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Dirty Mind-Reading

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...And that's how Sasha learned where babies come from.

Kerrigan: Captain Raynor, I've finished scouting out the area and... You pig!
Raynor: What? I haven't even said anything to you yet!
Kerrigan: Yeah, but you were thinking it.
Raynor: Oh, yeah, you're a telepath. Look, let's just get on with this, okay?

Congratulations, You have just acquired the amazing superpower of Telepathy! Now you can peek into the innermost thoughts of your friends and enemies whenever you want. Isn't that awesome?

There's a bit of a problem here, though. You see, people tend to think about sex. A lot, in fact. And sometimes their thoughts involve sex with you, whether you like it or not. So, guess what you're going to find when you start mind-probing people out of curiosity?


This isn't always the fault of the mind-reader, however. Sometimes the telepath can't control their powers. Other times, it's part of an implied lesson in using one's power responsibly and the presence of this trope is simply karmic justice.

For bonus points, have him accidentally read the mind of someone in the next room actually having sex, which can lead to Sex by Proxy. A subtrope of A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read, though often played for comedy as well. See also Forgot About the Mind Reader, My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That, Imagine Spotting.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • An episode of City Hunter has Sara, Ryo's client, that is a young girl with a unique telepathic ability to read minds. The young girl is entranced by Ryo and his abilities, despite the fact that his mind is filled with "Mokkori" most of the time.
  • An unusually friendly version is implied in Fairy Tail when Cobra reads Natsu's mind, then they both start laughing. Happy asks what's so funny, and Natsu tells him "I'll explain it when you're older."
  • This is how an Elite Mook with a mind-reading madogu in Flame of Recca is defeated by Domon—she suffers a wardrobe malfunction and all Domon can think of after that is "BOOBS!"
  • In High School D×D, Issei's Bilingualnote  fails on Sairaorg's Bishop because she's willing to strip in front of Issei. Yes, her breasts tell which clothing she's going to strip next.
  • This is actually the least of problems for Kotoura-san's Haruka, as out of the few people that are willing to stand by her, Manabe and her grandfather Zenzan have sexual fantasies towards her. Provided everyone else she'd ever known was afraid of or hated her for her powers, she's willing to put up with it. Manabe actually invokes this in Kotoura to get her to stop avoiding him in the first episode, and continues to do so throughout the show just to tease her. Haruka's general reaction to this is to immediately start hitting him while wearing a red face. In fact, Manabe only likes to fantasize about her when he knows she's able to see it.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has a scene during Instrumentality where Shinji stumbles onto a memory of Misato's from when she was in her college days—in particular, when she skipped classes to have a week-long sex romp with Kaji. Misato freaks out about how she doesn't want Shinji to see her "like that", but Shinji just seems numb (or perhaps entranced).
    • End of Evangelion also (maybe) has Asuka finding out from Shinji's memories what he did over her comatose body.note  She wasn't pleased, though she was also astonishingly civil about it, given her tsundere nature.
  • In One Piece, Violet, a Anti Villainess from the Dressrosa arc, uses her Devil Fruit power of telepathy to look into the mind of a captured and beaten Straw Hats crew member for information. The member in question is none other than Sanji, so understandably she's quite shocked to see how many lewd thoughts run in his head, even in a situation like this.
  • Satori of Ranma ½ has the ability to read minds and he is not happy when the Saotomes and Tendos don't believe him. So, to prove that he can, he decides to read one of their minds and then tell them their thoughts. Unfortunately for him, he happens to choose Happosai's. It was so bad that Satori had a nosebleed and fainted.
  • School Rumble has a weird example, in that Yakumo can't read everyone's minds, only those in love with her. However, she's very beautiful, and half the male population is head-over-heels for her, yet she's never heard anything dirty, but she just finds their obsession intimidating. She also finds Hanai carrying what's left of Nishimoto's Porn Stash.
  • The heroine in Telepathic Wanderers is both good-looking and telepathic. Knowing a lot of people are fantasizing about raping her drives her to become a hermit.
  • Yo-Kai Watch has a G-rated version of this where Nate defeats the mind-reading Espy with thoughts of having to go to the bathroom and rapidly pulling his pants up and down, humiliating her to this effect.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Yusuke and company force a mind reader to help them find whoever is opening up the portal to the demon world, telling him to listen for anything strange. What he comes up with is a lusty "That girl's thinking about getting it on with her teacher, dammit!"

    Comic Books 
  • In the tie-in comic book for City of Heroes, the psychic superheroine, Sister Psyche, was disgusted to hear the thoughts that a teenage boy was having of her. Strange, since being sixty years old should have given her more time to get used to it... or at least to choose a costume that wasn't absurdly Stripperific.
  • Persha of The First has the power to see through the eyes of others. She sometimes uses it to keep track of her scheming mother Ingra, who is The Vamp. Sometimes, Ingra's... busy.
  • Gambit deliberately invokes this trope to keep telepaths out of his mind. These aren't just any dirty thoughts, though, no... they involve the Blob.
  • Her daughter Rachel Summers, reacts to this in an issue of Excalibur, during the Cross-Time Caper story (where Excalibur were bounced around the multiverse), from a version of Nigel Frobisher - a creep in the 616 'verse who's obsessed with Rachel, and apparently a creep throughout the multiverse. This results in her very suddenly tarring & feathering him. We never find out what the exact thoughts were, but when Brian Braddock (Captain Britain) rebukes Rachel for her behaviour - they are, after all, guests - she shows them to him by way of explanation. Cue an expression of shock from Brian. Cut to the next panel where his temper slips as well and it takes his entire team to prevent him turning alt!Frobisher into a greasy smear.
  • An issue of Ultimate Spider-Man plays with this. As Spidey is meeting the X-Men for the first time, Jean Grey compliments him for being the first guy who didn't immediately imagine her naked, which he hadn't... until she put the idea of doing so into his head. The next page and a half is her getting more and more annoyed as Spidey desperately tries to stop imagining her naked.
  • In Ultimate X-Men the same Jean Grey, immediately after meeting Kitty Pride and telling her she's a telepath, says not to worry about the dirty thoughts that come straight to the top of her mind as Kitty instinctively thinks about what to try to hide. Apparently everyone else does the same thing.
  • Poor Jean has this happen yet again in one issue of the main-continuity X-Men... as she narrates about the woes of telepathy, she mostly picks up on people's petty greed, anger, and resentment, but one sales clerk is thinking, "Please walk up and down my chest in six-inch stilletto heels...."
    • During the The Dark Phoenix Saga Jean uses her powers to scan the minds of the audience at Dazzler's concert and finds that part of her is actually enjoying their sleazy and obscene thoughts. It's an early indication that Jean's starting to succumb to her darker impulses and losing control of the Phoenix.
  • A more innocent version happens to Jean in the comic tie-in for X-Men: Evolution. As she's being recruited into the school, she's reading the thoughts of those around her. The only thought going through Scott's head as he gazes at her for several panels is; "Wow".
  • Prodigy absorbed the knowledge of the other X-Men; in Young Avengers he remarks on all the... overly personal knowledge that includes. "I know how Emma Frost and Scott Summers like to kiss each other. I know how all the major X-Men like to wipe themselves."

  • The Tin Man fanfic, Brother Raw Explains It All For You, uses a version of it. Raw isn't sure quite what to make of the truly strange emotions coming from two of his human friends, as Viewers handle the whole mating thing much differently. Unfortunately for him, he finds out.
    Raw didn't get any sleep after all that night. He ended up pacing his room. This was worse than when the females went into season.
  • Animorphs:
    • In Dæmorphing, when Tobias morphs a Yeerk and infests Loren to see if she's trustworthy, he accidentally comes across her memories of having sex.
    • Discussed in Eleutherophobia: The Day the Earth Stood Still. Tom thinks about sex for the first time in over three years while waiting for his parents to be released from custody, now that he doesn't have a Puppeteer Parasite to witness it.
    • In What if the Yeerks Were the Good Guys?, Temrash mentions that since Tom is a hormonal teenager, he's been forced to watch some... interesting dreams.
  • Child of the Storm has Harry during his tutelage by Betsy. Since he's a 13-year-old boy and she is a very attractive woman in, as his telepathic teacher, a very intimate situation, the inevitable result is that Harry ends up very embarrassed indeed and has a great deal of incentive to mask his thoughts. Betsy, who is fond of Harry in a big sisterly sort of way, mostly just seems to find it funny and gently teases him about it. As she matter-of-factly points out, she's kind of used to it since she has/had a psi-link to her twin brother, so had to get very good at blocking things out when he hit puberty.
    • There's also an amusing, Ship Tease heavy example in chapter 1 of the sequel, Ghosts of the Past, which homages another example on this page, The Girl In The Fireplace, between Harry and Carol when he's trying to help her with nightmares and what with the two being teens with UST in nightwear, Hilarity Ensues.
    • Later, also between Harry and Carol, the two have another, similar, Sleep Cute scene, where the snuggling is only semi-platonic (i.e. it would be romantic, but they both have too much baggage to take into a relationship). This is followed by Carol waking up the next morning, not quite remembering the details of last night, then hearing Harry using the shower in her bathroom... and immediately jumps to some hilarious and very wrong conclusions about what they did, with the attendant mental imagery. Since they have a psychic link and Harry's not far away, these thoughts are beamed straight into his head. While he's in the shower. Cue a startled slip and a lot of swearing.
    • Even later, after they've finally got together, they go to the Yule Ball and Carol - noticing the presence of Doctor Strange - naturally assumes that something's going to go wrong and wonders if she'll have time to put on some pants. Since 'pants' in British English means 'underpants', Harry's mind immediately goes somewhere very dirty, which she immediately picks up on. Thankfully, by this point, she mostly just finds it funny.
  • In Chimera Luck when Draco's Chimera powers begin to manifest, he accidentally reads the minds of a couple of dormmates and is displeased to find Blaise having an Erotic Dream about Ron, while Vincent's is about Argus Filch.

  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Empath's Honeymoon", Smurfette develops a telepathic bond between herself and Empath after their first night alone with each other, and can thus sense whenever her husband has dirty thoughts about her, such as when she fell into a chocolate mud pool and she emerges all brown and sticky, with her husband just standing around and staring at her.
  • In Forward, Jayne deliberately thinks dirty thoughts about River to get her attention when they couldn't talk.
  • Tends to show up in Golden Sun Kink Meme prompts and fills, especially when Ivan (noted for being rather fond of his mind reading powers in canon) is half the pairing. Possibly nodded to in Dark Dawn, when it's noted that Ivan is no longer quite so thrilled with his mind reading powers.
  • This Gravity Falls fancomic features a slight variant: Bill enters Soos' mind and sees a... strange memory. Involving a sub sandwich.
  • Growing Up Cullen:
  • A Firefly fic, He's Got a Secret, Jayne has gotten angry at River for what she says while he’s getting his shot up butt fixed by Simon because he’s ashamed he was molested as a child. River yells back that she doesn’t go digging because he broadcasts his thoughts and she mentions his thoughts about having sex with her. Simon seems like he’s about to say My Sister Is Off-Limits, but River defuses it by saying it’s basic evolutionary strategy and she won’t gossip to anyone else.
  • The Heart in Dishonored has the power to reveal secrets when pointed at someone. It's also sentient, and in Heard It Through The Heart Line, enjoys trolling Corvo by exposing embarrassing secrets. Corvo is forced to keep a straight face as he learns about the myriad sex lives and fantasies (some of which involve him) of his comrades, but what sets him off is learning that Admiral Farley Havelock was nicknamed 'Farty' in school.
  • Inverted in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. Any time the four think their minds are being read, they deliberately think things like “Fuck you!” to see if the supposed telepath reacts. Most of the time nothing results, so either their minds are not being read, or the telepaths are inured to that kind of thing.
    • Except when the unfortunate John has an extremely one-sided telepathic conversation with Trelayna, where she first chides him for using profanity in his thoughts, then yells at him for slandering her with half-formed ideas.
  • Kill Them All:
    • Taylor eventually gains the power to read minds and is very annoyed by how smutty most people's thought are. She blames the internet after visiting a few pre-internet realities and seeing the people were noticeably less filthy-minded.
    • Clockblocker saw Taylor fighting in the nude several times and after learning about her mind reading is very concerned. He worries that when he sees her next he'll think about her butt, and then she'll read his mind and see he's thinking about her butt.
  • In the Kim Possible story Nights In The Big City, the Sensei of the Yamanouchi ninja academy says that because of the monkey spirit's sense of humour, "I have been given the ability to read minds, but only when they are in the gutter".
  • When Lily is learning to shield her mind from intrusion in The Peace Not Promised, she deliberately takes the opportunity to flirt with Severus.
  • Chapter 30 of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has Ash doing some training with Anabel, and apologizing to her because it was Iris' idea and he didn't think she would drag her (and Misty) to it too. Unfortunately, he recalls when he and Iris bathed together under a waterfall, and being a telepath, Anabel accidentally sees the memory. They both blush in unison.
  • Stars From Home: Charles is hesitant to read Scott's mind after accidentally reading his thoughts when he "did what all teenage boys do".
  • This trope plagues poor Satori Komeiji in Touhou Project fanworks, sometimes freaking her out or getting to her, other times subverting this with Satori getting bored with dirty thoughts due to overexposure. Since subconscious desire is a massive part of Freud's theories of psychology, this trope also gets used by her sister, Koishi, though she tends to be portrayed as less bothered by it. Or, indeed, anything.
  • Deliberately used from time to time in Undocumented Features as a quick-and-dirty test for psi powers.
    MegaZone: OK, you didn't hit me. You're not telepathic.

  • Queenie Goldstein, a psychic from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, reads what men think of her in their minds, but it doesn't seem to bother her.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Mantis reads Peter’s emotions and proceeds to blurt out how he has “sexual feelings” for Gamora... while Gamora is sitting right next to him...
  • In the Unrated Edition of Pretty Cool, Howard uses his mind control powers on his sister's friends for some of this, but to be fair, it is while he's having sex with them.
  • In The Film of the Book A Scanner Darkly, although it's only part of his own drug-induced hallucinations, Freck is able to see Barris's thoughts as he fantasizes about a pretty waitress undressing herself.
  • Dirty Object Reading variant: This is a Running Gag in the 1988 movie Vibes.
    Nick: This is cold. Right out of the package. Never been used. (sets the knife down and picks up another)
    Male Professor: Amazing.
    Nick: This is from the cafeteria here at the college. Oh, remind me not to eat here. (he sets it down and picks up another knife) This is... oh God... oh Jesus...
    Female Professor: Yes?
    Nick: (throws down the knife) A woman... her husband's back... eight... nine times!
    Female Professor: Yes, we know.
    Nick: You know? How could you give that to me? Don't you know how hard it is for me to have to see things like that?!
    Male Professor: We have to test you. In science...
    Nick: Now I won't be able to sleep! What a sight! His... oh... (lowers his head to the table but then suddenly lifts it back up) Someone has had sex on this table.
    (the professors glance at each other guiltily)
    Female Professor: Thank you Mr. Deezy, that will be enough for today.
  • X-Men Film Series
    Jean Grey: Logan, you're making me blush...
    Wolverine: Are you reading my thoughts?
    Jean Grey: I don't have to.
    • In the first movie he convinces her to read his thoughts using this trope.
    Wolverine: C'mon. Afraid you might like it?

  • The Warhammer novel Beasts in Velvet has a "scryer" as its protagonist. Since this is the Warhammer world and her powers freak everyone out, she divides men into the ones who want to screw her and the ones who want to burn her at the stake.
  • This is one of the reasons why the Veritas drug is illegal to non-Truthsayers in Blindfold. Only they are not only conditioned from even before they're born to use the drug to its full effect but also trained to only use it in the name of justice and only with the consent of the person wishing to be mind-read. Ordinary people are only able to use it for a few seconds, and their desires tend to be... less noble. Landholder Franz Dokken stages a public punishment for a young couple, who tried to use Veritas to read one another's mind during sex, admonishing them for their reckless disregard for the law. Then he himself does this while having sex with his mistress. To his anger, he discovers that she's fantasizing about having sex with his cook and kills her on the spot.
  • Dave Duncan's book Cursed has a family traveling in the country come through an area where an exiled telepath is hiding. Several erotic thoughts are revealed, although no names are associated with the thinkers directly. Other thoughts are revealed as well, and the patriarch decides that having a telepath living outside their enclave will be beneficial to both parties: the telepath would have food, clothing, etc., while the enclave would have a guardian to alert them to invaders or thieves.
  • Joshua from Dora Wilk Series is an empath, like all angels, and the ability increases after he forms mind bond with two of his friends. Unluckily for him, Dora and Miron have a lot of UST between them and he ends up feeling every part of it. It culminates when Dora and Miron finally have sex. He's asleep at the time in the next room and ends up dreaming the entire thing from Dora's perspective. Ultimately played for laughs, though, when Miron suggests that the next time Joshua (who Can't Have Sex, Ever) can watch... only maybe from Miron's perspective.
  • In The Dresden Files, Molly tries to examine a dead woman's last memories to help solve her murder. The woman was killed by a White Court Vampire. She got this trope. Yeah she did. It lead to this memorable exchange:
    Dresden: She got something.
    Butters: She got something, all right. I haven't gotten anything like that in two years.
  • In Dying Inside, the main character can read minds. His equally telepathic roommate sweeps the building for any bored women one day when their apartment is snowed in.
  • In The Empress Game, it's done second-hand. Contrary to what Malkor thinks, Kayla can't read his mind, but Corinth can, and his comments indicate that Malkor's thoughts about Kayla are along these lines.
    Corinth: It's a loop between "Can she read my thoughts? Is she doing it right now?" and "Shit! Don't think that! What if she heard it?" [...] [awkwardly] Oh. Oh, wow. He definitely doesn't want you to hear that. I'm not sharing that one.
  • For an example of this trope played extremely darkly, there's a book called Fall to Grace wherein the protagonist, Jiro, gains super powers on his tenth birthday. One of them is mind reading, and he can't really shut it off at first. Jiro hears his father's thoughts as he masturbates, and it's a fantasy about raping his son. Cue running away and, when he meets his father again later on, blind panic that leads Jiro to telekinetically throw three chairs, a frying pan and a couch at him.
  • Invoked in Garrett, P.I.'s Angry Lead Skies, where Garrett encounters a strange race of aliens silver elves. Informed that the female he's confronting may be a telepath, he tests this idea by deliberately picturing the two of them having vigorous sex, then watching her shocked reaction.
  • In The Girl from the Miracles District, Freya enjoys flirting with people and then revealing that she can read their minds and has just heard all the dirty thoughts they had about her.
  • Graceling Realm: Fire, being a monster, can read the minds of people around her that don't guard their thoughts. As she is supernaturally beautiful, a lot of thoughts are sexual in nature and revolve around her.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry is trying to learn Occlumency, the ability to block mind-reading, from Snape, which naturally involves Snape trying to read his mind. Harry also recently had his First Kiss, and freaks out and manages to repel Snape (incorrectly) when he's about to see that memory.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar novels, people with strong enough "Mindspeech/Mindhearing" or "Empathy" can listen in on another's amorous encounters — sometimes even when they're trying to screen it out.
  • A recurring trope in Hive Mind (2016), whose main character is a telepath who works in law enforcement. Her boyfriend teasing her by imagining them having sex is fine, if somewhat embarrassing; the necrophiliac is less so.
  • In InCryptid, Sarah mentions this as one of the downsides of being a telepath.
  • A Downplayed Trope example in the Young Adult Jack Bishop novels by Steve Diamond. Alexandra Courtney is quite jaded as a teenager since every one of her classmates thinks about nothing but sex but all of them are desperately trying to hide it.
  • Jarlaxle invokes this trope in Legacy of the Drow Series' Siege of Darkness when being mind-read by the head of House Oblodra, a priestess/psion. She quickly retreated from his mind. Usually he wears a magic item to prevent such scans, but there was a worldwide disruption of magical energies going on at the time.
  • Irsil in Mission Levity gets a dose of this as a result of exhaustion-caused Power Incontinence. She is not happy about seeing her captain having Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex in the next room when all she wanted was a relaxing bath.
  • Stephen King's The Shining has an early scene where Danny Torrance notices a female hotel guest watching a bellhop and thinking she'd "like to get into his pants." This leads to a kind of Entendre Failure, as five-year-old Danny can't understand why she doesn't just get some pants of her own to wear instead of taking his.
  • This is the reason why Sookie Stackhouse hasn't had a boyfriend until she met Bill Compton. She can't control her Psychic Powers, so any guy she meets (except LaFayette, of course) immediately starts imagining what they'd like to do with her, and she hears all the dirty details. Bill, being a vampire, has no brainwaves and can't be read, which attracts her more than anything.
    • And if she tries to be intimate with a normal human, she can hear every little thought that passes through his head. She's commented that those thoughts are more along the lines of "what huge thighs" or "is that a birthmark?" than sweet flattering nothings. Also, Sookie doesn't want to know what the significant others of the bar patrons look like naked.
    • In one of the latter books, Andy Bellefleur intentionally invokes this, in order to find out if "the rumors were true" about Sookie. When Sookie picks up on his thoughts, she slaps him hard, more for the fact that he did that on purpose, rather than simply asking her about her abilities.
  • In Touch, thirteen-year-old empath Caspar usually feels uncomfortable when he can sense people's romantic or sexual feelings, which are described as feeling warm and occasionally "icky." Notably, the first story arc kicks off when he senses what he's fairly sure is a child being molested.
    • Played creepily when he meets Father, a pedophile with the power to induce Mind Controlling levels of happiness. (Don't worry, he snaps out of it before things get beyond a kiss.)
    ...within the man’s mind, he felt a momentary trace of the same warmth he’d felt in a hundred minds before, the slight, tingling thrill of attraction. He let out a small laugh at that, completely ignoring it as the shouting in the back of his mind grew just the tiniest bit louder. He liked that the man felt that way; wondered if he could use it to repay him, somehow.
  • When Edward of The Twilight Saga reveals his telepathy to Bella, he mentions that most of the people around them are thinking of either sex or money. Except one, who was thinking about their cat. It's also made pretty clear that this is one of the least pleasant parts of the high school experience. He can hear everybody's pointless horny thoughts... as well as much later hear the thoughts of a gang of thugs who were going to rape the girl he loves. Fortunately, he was nearby to rescue her.
  • Inverted in Wet Goddess: Ruby the bottlenose dolphin reads Zack's mind and is terrified when he shows her the full range of humans' sexual taboos and inhibitions.
  • The Wheel of Time: The Sword and Sorcerer Warder bond creates a Psychic Link, so when Rand and Elayne consummate their relationship, they inadvertently broadcast the whole experience to the three other people with whom they're bonded, who promptly get roaring drunk together in an attempt to drown it out.
  • In one of the Xanth novels, three of the young characters need to join the Adult Conspiracy (i.e. learn about sex) before obtaining a magical MacGuffin that will allow one of them to lead a tribe of goblins. This is because said character is nearly blind, and the item she needs is a set of magical contact lenses that will not only fix her vision, but allow her to see into the thoughts and daydreams of others. Including the naughty ones. It was determined that she had best learn about sex the mature way, rather than from seeing the filthy thoughts of the average goblin male.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • There is a scene where Garibaldi gets into an elevator behind Talia Winters, a very attractive woman who is also a powerful telepath. She explains to another passenger, "I can screen out everyone's thoughts unless they are very strong." A few seconds later, she elbows Garibaldi in the gut. After she leaves, his response to that is priceless: "I think I'm in love."
    • An earlier episode had Talia helping Sinclair mediate negotiations between Londo and G'Kar. Since Londo had just come from spending the night with his mistress, his thoughts were quite erotic.
  • The Boys (2019). Mesmer, a Former Child Star who can read minds, is at a fan convention. A female fan encourages him to shake her hand so he can read her mind. After doing so he replies that he'd been thinking the same thing, and writes his phone number on the DVD she's given him to sign.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy gets mind-reading powers in "Earshot" and quickly discovers just how often men think about sex.
    • It starts in the school hallway where she picks up on a guy thinking some very flattering things about her looks. She preens a bit until the thoughts go from "she's so beautiful" to "I'd love to shove her against that locker right now and just..." at which points she hurries away.
    • Also in that episode, Xander.
      Xander: (in his thoughts) What am I gonna do? I think about sex all the time! Sex! Help! Four times five is 30. Five times six is 32. Naked girls. Naked women! Heh, naked Buffy! Oh, stop me!
      Buffy: God, Xander! Is that all you think about?
      Xander: Actually... bye. (bolts from the library)
    • Don't forget Wesley. Right after warning everyone that they'll probably be thinking exactly what they don't want Buffy to know, he goes on a tangent about Cordelia and how he's a "bad, bad man." All Buffy has to do is raise her eyebrows at him for him to flee immediately.
    • Subverted in the case of Oz, who becomes philosophical about the whole matter and begins pondering things like "If my thoughts exist in Buffy's mind, does that mean I exist in Buffy's mind, and that Buffy is me?"
    • Even Buffy's mom isn't immune. She thinks about having sex with Giles in "Band Candy", because she worries about Buffy finding out.
    • Illyria is only an empath, but as soon as Connor enters the room, she reports, "This one is lusting after me." Perhaps not a surprise, given what she wears.
  • A fairly squicky Charmed example: shortly after Phoebe becomes an empath, she's trying to talk to her sister Piper when a man begins to check Piper out. Phoebe feels his attraction for her sister—apparently as if it belonged to her—becomes flustered, and has to shoo him out.
    • This becomes a plot point in a later season 6 episode where Phoebe wonders if all her boyfriend Jason wants from her is sex due to the intense lust she feels from him whenever she walks into the room.
    • Before that, in season 3 Prue temporarily becomes an empath as well. Already stressed from the experience, she feels Piper and Leo starting to make out in the other room, and shouts out "Not now, I have a headache" loud enough for them to hear and stop in confusion.
    • In that same episode, Prue enters the manor at the same time Cole is leaving, and is nearly knocked off of her feet when she feels the mutual love connection between Cole and Phoebe.
  • Doctor Who:
  • In Firefly, River suffers a brush with this in the episode "Objects In Space", where she comes across Zoe and Wash making out on the bridge. Her... reaction... to it says everything; she starts swaying, mouth opening and closing, and her hands start rubbing her arms, and she's forced to retreat very quickly.
  • Heroes has Matt Parkman. He reads his wife and coworker's minds and finds out that they're sleeping together. Although this wasn't intentional on his part, it's still dirty mind reading, since he learned about his coworker's sex life, and his wife's.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981): The Belcerebon people of Kakrafoon Kappa had telepathy inflicted on them - the cruellest social disease known to sentient creatures - in just vengeance for their being perceived as tranquil and at peace with themselves. The animation of the Book shows one Belcerebon radiating mind-waves and another's jaw dropping open in wide-eyed shock and disgust at what he or she is picking up. As Douglas Adams remarked, the only way of shutting it out and getting some peace back is to play host to heavy metal gigs such as that of Disaster Area.
  • Kelly from Misfits, a telepath, has the dubious honour of hearing the horny thoughts of the men around her. She hears Nathan's so often it becomes a bit of a Running Gag. She also picks up on the horny thoughts of her dog (she appears to give him up immediately after getting her powers as a result) as well as the romantic feelings of a particular gorilla.
  • The empath character on Mutant X had to ask teammates to stop thinking such thoughts about her on (oddly only a few) occasions.
  • This happens to George in My Hero (2000). He discovers that Piers thinks about sex ALL the time (Even while draining a cyst) and catches his cousin thinking "Boy, is she hot" about Janet.
  • In Something Is Out There (a short-lived sci-fi series on NBC), the alien protagonist Ta'Ra is telepathic; unfortunately she's also a hot chick so she's constantly annoyed over how these Earth people want to "do that with her body" (her species has a somewhat different way of making love).
  • Star Trek:
    "Glistening green, almost like secret dreams a bored ship captain might have..."
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • Lwaxana Troi read some dirty thoughts from Picard, or at least claimed to for the sake of messing with his head. She also mentions at one point that her former valet's thoughts about her were almost pornographic.
      • In the Peter David novel Q-in-Law, Q is (or at least pretends to be) appalled when Lwaxana mentions the above. Q says this is because, for a Q at least, thinking about something is the same thing as doing it, more or less.
      • In one episode, Picard and Crusher were implanted with chips in their heads that ended up sending each other their thoughts. On the run and camping out, it leads to a very intimate conversation about how their Unresolved Sexual Tension, but they agree not to act on it. Crusher later told Picard that she read his thoughts when he went to sleep after that and started dreaming, prompting Picard to say that he cannot be held responsible for his unconscious thoughts.
    • Star Trek: Voyager:
  • In the Torchwood episode "Greeks Bearing Gifts", Toshiko wears a mind-reading pendant to work and learns far more than she cares to about Gwen and Owen's illicit affair. Fortunately for her, Captain Jack is immune to the pendant's effects.
  • As mentioned in the Literature section, Sookie from True Blood has this problem, due to her difficulty screening out people's thoughts.
    Ever stand in line at the bank and hear the guy behind you thinking of how he wants to suck your toes?!

  • Sam McGee's "Railroad Blues'':
    I met a little gypsy in a fortune telling place
    I met a little gypsy in a fortune telling place
    She read my mind, then she slapped my face, woo

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In a few early Dilbert strips, Dilbert goes on a blind date with a two-headed telepath. It doesn't go well.
    Dilbert: Must not think anything naughty, must not think anything naughty — [the woman's faces freeze in horror] — Oops.
    Dilbert: I must admit, this is the first time I've been on a date with a two-headed telepath. Now I'm sure some of the thoughts you're picking up seem strange and disturbing, but I assure you, these are perfectly normal thoughts for a guy — [the woman grabs the tablecloth in disgust and horror] — Well, maybe not that last one.
    • In another strip, when the cast is informed that the company has been sold to telepathic reptilian aliens, Wally says he's not worried since reading his mind will cause the aliens to go blind.

    Theme Parks 
  • At Universal Studios:
    • The former Ghostbusters Spooktacular show had a pre-show where Louis Tully demonstrated the team's technology on guests, one of which being a mind-reading helmet. When put on a male participant, the helmet showed that he was thinking of things like being surrounded by supermodels or wearing a wedding dress.
    • At the park's Halloween Horror Nights event, the Academy of Villains: House of Fear show from 2016 had a scene where one of the characters put a dream-reading helmet on an asylum inmate, and what was shown first as a result was a Sexy Silhouette of a naked woman dancing.

    Video Games 
  • Cole from Dragon Age: Inquisition is a spiritual entity from the Fade - in broad strokes, the realm of imagination, dreams, concepts, and thoughts - and has the ability to read minds as a result. He also has No Social Skills and tends to describe the things he reads off of people out loud without thinking much of it, which can result in party banter that involves him asking questions about or airing out the sex lives of his fellow Inquisition officials.
    The Iron Bull: Do you mind, kid? If you take away the mystery, it's not quite as hot.
  • In Dragon Ball Fighter Z, after Piccolo is rescued, Bulma tries to explain the situation with the clones and spirit linking to him, but he tells her that he already got all of that information by reading her mind. She then wonders what else he could have taken from her while he was mind-reading, and Piccolo casually mentions that he might have looked at memories of her taking a bath.
  • Invoked by Mint in Galaxy Angel Moonlit Lover, Vanilla route. While Tact and Vanilla did share some intimate moments (not that way; Tact just got his ears cleaned), Mint invokes this trope with some very careful wording, leading both Ranpha and Forte to be very visibly excited over the prospect. Naturally, Milfie and Chitose fail to get it.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series lets the player invoke this at one point by having Star-Lord think dirty thoughts when Mantis reads his mind. Mantis, for her part, seems both embarrassed and slightly amused.
  • Subverted in Kid Icarus: Uprising; when Palutena directs Pit to a stash of treasure in the second level, Pit asks her how she knows this. Palutena says that she can analyze the situation through Pit's laurels, then tells Pit that she can also use them to read Pit's thoughts while warning him that he better not be thinking of anything "naughty." But when Pit promptly sheepishly denies any impure thoughts, Palutena says she was kidding about the whole thing with the laurels.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Kreia's bond with the Jedi Exile sometimes veers into this territory, with the old bag lecturing about "base thoughts" and "indignities." However, one also wonders if that misplaced Bene Gesserit is getting her kicks by it, as she's talking about it a lot.
  • Psycho Mantis laments his telepathy in his Final Speech in Metal Gear Solid, particularly, "how everyone thinks of only one thing". It disgusts him that all humans are seemingly hard-wired with the mindless, atavistic desire to pass on their genes.
  • After recruiting supernatural Casanova Gannayev to your party in Neverwinter Nights 2's Mask of the Betrayer, prison warden Tirzah the Old sends him off with a bitter good riddance and hopes that she never has to deal with him again. At this, Gannayev asks how she can really be so happy to get rid of him when most of the dreams he's sneaked a peek at involve them making sweet, sweet, passionate love.
  • Furia's Joke emote in Paladins:
    I will now peer into your soul... oh. Mortal, you're into some strange things.
  • Psychonauts:
    • Sasha Nein accidentally wound up doing this as a child when he attempted to learn more about his dead mother by probing his father's mind. Most of them were happy memories. A few of them were really happy (and child-scarring) memories.
    • A G-rated version occurs when Raz runs into Lili on his way to Sasha's secret training. As she laments how immature he's being, Raz accidentally reads her mind and hears that she secretly wants to make out with him. Near the end of the game, she deliberately projects the same thought into his head as a Call-Back.
  • StarCraft:
  • Invoked by Gault in the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion of Star Wars: The Old Republic, who deliberately thinks of the most repulsive and perverse thoughts possible when dealing with Force Users as a form of Psychic Static. It's even effective on a Force-sensitive PC, can try to read his mind only to recoil in disgust soon after.

    Visual Novels 
  • One event in Monster Prom featuring the interdimensional Prince involves the player gaining telepathy as a gift. In the middle of the cafeteria. They are promptly assaulted by the gross problems and sexual desires that the average high schooler thinks about on mass and ask the prince to change it to "telepathy when drunk".

  • In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, all Cubi are naturally mindreaders. (technically 'thoughtreaders': in DMFA canon, 'mindreading' is intentionally searching through a target mind's memories, not just picking up on current thoughts). Some beings think they can scare away Cubi by intentionally thinking dirty thoughts for them to read. This doesn't work, though, as 'Cubi' is short for "Incubi and Succubi"-and a being attempting to out-dirty a race whose very name comes from supernatural seducers would have to get pretty inventive. It can be inverted, however: think of something boring or make it appear that your mind's not safe to read.
  • In Homestuck, Jake falls in love instantly with Aranea when he meets her, due to having a fetish for blue women. Unfortunately, Aranea is telepathic, and she picks up on the fact that he's thinking certain things about her (although it's not the first time it's happened with her). In the same scene, Jake also conjurs up Brain Ghost Dirk, a semi-imaginary version of his real friend who lives in Jake's mind, and thus can read his thoughts. To troll him, Brain Ghost Dirk repeatedly comments on Jake's sexy thoughts and threatens to make him pop a boner. Jake struggles to maintain both conversations while trying not to think anything too dirty around either mind-reader.
  • The Last Days of Foxhound's version of Psycho Mantis. Thanks to Power Incontinence, he hears the thoughts of everyone in a huge radius. Being exposed to this for god knows how long has given him an absolute disgust with sex and women.
  • A halfling in Mind Flayed protects herself from a mind flayer by responding to its telepathy with thoughts of "hot uncensored tentacle sex." This is doubly traumatic for a species with facial tentacles.
  • Mousou Telepathy largely consists of this at first - a high schooler girl named Nanako Ayano continuously reads other people's minds, and the boy Toda Hayako is one of her classmates and also has a crush on her. Outwardly, he's perfected his poker face. Inwardly...well, he's clearly a high schooler boy whenever he thinks about Nanako.
  • In this strip of The Perry Bible Fellowship, a group of scientists gets a visit by one Senator Bix, and present the Dreamcatcher 3000 to her, a machine that allows one to see other people's dreams. Hooked up to the machine is Prof. Digmund - who is at that very moment dreaming about himself and Senator Bix...
  • This is bound to happen in Think Before You Think, since Brian can't turn off his mind-reading, but it becomes 10 times worse if Brian's thoughts are also projected. He talks about it here.

    Web Original 
  • In Berserk Abridged, Griffith worries about this happening with the God Hand and sings the Meow Mix theme song in his mind before they assure him that they're used to this happening. Then they actually read his mind and are absolutely disgusted at the thoughts going on in his head.
  • Justified, Invoked, and Exploited by Bells in Glowfic, especially in Effulgence. Only with people who've agreed to it and who they're already dating, though.
  • In Madoka Abridged, Madoka surprises Sayaka with Kyubey's mind-reading:
    Madoka: (telepathy) I just realized I can speak into your brain too, 'cause Kyubey's here!
    Sayaka: So, can you... read my mind?
    Madoka: Um, maybe. I'll try it. Here goes... (Beat) What the!? Sayaka, you pervert!
    Sayaka: Hey, what did you see!? Dammit, Madoka, if you tell anyone...
    Hitomi: Eeew, you guys are acting gay, I'm leaving. (runs)
    Madoka: Great, now she thinks I'm gay, too.
    Sayaka: What?
  • Texts from Superheroes: In this exchange, Jean Grey wants the students at Xavier's academy to wear telepathy-blocking helmets because she's tired of "living in a school full of 16 year olds whose brains are all screaming thoughts at me." She then plays her trump card, "I know about your margarine dream."

    Western Animation 

  • Family Guy plays this a few times:
    • In one early episode, as Peter and his gang are using a police van's high-tech surveillance mic to spy on Lois, Peter turns up the sensitivity dial to a degree it wasn't supposed to. They inexplicably start hearing the thoughts of Quagmire (who is among them), mentally complaining about a genital rash he got from a woman... then panics once he realizes that not only can they hear him, HE HIMSELF can hear him.
    • In an uncensored joke much later in the series, Picard asks Troi to try sensing what some aliens are thinking. Troi ends up sensing one of Picard's dirty thoughts and confusingly mentions how Picard is standing over her and begins pouring lemonade all over her... until she realizes it wasn't lemonade. Picard quickly cuts her off and changes the subject before she can finish what he's thinking, and then gives Riker a command and heads off to his quarters.
  • The Futurama episode "I Roommate" has Bender's thoughts interrupting satellite signals via his antenna.
    Woman: [Your thoughts] are on my cell phone too.
    Bender: Madame, I believe you're mistaken.
    Cellphone in Bender's voice: Wow, that lady has a huge ass.
    Bender: Those could be anyone's thoughts, fat ass.
    • In "Into the Wild Green Yonder" while scanning a crowd's thoughts, the only thing Fry can hear from the head of Snoop Dogg is "Naked ladies. Naked ladies. Naked ladies."
  • In an episode of Gravity Falls, Dipper gets hooked up to a machine that translates thoughts to text. Among the Freeze Frame Bonuses are "Maybe if I cross my legs, no one will notice" and "That red bathing suit, man!" (presumably in reference to his crush, Wendy, in "The Deep End").
  • In the penultimate episode of the first season of Inside Job (2021), when the heads of Cognito Inc. are trying to determine the identity of The Mole, Myc reveals everyone's dirty secrets when they start accusing him of possibly being the mole:
    • Gigi and Andre hooked up after a party the prior year, something neither of them seems to be proud of.
    • Brett thinks Reagan's mom is hot.
    • Reagan has a Carl Sagan fetish.
    • Glenn has had sex dreams of everyone. This ends up disgusted everyone else.
  • In the The Venture Bros. episode "What Color is Your Clean Suit", Dean tries to talk to a girl with telepathy but all his mind is focused on is her boobs.
  • In Yin Yang Yo!, the Nightmaster's female minion Ella Mental has telepathy. After she reads Yin's mind she shouts, "She can read minds?", Yo then smiles and immediately receives a black eye from her and comments, "That would be a yes."



Raz accidentally hears Lili's thoughts.

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4.92 (12 votes)

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Main / DirtyMindReading

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