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Coming and Going

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Some smart people claim that humans have only two main foci in life: sex and death. Some other smart people seem to agree and decide to blend these two themes together in the works they produce.

Coming and Going occurs when sex and death are associated closely together by the way the narrative is presented to the audience. It is very similar, though different, to Sex Signals Death, which specifically refers to a sex scene which causes a character's death, either directly or by provoking a genre convention. Coming and Going occurs when a sex act doesn't cause or pre-empt a death, but is linked with it by the way the scenes are framed close together. Often, the lovers will not even be aware of the death and sometimes don't even have any direct connection to the dead/dying character(s).

The intended effect is similar to Life/Death Juxtaposition and Birth-Death Juxtaposition, except this trope focuses on sex itself rather than (respectively) life in general or the specific act of giving birth. Conception may occur, which can often lead to Someone to Remember Him By. Out with a Bang, being a subtrope of Death by Sex, is also closely related. Also compare Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex and Interplay of Sex and Violence.

The Coming and Going theme can be used with numerous tones: to build drama, suspense, ick factor, or just throw the audience a shattering curve ball.

As this is a Death Trope, all spoilers are henceforth unmarked. Beware.


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    Comic Book 
  • Tomboy: Addison brutally attacking the two cops who murdered her "best friend" Nick, killing one of them, is juxtaposed with a flashback of her and Nick having sex.

  • Amélie: Implied. A one-shot extra crosses the name of his recently deceased friend out of his little black book at the exact same moment as the title character's conception (only the sperm entering the egg is shown).
  • Black Christmas (2019): A variant. When Brian has Riley pinned to the altar and is about to kill her, she keeps flashing back to him raping her the year before. Although she ultimately succeeds in fighting him off and killing him this time.
  • In Backdraft Stephen gets to send his fireman into his girlfriend's internal inferno while at that same moment, one of his fire fighter brethren is just about to be critically injured out on a call. Might not quite qualify as the fireman doesn't die, but the theme of fragile mortality is heavy.
  • Cabin Fever:
  • Cemetery Man features a sex scene that takes place in a cemetery, on top of a grave. To top it off, they do it right beside the fresh grave of the young woman's recently deceased husband. Subsequently turns out to be a Sex Siganls Death scene.
  • The Remake of Children of the Corn (2009) has a sex scene completely unrelated to the plot towards the end of the movie. The scene depicts an occult fertility ritual which involves two teens having sex in a church in front of all the Children Of The Corn. The scene is interspliced with scenes of the main character stumbling around a cornfield, encountering dead bodies of the cult members he'd already killed. The two scenes culminate with the hero's cries of anguish blending with the woman's orgasm screams. Strong association with Birth/Death Juxtaposition as the ceremony's explicit purpose was to impregnate the woman. This also implies Someone to Remember Him By with the film's conclusion.
  • In Bram Stoker's Dracula, Jonathan Harker is seduced by three undead lady vampires, though he doesn't actually have any rigor mortus coitus because the Count himself interrupts them. The vampire ladies eat a baby instead.
  • Red Dragon: The killer receives a blowjob while watching video footage of the family he plans to murder.
  • Scent of a Woman: Al Pacino outlines his long weekend plans, the key points on his itinerary being to get laid one last time and soon afterward kill himself. Technically this is neither Sex Signals Death nor Out with a Bang, as the sex and his death (which doesn't actually happen) are two separate events.
  • In Swordfish, the main character is simultaneously given a blow job on orders from the master criminal, while being held at gunpoint by the same guy. He didn't die, but neither did he come.
  • Taking Lives features a sex scene between a lead detective and the star witness, surrounded by crime scene photos of all the murder victims, which are shown briefly in closeup.
  • Team America: World Police: The wild puppet sex scene is immediately followed by a terrorist attack in another country that kills many people.
  • In Excalibur, Merlin shapeshifts Uther into a likeness of Cornwall so that he can have his way with Cornwall's wife, Igrayne, while the real Cornwall is ambushed and mortally wounded by Uther's men. The camera cuts back and forth between the bedroom, where Uther is sating his lust for Igrayne, and the battlefield, where Cornwall lies dying.
  • Enter the Void juxtaposes the protagonist's death with his sister having sex with the strip club owner.
  • In Dave President Mitchell is having sex with one of his secretaries, has a massive stroke and collapses atop her.
  • Vet Hard: Katja and Koen cuddling in bed post-sex is intercut with Mast going into cardiac arrest and getting CPR.
  • In Embrace of the Vampire (2013), Charlotte and Sarah start getting hot and heavy in the dorm corridor while the groundskeeper is being brutally murdered outside. The film keeps cutting back and forth between the two events.
  • More Than Ever: How to feel about sex when one partner has a deadly illness is a recurring motif. Early on Hélène and Matthiew try to have sex but she needs to bow out because she can't breathe, frustrating her. They have a much more fulfilling encounter near the end of the film, despite the fact that — or because — Hélène has accepted her likely death.

  • In Adrian Mole, Adrian lampshades this trope when Bert Baxter's second wife Queenie dies soon after Rosie is born.
    I suppose there is a certain logic to life and death. Rosie was born and Queenie had to make way for her.
  • In The Grapes of Wrath, Connie (a guy) and Rose of Sharon have sex on the last leg of their ride into California. When they arrive they discover that Grandma Joad has died, and Rose of Sharon is horrified to realize the two events happened at the same time.
  • In A Brother's Price, Mother Elder Whistler was in bed with her husband Tullen the night before he fell down the stairs and died. At least she has Someone to Remember Him By, which is quite the big deal in the setting, as men are rare and hard to come by, and it is the last child she'll ever have if she doesn't want to risk to catch an STD.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Edmure Tully is Distracted by the Sexy while bedding his new wife Roslin Frey... as the Red Wedding occurs just down the hall, the Freys proceeding to wipe out Robb Stark, his mother (who is Edmure's sister), his wolf, and his bannermen.
  • The Unknown Soldier: This trope is arguably a major overarching element in the whole story, which tells about war and death, but is full of life and sex - and sex dreams. Most obviously when Private Salonen dies and the others comment on it: "All that's lost is life received through fucking."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Castle: Vaguely. In one episode, the prime suspect's alibi for his best friend's murder is the confession that he was having sex with the victim's wife at the time.
  • True Blood juxtaposes Sam making love to Luna with his brother Tommy taking a fatal beating on Sam's behalf from Luna's jealous ex-husband.
  • The Teaser of one CSI episode intercut the murder of the week with Catherine having mad passionate sex with her then-boyfriend Detective Lou Vartann.
  • An episode of Without a Trace does something similar, going from the terrifying scene of the victims of the week being abducted to the hot scene of two agents going at it before they're interrupted by a phone call alerting them about the case.
  • In the seventh episode of How to Get Away with Murder, Wes and Rebecca have sex for the first time. At the same time — and the scene cuts back and forth so you don't forget it — Lila Stangard's body is exhumed and a second autopsy is performed on her.
  • In the first season Schitt's Creek episode "Carl's Funeral", Johnny and Moira and many townies attend the funeral of Bob's brother Carl, and Stevie and David get stoned and begin their brief sexual affair.
  • In the third episode of Stranger Things, a scene of Steve and Nancy having sex for the first time is interspersed with a scene of Barb running from and eventually being killed by the demogorgon in the Upside Down.
  • Guiding Light's Super Couple Alan-Michael and Lucy consummate their relationship. As they bask in the afterglow, she tells him that she's relieved to have finally put her rape behind her. The very next scene is of her rapist (who's been stalking her, unknown to her) murdering someone who's just caught him in the act.
  • Discussed and Subverted in the final episode of the sixth season of Still Game titled "One In, One Out". Following the birth of Tam and Frances' baby, Jack ends up in hospital after taking a fall while babysitting the baby. After being told he'll need a surgery that could go either way, Jack theorises that it's the Man upstairs making a balance, as a new life is in Craiglang, one life has to go. He survives the surgery, though not without a Near-Death Experience that Victor forces him out of.
  • Condor: Joubert, a nymphomaniac, likes seducing and sleeping with men whom she's been hired to kill. It's not to get them vulnerable so she can do that, but just some twisted thrill of hers.
  • The L Word: Shane and Carmen are having sex at the same time Dana's dying.
  • Vikings: At the same time Bjorn and Astrid are having sex, Lagertha conducts a human sacrifice. There is nothing subtle in the fact that two kinds of penetration occur at the same time, since Lagertha impales the man she sacrifices quite slowly on a sword while Bjorn is with Astrid, and they're juxtaposed.
  • The Wheel of Time (2021): In Fal Dara, while they know a Trolloc army is coming which may kill them and many other people, Nynaeve has sex for the first time with Lan. Rand and Egwene too have sex (though they're already lovers). All of them are no doubt aware it could be the last time they can do this (though they all survive).


  • The Bible: More like Love and Death in the Song of Songs, but anyway, in Song 8:6...
    Set me as a seal upon your heart,
    as a seal upon your arm;
    for love is strong as death,
    passion fierce as the grave.
    Its fires of desire are as ardent flames,
    a most intense flame.

    Video Games 

Alternative Title(s): Sex Death Juxtaposition