in extreme cases, Rush Limbaugh in a thong.
    • In another, he mentions a technique devised by a friend of his, wherein the man and the woman are having sex, and the guy's dog comes to investigate, and cheerfully shoves its subzero nose in an area the guy would really not like to feel cold in.
    Man: Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes...
    Woman: Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes...
    Man: YesyesyesYEOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW...
  • Early in the Mage Winds trilogy, Darkwind rescues a woman who he finds sexually attractive, but who he thinks may be a Honey Trap. (She is.) To counter his physical response to her, he concentrates on the monthly chore of scrubbing out the reservoir in his privy.
  • In Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball, author Joe Peta recalls a college friend who pictured baseball star Roberto Clemente when he wanted to slow himself down. Peta mortified him in a social setting by saying his pal had to imagine Clemente while having sex, to which another fellow asked "Batting or fielding?".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Anwar from Skins recites Hugh Grant's filmography in order to slow himself down.
  • In the That '70s Show episode "Thanksgiving", Eric has to do this after making out with an attractive girl. His inner monologue goes: "Okay, baseball, Vietnam, Richard Nixon, Pat Nixon, Pat Boone, the girl that gives the weather, no, no! Okay, jellyfish, really big spiders, come on, dig deep, dig deep, okay, the day we backed over Skipper in the driveway, instead of going to the county fair, I had to bury him in the backyard."
    • Inverted later with Donna who thinks of sexy things.
  • In Kyle XY, Josh explained to Kyle that when he doesn't want to have an erection, he thinks of "disgusting things" (for him, zits and old people). Kyle responds that he finds grapefruit disgusting (Josh: "Huh."). Later in the episode, he repeated that phrase while escaping naked from the parents of the girl he was with.
    • "Zits. Old people. Zits. Old people. GRAPEFRUIT!"
  • A Running Gag on Glee is Finn thinking of the time he ran over a mailman in order to prevent himself... arriving early.
    • It's made a plot point on "Never Been Kissed" when Sam needs to find his "mailman" and decides to think of Coach Bieste in various unflattering positions. It's so effective that the method spreads-in fact, it's too effective, soon the boys (and Tina) actually start saying Bieste's name during makeout sessions, causing their partners to become suspicious. And then Bieste finds out, and things get very unfunny. That's right, Glee actually deconstructed the trope.
  • In an episode of Melissa And Joey, Joey has to constantly call his mom in order to distract him from having sexual thoughts about a friend of Melissa.
  • In the Married... with Children episode "What I Did for Love", Jefferson mentions that there was a time when he had to think about baseball to slow things down during sex; nowadays, he just wants to think about baseball.
    • In another episode Steve thanks Al, because wondering why Steve Guttenberg is a star works as this.
    • In the "Dial B for Virgin" episode, Bud thinks out loud "Zima Guy, Zima Guy. No, no, I mean, I mean, Roseanne, Roseanne...".
  • In an episode of Friends, Joey mentions "baseball, or sandwiches, or... Chandler" as things he thinks of to keep himself from getting too "excited".
    • Phoebe tries to follow his advice, but finds even baseball and sandwiches too sexy... thinking about Chandler, on the other hand, works fine.
    • In another episode Ross gets rid of an erection by thinking about his grandmother.
  • In the Dollhouse episode "Needs", several Actives wake up in their sleeping chambers with their original personalities before they were mind-wiped, but no memory of how they got there. So they have to pretend to be the mind-wiped Actives while they work out how to escape; unfortunately this means going into the co-ed showers. Victor plays the baseball flavor of this trope straight and out loud, reciting the Mets roster by fielding position after catching a glimpse of incredibly hot Sierra all wet and naked.
  • Wonder Woman: After immortal Princess Diana of Paradise Island invokes What Is This Thing You Call Love? when she sees a man for the first time, her mother hilariously invokes this:
    Queen Hippolyte: There are some things that are better not known. Young Amazon minds are best occupied with athletic discipline, higher learning.
  • In the Boy Meets World episode "The Last Temptation of Cory", Cory mutters the words "lunchroom lady" to get him to stop thinking about a pretty girl who is trying to seduce him away from Topanga.
  • In the late season one Scrubs episode "My Student", Elliot ordered a med student to shave a patient's pubes. The med student tried to fight it but Elliot threatened him with more stuff. The med student shortly instructed the patient to "think about baseball".
  • Inverted on True Blood. When Sookie, a mind-reader, questions Sam on Tara's whereabouts after she'd been turned to a vampire, Sam forces himself to think sexy thoughts to distract himself. It doesn't work.
    Sam: (thinking) Look at her boobs, look at her boobs, look at her boobs, don't think about the walk-in [cooler]—DAMMIT!
    Sookie: She's in the walk-in!
    [...]
    Sookie: Sam, can I give you a hug without you thinking about my boobs?
    Sam: Probably not.
    Sookie: Oh all right (hugs him anyway).
  • Discussed in Two and a Half Men:
    Charlie: When you're making love, the way to slow yourself down is to think of something completely non-sexual.
    Alan: What do you think of?
    Charlie: You.
  • An unusual variant in The Singing Detective: the protagonist is having ointment rubbed into his body - all of his body - by an attractive nurse and is desperately trying not to become aroused. (Most of the "unsexy" thoughts were about people the screenwriter hated.)
  • LazyTown had Bill Thompson captured by the "Evil Dudette"(who is the brother of the "Evil Dude") shouting out "You're an ugly girl!" & what Austin Powers said about Margret Thatcher without clothes on a cold day.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Earshot" had Buffy acquiring uncontrollable telepathy after killing a demon who has the power. Xander freaks out when he learns about this, because of his usual train of thought, and tries desperately to deter it:
    4 times 5 is 30. 5 times 6 is 32. Naked women. Naked Buffy. Help!
  • Frasier:
    • Frasier and Kate Costas are trying to get over their mutual lust after their affair nearly loses them their jobs. Attempting to avoid the press by taking a service elevator, they get stuck and soon discover the elevator is full of the belongings of a romance novelist who's moving house, and a few accidents later they're in a mood-lit compartment with sultry posters on the walls, reeking of spilt musk oil, and with a double mattress taking up most of the floor.
    • Niles' advice to Frasier when he's trying to resist Lilith;
      Niles: Do you remember when we were young and we found that dead horse, crawling with maggots? Hold on to that image, you can ride that horse to safety!
      Frasier: You're right. When it comes to unpleasant images, you can't beat a dead horse.
    • In an episode when Niles was desperate for sex, Daphne makes one of her typical Innocent Innuendo remarks that sends Niles' mind off to fantasy land. Frasier brings him back down to Earth with the phrase "Grandma in a teddy."
  • This beauty from an episode of Parkinson.
    Billy Connolly: Men have many methods. Some people think of the FA Cup team of 1953. You mustn't think of sex or poof! it's all over. I do the nine times table. I got to 81 once.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Marshall tries to prolong sex with Lily to avoid a big fight about him talking a judge position behind her back. To slow things down, he starts thinking of unsexy things, such as roadkill, clipping toenails and bugs. But then he finds he's taken it too far and needs to rearouse himself, so he starts thinking of sexy things, such as bugs with boobs.

    Video Games 
  • One of the members of the band Love Fist in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a chronic masturbator. To get him to stop, his bandmate tells him to "Think of Thatcher". Unfortunately, that just turns him on more.

    Webcomics 
  • Slick from Sinfest has to work really hard at this when he gets a hug from Monique.
  • S.S.D.D has this, when a guy has to go without sex for a while. Being around computer nerds, unsexy thoughts aren't hard to come by.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has a number of takes on this
    "Oh, Steve! What gives you such amazing stamina?"
    "The boundary conditions of the universe."
  • The Pain - When Will It End has one comic, "Silver Linings of the Holocaust". The first example is "Excellent Sexual Endurance Aid", where the man is thinking of the atrocities committed in concentration camps to keep from going off early. Then his thoughts stumble across Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS, and, well...
    "ARBEIT MACHT FREI!"
  • Alan of Sunstone, after being called by Ally to deal with the problem of her two subs, Lisa and Anne, being stuck in a harness with a vibrating egg between them without the key to the padlocks, tries without success to Think Unsexy Thoughts as he tries to work through the increasingly louder moaning, culminating in him having to head to the bathroom.
    "Math...um...dead pets...politics...ugh...iiit's official. I'm never wearing jeans in this house again..."

    Western Animation 
  • While stuck in an elevator with Mindy Simmons, a sexy new coworker, Homer Simpson imagines his sisters-in-law Patty and Selma wearing towels and shaving their legs in the bathroom, as well as his best friend Barney in a polka dot bikini drunkenly humming the theme to I Dream of Jeannie. It doesn't work, as Barney morphs into Mindy. His mantra is the trope namer. Ironically, Mindy also had the same mantra as Homer.
    • Ned Flanders was also tempted with dangerous ideas about a woman that he was not married with. He urged himself to think about the Holy Bible. He failed, the Bible got some legs and began to play with the ribbon and "open" as a strip-tease dancer.
  • Family Guy's Quagmire was subjected to "aversion therapy" to try and discourage him from being such a pervert, which involved a ceiling fan perched right above his groin and a Victoria's Secret catalogue. His attempts to contain himself involved thinking of dead kittens, old nuns, really old nuns, and Renee Zellweger.
  • An episode of John Callahans Quads had the main character think about his ugly nun teacher in order to help him maintain an erection... because the unsexy thoughts would help him with premature ejaculation.

    Other 
  • For decades, men have been advising each other to "think about baseball" to last longer in bed.
  • Pornographic actor Ron Jeremy has said that when filming scenes he thinks about dead dogs to avoid climaxing too soon.
  • Early in his career, Woody Allen told a story in a stand-up routine where he thought about baseball to to "prolong the moment of ecstasy". He got so caught up in his imaginary baseball game that he didn't even realize that the woman already left.

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