Often, it is used to either describe something pleasing or enjoyable in hyperbole or, more tragically, used to reflect the attitudes of people with immense cravings or addictions for particular things (especially drugs). Though, on occasion, it may also be a sign that the person using the phrase hasn't had a very enjoyable sex life.
- Played by the merging in Genesis of Aquarion, where the pilots trying to describe the feeling of merging the ships as "the best feeling ever", and even seem to act as if the action itself is a form of sex.
- In Black Blood Brothers, sex apparently pales in comparison to the sensation of getting bit by a vampire.
- In Black Lagoon, Revy remarks that Balalaika is one of those people who prefers war to sex.
- In Star Driver, Madoka Kei explicitly compares Cybody combat to sex, saying that it is far more stimulating and intimate than intercourse could ever be. This, however, is just her opinion: the rest of the Glittering Crux considers her something of a psychopath for this attitude.
- In a series filled with a lot of perverts, High School DXD has Vali Lucifer who gets turned on more with fighting stronger opponents than making love and is not interested in the latter, much to Kuroka's headache.
- In one of his stand-up routines, Dane Cook insists that having a pet monkey would be better than sex—or, even better, being part of a heist with the monkey driving the van.
- Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: A variant comes up with Hermione.
Before she'd met Harry Potter she hadn't had anyone she'd wanted to crush. If someone wasn't doing as well as her in class, it was her job to help them, not rub it in. That was what it meant to be Good.
...now she was winning, Harry Potter was flinching every time she got another House point, and it was so much fun, her parents had warned her against drugs and she suspected this was more fun than that.
- In The Stalking Zuko Series after eating the expensive and rare dragonberries, Suki declares them better than sex which causes her boyfriend Sokka to greatly worry.
- In one Buffy the Vampire Slayer story, after Buffy accidentally makes Xander her slave (having staked Dracula while Xander was under his control), she initially declares Xander's massages to be better than sex. Later she decided the difference was academic, claiming she needed new underwear either way.
- In Luminosity, when Edward (who has tasted human blood) is trying to explain to Bella (who has not) just how amazingly delicious human blood is that Vegetarian Vampires are so rare, he tells her that before their wedding, he asked his brothers what to expect of the honeymoon, and they said that sex enhanced by vampiric senses was the second best thing they'd ever experienced. Edward, for his part, disagrees, but mentions for the sake of honesty that he might have felt otherwise if he had tasted Bella's blood before she turned.
- Averted in Rebuilding Your Life when Charlie says that Harry's cooking is "nearly as good as" sex.
- In It All Started With a Visit to Gringotts Rowena Ravenclaw's portrait teaches Bill Weasley some warding spells.
Bill: Harry that was totally amazing better then any orgasm I ever had... don't tell Fleur I said that.
- Several of the heroin junkies in Trainspotting praise their drug of choice as being better than sex. Significantly, such comparisons are what lead Tommy to take up the habit after his girlfriend dumps him, with devastating consequences and mockingly called back by a drug-decayed Tommy in Renton's nightmare.
- In Sister Act, after two of the singing nuns refer to singing as being better than more innocent things such as "springtime" and "ice cream," the "heathen" Fish out of Water Dolores proclaims that singing is "better than sex," adding that it's what she has heard after a comedic Beat.
- In the Wing Commander movie, after Rosie performs a dangerous but impressive maneuver in her starfighter while landing, she claims that pulling it off felt better than sex. When Angel quite literally calls, "bullshit," Rosie amends, "Better than sex with myself."
- In Wall Street, Gordon Gekko relates that when he made an $800,000 profit on his first business real-estate purchase, he thought making all that money was "better than sex," but years later, he only sees it as a day's pay.
- According to Michael in The Big Chill, rationalizations are better than sex.
Sam: Aw, come on. Nothing's more important than sex.Michael: Oh, yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?
- In Everworld, Senna gets Drunk on the Dark Side at one point, declaring it to be like sex, money, power, revenge, and triumph all at once.
- In The Light Fantastic, Rincewind accidentally casts some real magic and suddenly discovers why wizards don't care that much about being celibate.
- Hunter S. Thompson named one of his books of political essays after this trope.
- In The House of Night series, drinking blood from a human or other vampyre that one is imprinted with is described as being better than sex.
- In the Nightside book Nightingale's Lament, Rossignol says that chocolate is better than sex, then reconsiders and amends this to "some sex".
- In Galápagos, Colonel Reyes launches a missile from his aircraft and tells his friend that the experience felt better than sexual intercourse.
- Joachim Steuben of Hammer's Slammers really, really likes killing and considers sex a "distant second" to violence.
- Stephanie Plum prefers cake to sex. Always. Even though she has two rather competent lovers in her life, her number one passion is still cake.
- Occasionally, characters in the Battle Tech Expanded Universe novels will comment on how the act of synchronizing with a Battlemech is greater than any sexual thrill due to the neural link required for pilot and 'Mech to coordinate movements.
- Bothari from the Vorkosigan Saga considers killing people to be better than sex.
- In Larry Niven's Known Space, a Droud (and the portable version a Tasp) can directly stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain with electrical current. Addicts lose interest in everything else and have died under the influence with a smile on their face.
- In The X-Files episode "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'", when a Lt. Jack Schaefer is speaking to Agent Mulder, he says, "Have you ever flown a flying saucer? Afterwards, sex seems trite."
- On Dawson's Creek, Audrey once says that the one thing she misses the most about having a boyfriend is snuggling, which is, in her view, better than sex.
- On True Blood, Amy once described the high on the illicit drug made from vampire blood, V, as being better than sex.
- On Coupling, Jeff once says this about writing the word "naked" hundreds of times on a sheet of paper and rubbing his face in it, something he apparently used to do as a kid.
- In Dean Learner's interview with ex-Formula Five motor racer Steve Pising on Man to Man with Dean Learner, Steve refers to the speed of a Formula Five car as being better than sex... or, at least, better than any sex that he's ever had.
- In the first episode of Sliders, Wade claimed that sliding is better than sex.
Arturo: Well, I wouldn't go that far...
- Battlestar Galactica:
Kat: When you come back after a successful run, let me tell you. It is better than a great meal. Better than hitting a jackpot. It's better than sex.
- On the UK version of The Apprentice, Series 5 contestant Ben considered making money better than sex.
- In Mystery Science Theater 3000's riffing of The Skydivers, Crow uses this phrase to mock the movie's fixation with coffee, as well as the lack of chemistry between the two lead characters.
- Beth: I made some coffee.Crow: Coffee? Thanks, that's better than sex.
- In Alien Nation Sikes describes his car as better than sex, then sees the look on his alien neighbor's face and hurriedly explains the existence of this stock phrase as a metaphor and not to be taken literally. Parodied moments later as the car breaks down.
- In Red Dwarf, when Rimmer copies himself and moves in with his new double, he describes his new life of discipline as "better than sex". Of course, he's soon proven wrong when it turns out even his double doesn't like him. (Of course, Rimmer's sex life consisted of twelve minutes [including eating the pizza] with the ship's concussed female boxing champion, who kept calling him Norman, so he's not exactly in a position to judge.)
- M*A*S*H, in the episode "Adam's Ribs", Hawkeye tries to get a case of barbecued pork ribs from a Chicago restaurant shipped to Korea. When Radar asks if these ribs are as good as Hawkeye says they are, Hawkeye answers, "Better than sex." Radar then grouses, "I wouldn't know how good that is, sir."
- In a Season One episode of Gilmore Girls, Miss Patty tells Rory that the peaches in Doose's Market are "better than sex."
- On Gossip Girl, Blair describes a take-down as better than sex. And then immediately has sex with Chuck for comparison purposes...
- From the first episode of season seven of Canada's Worst Driver:
Jon: This is better than sex.Elise (his girlfriend): I agree.[Beat]Jon: Hey!
- Supernatural: At one point, a woman with the transplanted heart of an ancient Mayan sports player that eats hearts has Dean pinned down and explains how eating hearts feels better than sex.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "Favor the Bold," the Female Changeling tells Odo that sex pales in comparison to linking (the act of two or more Changelings melding together). Given that she and Odo have experimented with both together, she means this literally.
- Also, Odo later did some kind of physical act of love with Kira that involved turning himself into a bright glowing cloud of golden mist and enveloping her; probably not quite the same thing as sex, but from the ecstatic look on her face during this sequence, she wasn't complaining.
- Duck Dynasty: According to Phil Robertson, if he had a choice between sex and boudin, he'd take the boudin.
- On Taxi the gang accompany Alex on a skydiving lesson. The attractive female instructor says that jumping is better than sex, and Bobby hits on her by correcting "Better than most sex."
- At the conclusion of the "Racing Gravity" segment of the Mythbusters "Demolition Derby" special - during which the Build Team dropped a car from 4,000 feet to find out if a remote-controlled car on the ground could beat it to the mark - Kari Byron claimed she was less excited after her first kiss.
- On Seinfeld, Jerry thinks having an honest car mechanic who doesn't constantly try to rip you off is much more important than sex.
- Veep: When Selina's team manages to confirm a story that a political rival had an affair in the past, Amy cheerfully states that it feels better than having sex herself.
- Narrowly averted in the Babylon 5 episode "GROPOS". After a Bar Brawl in the station casino is brought to an abrupt halt, Pvt. Elizabeth "Dodger" Durman, Earth Alliance Marine Corps, tells Garibaldi, whom she has the hots for, that a fight's "the best thing next to sex."
- On My Name Is Earl, Joy has some fruit punch at a mother-child playgroup meeting. She loudly comments about how the punch is better than sex, and jokes that she's going to need a cigarette after. Naturally, the children repeat what she said...which gets her ostracized by the other moms in the group.
- Averted in Game of Thrones. Khal Moro asks if there is anything better than seeing a beautiful woman naked for the first time, only for his bloodriders to start reciting a laundry list of things that force him to concede it's only in the Top 5.
- In The Good Place, flying is described as feeling like 50 million simultaneous orgasms.
- Estonian rock band Smilers wrote and recorded a song with the title translated as "Football [Soccer] Is Better Than Sex", released on an album with the same name.
- Lou Reed's "Kicks" uses this trope to extol the virtues of cutting people up with a switchblade.
- The Tiger Lillies song "Murder" goes, "Murder is easy, murder is fun. It's better than sex, I always come."
- kill puppies for satan describes the feeling a ghoul has after feeding on a corpse as "about as good as pretty good sex, which is way better than your average ghoul has ever had".
- Vampire: The Masquerade. A vampire explains what it's like drinking blood:
"Imagine drinking the finest champagne and the sensation of the most sensual lovemaking you've ever experienced. Overlay that with the rush the opium fiend feels as he takes that first breath on the pipe, and you begin to have some sense, some tiny, infinitesimal sense of what it feels like to drink the blood of...a living human being."
- Jack from Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines describes drinking blood as better than having sex and taking drugs, although in that world they require roundabout methods for the second (they have to drink the blood of someone on the drug, which requires feeding).
- In Sengoku Rance, Rance gets more satisfaction from finding rare shells than normal sex. This is an extremely unusual example since Rance is a Lovable Sex Maniac and a Harem Seeker.
- Kingdom of Loathing parodies the above-mentioned Better than Sex cake with the less ambitious, but more honest, "Better than Cuddling Cake".
- Katawa Shoujo: While discussing the "Runner's High" with Hisao after a workout, Emi calls it "better than sex", leaving Hisao quite flustered. Considering she turns out to be a Lovable Sex Maniac herself, she was almost certainly saying it just to make him squirm.
- In Bloodborne, the residents of Yharnam find blood so euphoric that you can meet a High-Class Call Girl who gets paid for her blood in lieu of sex. If you direct her to a safe haven, she'll give you vials of her blood for no charge, which (in addition to healing) gives you increased stamina recovery.
- According to Jodie from Loserz, Spider-Man 2 is even better than the best sex she had.
- Cyndi from Penny and Aggie says this phrase in reference to hurting other people.
- In Zodiac, Hell Hound finds burning someone to death "better than any drug or sexual act."
- In The Order of the Stick, Belkar describes a certain Spice thusly;
Belkar: It's like you crystallized the best sex you've ever had with a woman and put it in a tiny bottle on your spice rack. No, wait, it's like you took that spice and snorted it while screwing her hotter sister. In front of her.
- Subverted in Narbonic when Mell returns from a few weeks in Heaven and Hell, where she existed without a body and any physical sensations. She immediately drags her boyfriend off for sex.
Caliban: You know, the radiance of the seraphic host is said to be a far greater ecstasy than—
Mell: Dude. It ain't.
Caliban: I know. Just checking.
- Homestar Runner brings us This Book is Better Than 1st, 2nd, and Quite Possibly Even 3rd Base from the Strong Bad Email "studying."
- In YouTuber Jacksfilms's ShamWow infomercial parody, a lady in a testimonial says this.
- The Spill.com team, who post animated movie reviews, has movie ratings system that ranges from "Some Ole Bulls**t!" (the lowest) right up to "Better Than Sex" (the best).
- SF Debris: apparently, this is how Trip Tucker of Star Trek: Enterprise views the Hamsterdance, to the point where he views it as the only way to improve the experience of making out with Jolene Blalock in a shower scene.
- GotQuestions.com's answer to "Will there be sex in heaven" pretty much boils down to this, as they see sex (within marriage) as just the shadow and copy of the intimacy God wants to have with His people, and that once believers in Jesus Christ pass on from this life to be with Him, they will not need sex because they will have something much better.
- The One Minute Apologist's answer to the same question also comes down to this.
- On Family Guy, when Stewie grows a strong fondness for Flappy Jack's pancakes in the episode "Love Thy Trophy", he at one point insists that the pancakes are better than sex, insinuating a growing addiction to the pancakes that ends with him going through withdrawal by the end of the episode in a send-up of a scene from Trainspotting.
Stewie: It's too bad you can't have any. It's practically orgasmic. [takes a bite] OH YES! YES! OH! OH! YES! YES!Brian: I'll have what he's having.
- And while taunting a dieting Chris with the meatloaf:
- On American Dad!, a magazine for nerds titled "Wizards and Shut-Ins" is shown running the story "500 Reasons Why Krull is Better Than Sex."
- In a Robot Chicken sketch mixing Sesame Street with Wall Street, Kermit the Frog's cousin Gordon the Gecko describes greed as this.
Gordon: See this building behind me? First place I ever bought! Flipped it and made $800,000! It was better than sex!
- On Futurama, when Fry first tastes popplers:
"They're like sex, except I'm having them!"
- Skydivers often describe the free fall as "better than sex". Justified, since facing such situation releases an immense adrenaline rush and a rush of endorphines. Combined to the feeling of weightlessness and sense of flying, many actually do feel that way. Many skydivers are either singles or married to each other, and drop zones are singles' scenes.
- Former Chess World Champion Bobby Fischer described seeing an opponent commit a game-deciding error before finally realizing it as being better than sex. He also once solicited a prostitute and said, "Chess is better."
- In a biographical documentary bearing his surname as its One-Word Title, Stephen Hawking heavily implied this about the joy one feels at the moment of making a scientific discovery.
Hawking (via his speech-synthesizer): I won't compare it to sex, but it lasts longer.