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Idealized Sex

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Tonight my love, we bid farewell to chastity.

"Learning to have sex from watching porn is about as effective as learning to drive from watching car chase movies."
Charlie Glickman

In the same way that CPR is presented as clean, pretty, and reliable, sex in fiction has a tendency to gloss over the more awkward aspects. Sure, maybe it's explored if it's Their First Time to highlight the characters' inexperience, but most of the time sex is very different from how it is in real life. Issues like impotence, pregnancy, STDs (or not) can come up, but generally only when it's a plot point, deployed for drama. Realism is simply a lower priority than Rule of Sexy, Rule of Funny, Fetish, avoiding Fetish Retardant, avoiding Fan Disservice, and so on.

There are several possible reasons for this:

  1. A lot of this is due to The Law of Conservation of Detail. (Why waste time showing characters putting on condoms when we want to get to the good stuff?) If it's not important and progressing the plot, mentioning it would only distract the audience.
  2. Inexperience. This includes writers describing anatomy that they lack, and virgins trying to describe sex at all.
  3. Giving too much detail about sex would upset the Moral Guardians, even if those details are the kind of thing that might show that sex isn't always perfect and wonderful.

Bear in mind that it's not necessary that these aspects of sex never occur in fiction, just that they are shown much less frequently than in real life. Similarly, it doesn't need to be universal in the real world, just more common than is shown in fiction. If sex for you is always like it is in the movies, congratulations, but the fact is the experience is different for a lot of other people.

Also, note that this trope is not necessarily bad. Sometimes the audience might genuinely enjoy idealized, torrid, steamy sex. Hell, there's a multi-billion-dollar industry built around it: pornography.

For sexual variations such as sadomasochism, all of the above applies. But, since these sexualities are less known, there can also be heavy doses of bad research, Creator's Apathy, and sometimes Acceptable Targets.

Compare Safe, Sane, and Consensual, Questionable Consent, Ethical Slut, and so on for more nuances.

For a list of ways sex acts are misrepresented in the media, see Common Hollywood Sex Traits. For outright impossible sex, see Anatomically Impossible Sex.

The Accidental Pornomancer, more often than not, averts this trope. For reasons why, visit the page.

If your example falls under one of the following subtropes, please make sure that it is added to that page rather than here:

Idealized Sex at its finest

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As Idealized Sex is so common, please only list glaring examples.

    Comic Books 
  • If the guys who wrote Preacher know anything about actual BDSM and fetishism, then they chose to hide it really well for the sake of Rule of Funny or whatever. Or it might just be that every single sadomasochist in the comic also just happens to be psychotic or similar.
  • Inverted in Small Favors: The BDSM is reasonably realistic, while the setting/premise of the comic is totally surreal. The protagonist is desperately trying to hide her SSC BDSM relationship with a physical manifestation of a part of her subconscious from a physical manifestation of another part of her subconscious - who doesn't catch them, because she's busy getting seduced by the protagonist's neighbor.
  • Lou Kagan's Perils Of Pauline contain many bondage scenes that pay no attention to gravity, skeletal structure, or any such pesky details.
  • Red Ears: Definitely. Not always to the level of being a Sex God, but most characters have sex like professionals. This is usually only subverted for laughs.

  • The hilarious Two-Person Pool Party in Showgirls is a particularly famous example.
  • The Room (2003) famously features writer/director/star Tommy Wiseau thrusting enthusiastically somewhere around his partner's navel.
  • Played for Laughs in the movie Shoot 'Em Up, the hero continues to provide flawless sexual pleasure to his multiple-orgasming partner even while shooting bad guys that break into the room during the act.
  • Also played for laughs in Crank, where the protagonist has been poisoned, and he needs to constantly maintain an adrenaline rush to slow its effects and stay alive. Usually done by fighting bad guys, but it leads to quite a few Deus Sex Machina scenes, the one that really takes the cake being where he's stuck in Chinatown with no such action to be found. He somehow convinces his girlfriend to do the deed right there. As in, in public, on a crowded street. (Possibly, the most unrealistic part is how willing she seems to do it.)
  • The same thing happens in the film Drive Angry. Though it is implied that Milton's partner is psychologically scarred by the experience.
  • The "gymnastic sex scene" in The Bronze. Even if you and your partner are Olympic-level gymnasts (as the two participants in the film are) you could get exhausted just by watching the scene, which combines a two-person gymnastic routine with lovemaking, set to music. Or rather, a well-choreographed routine with the illusion of sex added to it. (Not something you'd truly want to try, even if you are trained.)
  • Basically, all commercial pornography. This makes sense if you think about it: in real sex, the purpose is the participants' pleasure; in porn, it's for the viewer's pleasure. Unfortunately, it's also many people's first exposure to "real life" sex, which can lead to those people thinking Reality Is Unrealistic. Conversely, amateur/homemade porn also often totally disregards the presence of the camera(s) or eventual viewers, averting this trope entirely.
  • The infamous tent scene in Brokeback Mountain. Anyone who has had anal sex knows you can't just spit on yourself and plow away. Just passionate dry-humping with that amount of preparation would have realistically ended in pain.
  • In The Island (2005), Lincoln and Jordan are clones who have been raised separate from normal people and have no concept of love or sex. Doesn't stop them from having passionate sex near the end of the movie without any problems. Though a major plot point is that Lincoln has been receiving memories from his original donor, so it might be handwaved in his case at least.
  • During the Wall Bang Her sex-scene in Road House (1989), the relative positions of both Patrick Swayze and Kelly Lynch's bodies either means either Swayze's wing-wang is two-and-a-half feet long, or else they were dry humping. Still a hot scene, mind, but physically impossible.
  • Played for Laughs with the infamous "fuck me, Your Majesty!" scene from American Beauty.
  • An early Jeff Goldblum movie, The Tall Guy, features a sex scene between Goldblum and Emma Thompson that plays this straight for the Rule of Funny, including the two of them literally rolling around on the floor of her filthy apartment, a half-eaten bowl of cereal sticking to his buttocks in the process, and later her sliding up a wall into what has to have been a standing position, leading one to wonder how they manage to have any actual sex while they're bouncing around the room.
  • The Korean film Eungyo (The Muse) has a scene in which the titular Muse is having sex with her boyfriend who is hovering so high above her that we can see her pelvis clearly enough to know that no penetration was occurring.

  • The Godfather by Mario Puzo: Sonny Corleone is famously well endowed, such that his wife and even prostitutes fear having sex with him. Enter Lucy, who is famously wide down there (her exes complained about this). Sex between Sonny and Lucy is therefore the perfect fit, and the two have a smashingly blissful time together.
  • That Irresistible Poison by Alessandra Hazard: Despite their arguments and animosities, Prince Seyn and Prince Ksar always have amazing sex. Soon, they use their telepathic powers to have even more mind-blowing sex, pun intended.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Any of Samantha's sex scenes in Sex and the City count, though injuries are frequently shown in this instance. There's still a ludicrous amount of screaming, thrashing, and athleticism.
    • There was once an episode where she was bent on performing the entire book of Kama Sutra. (Which, for the record, is a horrible idea.)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • Played straight, then subverted when Buffy wakes up and sees just how grungy Parker's apartment is in the harsh light of day. This foreshadows the revelation that he's The Casanova instead of a new Love Interest.
    • Likewise in "The Zeppo" when Xander loses his virginity with Faith. After some romantic snuggling in bed we Smash Cut to Faith booting him out the door now she's finished making use of him.

    Visual Novels 
  • Hilariously handwaved in the second Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizoke wo VN. When asked by her partner several times, Sara invokes The Power of Love as the reason why she's so good at sex without actually having any experience whatsoever.

Realistic examples

Aversions or subversions where in one or more respect, the sex is presented more realistically than typical Idealized Sex.

  • This ad for a dating site called includes an Imagine Spot of two people trying to have Idealized Sex. They fail miserably.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Houkago no Himitsu by Nekota Yonezou is a BL short story with two high schoolers who don't know what they're doing. This ends realistically (there is some ripping). They promise to do more research next time they try.
  • Futari Ecchi, which seems to have "Deconstruct Idealized Sex" as one of its goals, does indeed manage to be more realistic in its portrayal of sex — particularly the young, awkward-first-time sex only virgin newlyweds can manage.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Tamahome and Miaka decide to consummate their relationship knowing that this could very well be their last day together. Miaka's stomach grumbles and they are both embarrassed by this awkward noise. (So much so that Tamahome can't continue!)
  • The first story of Millefeuille's Great Reaction in Ecstasy is about a girl who has awkward and terrible group sex.
  • In Kimi wa Pet, one of Sumire and Hasumi's aborted attempts to finally have sex after months of being a couple goes disastrously wrong when Sumire gets a leg cramp and then Hasumi loses his composure and sustains a head wound from falling into some furniture. Furthermore, because Hasumi or other partners urge her for verbal feedback during sex, Sumire admits she doesn't always enjoy it and fakes climax on at least one occasion. One night much later Hasumi has some problems keeping it up. Although he claims it's due to drinking too much alcohol, their relationship already seems to be falling apart and it really foreshadows their break-up.
  • B Gata H Kei portrays not only the (almost) sex itself as awkward and difficult but the relationship leading up to it, too.
  • itai ITAI itai by Mentaiko is a BL manga where one of the characters is a masochist. His friend, who's in love with him, gets mad at his friend's confession about liking The Bully and practically rapes him. The rough sex turns on the protagonist, but after the sex his friend is surprised to see he's covered in blood; mostly coming from his injured anus. This harms their friendship and the story is going to a Downer Ending. (By the way, itai means OUCH.)
    • The fact that the friend later turns out to have been lying about being a masochist in order to stop the other friend from constantly having to defend him from the school bully just makes it work.
  • Berserk: As far as good people having good sex goes in this series, Guts and Casca's first time isn't exactly picture-perfect, with Casca bleeding from penetration and being in mild discomfort during Guts' rough, frantic, and all-in-all inexperienced love-making. Not to mention that Guts suffers a flashback to his rape as a child partway through, which causes him to almost choke Casca before he comes to his senses.
  • In Akiko Morishima's Angelic Girl, when Negama and Tsukimiya, both inexperienced, have sex for the first time, we see them talking aftermath, and while they both enjoyed it, Tsukimiya mentions that she was not able to come. Later in an Omake, Negama and Nana discuss the Yuri Genre trope of two girls climaxing at the same time, the more experienced and more pragmatic Kei points out how rare it really happen, and how if it does it's likely that one partner was faking it.
  • In Love Hina, when Keitaro and Naru try to finally consummate their relationship, they have to stop midway through because neither of them knows how their, ahem, parts are supposed to go together.
  • In Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Kashiwagi implies that her boyfriend accidentally scratched her during Their First Time while they were engaging in foreplay.
    "He could at least cut his his nails before..."

    Comic Books 
  • Roberta Gregory averts this in her comics Naughty Bits and Artistic Licentiousness. She's great at depicting sex in all its awkward, sometimes unpleasant glory.
  • The French comic Dreamland mostly averts this when the protagonist and his girlfriend have their first time. While it "ends well" for both of them, the beginning is quite awkward, with Terrence putting his condom the wrong way at first for example.

    Fan Works 
  • As Fate Would Have It, while initially depicting Nate's and Yancy's first time as going pretty well aside from Yancy feeling a degree of pain for the first few minutes, becomes a subversion towards the end. The story states that as hard as both of them try to continue making love further following their first orgasm, they soon feel tired thanks to their inexperience and drift to sleep in each other's arms not long after. No immediate round 2 or anything of the sort happening. Not to mention their lovemaking session ending only in the span of 6-10 or so minutes.
  • In a Discworld fic by A.A. Pessimal, this happens to Johanna Smith-Rhodes during a very eventful Hogswatch. She realises, with a pragmatic sense of the inevitable, that Ponder Stibbons is even more sexually inexperienced than she is and has in all probability never even seen a naked woman before. She puts this down to the thing about wizards and celibacy, and suggests they work it out together.note 
  • Leave it to Kalash93 to not play artistic license. All the sex he shows (or at least describes) is fairly realistic.
    • In A Pleasant Surprise, the male protagonist is a total virgin. Therefore, Fluttershy has to educate him on how to make love properly, and even then he isn't exactly a pro at it. Still sweet, though.
  • In Point of Succession L's attempt at creating a romantic atmosphere by covering his bed with M&Ms results in Light getting melted M&Ms in awkward places.
  • In the Maleficent fanfic, Your servant, Mistress, this is a plot point, as the female protagonist can't stand the sight of certain ... male bodily fluids after she was raped. She would be fine with idealized sex, but realistic sex is too gross.
  • In Reaching for a Dream, the first time Naruto has sex with Kyuubi/Xanna, she outright tells him he sucks. He apparently gets far better later but that's a result of lots of practice from time spent in brothels (at her insistence).
  • In Evangelion 303, when Shinji and Asuka had sex for the first time, it was painfully obvious that they were twenty-year-old virgins and they had no idea what they were doing. Shinji unintentionally hurt her when he entered her, and the whole experience was pretty awkward for both. Fortunately, they got better at it after a lot of practice.
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: Subverted. Due to her past traumas and psychological issues, Shinji and Asuka couldn’t have a healthy sex life until they were in their middle twenties (ten years after their first meeting). When they first tried to have sex, it was a disaster because Asuka wanted to get it over with, but Shinji couldn’t go on because he was hurting her.
  • In The Second Try, Shinji and Asuka’s first time was awkward. Shinji hurt her when he entered her, and he tried to hold back his orgasm as long as possible because he didn’t want to deprive her of her own climax. Back in the past, she said that he owed her a better first time.
  • Another example with Asuka and Shinji is in Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide, where Asuka carries over her competitive attitude into bed after the two start a physical relationship. She always initiates and insists on being on top; Shinji considers to himself that he would prefer a little more cuddling and that the sex itself is uncomfortably like fighting with her due to how aggressive she is. By the end it appears that they may be on the way to meeting in the middle with her toning it down a little and him displaying some more initiative.
  • Idealized sex is largely averted in the eleventh Gaiden chapter for the Naruto High School AU story Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox, with minor characters Guren and Sagi. Yes, Guren is quite attractive for a thirty-something, Sagi has enough girth to impress her, and the sex itself goes off without a hitch, BUT they do use a condom for the act. Additionally, while neither of them is a virgin (Guren is a divorcee who lost her virginity to her then-husband on their wedding night, and Sagi had his first time during his final year of high school), Sagi is still somewhat nervous even during the sex act, and they have to spend a little time finding a good mutual rhythm.
  • In the The Hobbit borderline Crack Fic Ettëlea, a very drunk Thranduil and an equally drunk OC attempt sex, but they're both so hammered that it initially consists of snark, inept clothing damage, and one near-concussion. Eventually, they manage it, more or less, but when she (who has not had sex in years) wakes the next morning, there's soreness, mess, and a brutal hangover. (Subsequent sex scenes are usually Played for Laughs.)
  • Wolf Spider: When Taylor and Rachel have sex for the first time it is described as having been awkward and strange. This is to be expected since Taylor was a virgin and Rachel only had sex once before.
    Taylor: “It had been awkward. It had been strange. I hadn’t known what I was doing, and I was pretty sure that I could do better next time—”
  • While it doesn't go into any graphic detail, Tapper in an Empath: The Luckiest Smurf mini-story tells Duncan McSmurf that his first time with his wife Siobhan "was like heaven", making Duncan scoff in disbelief at his friend's supposed sexual prowess before Tapper humbly admits that both he and Siobhan were inexperienced lovers, he never making use of the Imaginarium for any sexual practice and her never having such a thing as the Imaginarium in her own village.
  • In the Plan B fanfic Interpretive Steps for a New Tango, Bruno and Pablo have several sex scenes that show how sex between two men who don't have an iota of prior experience with other men would be realistically awkward and clumsy at first. Their first attempt to have anal sex in particular ends up such a total disaster, not least because they thought that getting high and drunk beforehand would be a great way to calm their nerves, that Pablo decides that being with another man isn't for him and breaks up with Bruno for a time.

  • Y tu mamá también plays the subversion to the hilt by graphically (and comically) demonstrating just how sexually inept two oversexed teenaged boys can really be.
  • Nite Owl and Silk Spectre's first sex scene in The Movie of Watchmen has Dreiberg reacting like the extremely awkward man he is, nervously tugging at Spectre's clothing, bumping into her and apologizing profusely. Also the music.
  • In Kinsey the main couple must go to a doctor to enable them to have sex.
    • Everything afterwards follows this trope perfectly.
  • Knocked Up. The two main characters, Ben and Allison, are quite drunk, and Ben struggles with a condom. He doesn't use one, and she becomes pregnant.
    • And then a later scene shows the two of them trying to have sex while she's pregnant. Ben is just a wee bit hesitant about doing it with their unborn child inches nearby. They struggle with different positions before finally giving up in frustration.
  • Although there's no actual on-screen sex, the act is portrayed realistically as awkward and confusing in The 40-Year-Old Virgin for a 40-year-old who's never done it. Conservation of Detail is averted when he tries numerous times to put on a condom. When he finally has sex, it goes pretty much as you'd expect.
  • Zack and Miri Make a Porno The two titular characters agree to have sex on camera in order to...make a porno. Rather than a camera-friendly romp, their scene merely shows the two tightly embraced, rocking gently back and forth for a few minutes.
  • Comical subversion in A Fish Called Wanda — Otto makes some utterly hilarious O faces.
  • Eminem and Brittany Murphy have fairly unglamorous sex during a cigarette break in 8 Mile.
  • One adaption of The Three Musketeers has D'Artagnan and Constance Bonacieux having a bit of implied trouble getting into position (they were just off-camera at the time).
  • The Cooler. Pretty short scene, but, umm... not due to editing. Even shows cellulite; for which they had to shoot in Nevada due to possession carrying a mandatory minimum 10-year sentence in Los Angeles. Still pretty adorably romantic, though.
  • Enemy at the Gates had a realistically awkward sex scene between the main protagonist and the love interest. It's awkward because they do it in the subways below Stalingrad, surrounded by sleeping people because it's being used as a bomb shelter, and so they have to try to not wake anybody up and don't have much room for themselves. So they just kinda roll over each other, try to take off each other's clothing, and try to get his penis into her without waking up a guy sleeping a foot away.
  • The honeymoon scene between Bernard and Lydia in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
  • Pretty much any scene that is presented in such a way that it has sparked genuine debate as to whether the two actors actually had sex on camera. Some examples include Mickey Rourke and Carre Otis in the Unrated/NC-17 version of Wild Orchid, Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie in Don't Look Now, the opening scene of Betty Blue, Tony Leung Ka-fai and Jane March (who was underage at the time of filming) in The Lover, and Bruce Dern and Maud Adams in Tattoo.
  • There have also been a growing number of mainstream films in which the realism of the sex scenes is unquestioned since the actors are actually having sex (Shortbus, All About Anna, Baise Moi, 9 Songs, etc.). However, it can be debated whether this trope applies since as of 2010, no major mainstream production has featured such explicit material, with the possible exceptions of the "reality TV movie" The Real Cancun and the heavily censored swingers scene in Brüno (2009).
  • The Brown Bunny features an unsimulated act of oral sex between its stars Vincent Gallo and Chloë Sevigny. Ironically, this scene is actually a fantasy of Gallo's character.
  • In Innocent Blood, they not only use a condom, but the man faced with the reality of being about to have sex with a vampiress has a degree of trouble... rising to the occasion.
  • Played for Laughs in MacGruber, where the sex scenes start out very idealized, before abruptly switching to a view of the proceedings filled with silly but not wholly unrealistic noises and movements.
  • Blue Valentine features a depressing and realistic sex scene.
  • The "Any = all" variant is discussed in The SM Judge: While Magda's masochism makes her enjoy pain, she's not at all into roleplaying or submission or humiliation or anything like that. Of course, the authorities fail to understand this distinction, maybe on purpose.
  • In Friends with Benefits, Dylan and Jamie have pretty realistic sex, with stuff such as them listing their weird quirks about sex, Dylan needing to pee halfway through, him wondering why she's screaming, etc.
  • In the movie The Bay Boy, the main characters have some realistic trouble trying to have sex for the first time. In particular, the girl has to show her boyfriend where to go.
  • Explored in detail in Don Jon. The main character is addicted to porn to the degree that actual sex is not as interesting or exciting to him, as porn offers experiences that most attractive women would not be interested in doing and he gets caught up in the awkward moments of real sex that takes him out of the moment. The film contrasts (brief) images of porn that idealizes a sexual experience with grandiose passion next to an encounter he had that is almost clinical in how they were both just trying to get it over with.
  • In The Ice Storm, two teenagers lose their virginity and it's a very clumsy, but brief affair, which is pretty much what losing one's virginity is like.
  • Jackie Brown: There's a sex scene between Louis and Melanie that's mostly offscreen, completely on the spur of the moment, and is over in about three minutes.
  • Jennifer's Body: Needy and Chip's first time having sex, while enjoyable (at first) and romantic, is appropriately awkward and low key, and it also gets cut short before either can "finish" due to Needy becoming obviously distressed and scared, because of her having a vision of Jennifer killing Colin. They also mention getting condoms earlier. Before starting, they're seen using one they had at the ready.
  • In Fargo, the prostitute hired by Showalter is obviously just doing her job without a whole lot of enthusiasm or enjoyment. Not that he cares.
  • On Chesil Beach: Edward and Florence’s fumbled attempts at intimacy are shown in uncomfortably realistic detail.
  • Discussed in Dogma, sex is an example of God's sense of humor. Angels apparently get a good laugh out of the faces humans make mid-coitus.
    Bethany: So sex is a joke in Heaven?
    Metatron: The way I understand it, it's more or less a joke down here as well.

  • In the Ben Elton book This Other Eden, the Hollywood star Max and his actress wife agree to have one last roll in the hay before their divorce. The narration specifically compares their perfect movie sex scenes with their real sex, complete with fanny farts and awkward elbows.
  • The Dream of Perpetual Motion. Harold and Miranda argue over which position to use, the first condom breaks, Harold comes too quickly, and Miranda has to fake her orgasm while thinking of a previous lover.
  • John Green's book Looking for Alaska has a girl performing oral on the main character. They exchange some awkward dialogue ("should I bite it?") then go to their more experienced friend to explain it to them.
  • Played with in the Slave World novels: Many masochism stereotypes are lampshaded and justified with Applied Phlebotinum. In the first few books, this includes the stereotype that all real submissives enjoy everything in the kinky spectrum. This is backpedaled in the later books, where it's established that most people have some things they just can't handle, much less enjoy, no matter how many smilies you paint on their soul.
  • Very common in works by the Des Anges sisters; sex is at best a pain in the ass to clean up after, and will often feature fumbling, awkwardness, pain, and swearing at inanimate objects.
  • Anatomy Of A Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky is fairly realistic. It discusses the teenage characters' first times, fooling around (and trying to clean it up), and the funny noises they would make.
  • A Fox Tail makes sure to have lubrication for anal sex most of the time, on a couple of occasions they go without it causing intense pain.
  • 'Bad sex' is actually not an uncommon fanfiction trope, sometimes for humour reasons, sometimes for dramatic or characterisation reasons, or sometimes, less paradoxically than you might think because more realistic sex is just more interesting or hot to read about.
  • Very much Inverted in Keep the Aspidistra Flying. When Rosemary eventually does have sex with Gordon (following much pleading on his part) after he's reduced to a wretched existence in a derelict slum, it's uncomfortable, mechanical, and wholly devoid of passion. Oh, and she gets pregnant too.
  • Dealt with in The Sharing Knife. Fawn's first time with a farmhand in a field while being bitten by gnats was not at all what she expected and ended with her an unwed mother. On the other hand, her first time (and every other time) with Dag is one of the most joyful experiences of her life, but that's due to his intentional effort, the fact that he knows what he's doing and there's plenty of communication between them.
  • Any book by Jennifer Crusie will show the couple's first time having some sort of awkward moment. Points for memorability go to Welcome to Temptation and how Phin figures out that Sophie gets turned on by discovery fantasies and when that's not going on, she seems bored. ("Hi, I'm Phin Tucker, and I'm inside you....")
  • The trope is referenced in Night Watch with a porno novel entitled 'The Amorous Adventures of Molly Clapper', which had been passed around the Watch House for years. A fifty-plus-year-old Sam Vimes reminisced that he learned a lot from reading that book when he joined the Watch in his early twenties... and when he got married in his late forties, he discovered that most of what he had learned was wrong.
  • In "To Take a Dare," by Crescent Dragonwagon and Paul Zindel, teenage Chrysta has lame first-time sex, gets an STI, then has to deal with her emotionally abusive dad finding the antibiotics.
  • The Teresa Knight Trilogy: Zigzagged. Sex is generally portrayed as working out fine, but some cases don't, and contraception or STD prevention is also brought up explicitly.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Idealization of sex scenes is averted to such a degree in the series Girls that they veer into unrealistically horrible.
  • MADtv has this sketch on sex faces.
  • Sex in The Sopranos is pretty realistic.
  • The Shield: Sex is usually portrayed as ugly as possible-either as cheap rutting or heat-of-the-moment IKEA Erotica. When it isn't, it involves one or more parties the audience, by and large, doesn't like (see any love scenes between Shane and Mara).
  • Parodied in Reno 911! where a brothel calls the police on a customer who refuses to pay because the place has nowhere for him to wash off all the whore's juices.
  • The first sex scene between Leckie and Stella in The Pacific was refreshingly realistic. It's brief, slightly awkward, they both have reasonably odd o-faces, and you can even see him use his hand to guide himself in (it's under the blankets, but it's obvious what he's doing).
  • Misfits comically averts this during any sexual situation involving Nathan — actually, very few sex scenes in the show play this trope remotely straight, but if Nathan's involved, you know you're in for something particularly disastrous. He's been shown to suffer from premature ejaculation, has got his finger stuck in a girl's vagina during foreplay, and has displayed an o-face so off-putting and bizarre that his partner started laughing hysterically when she saw it. He also has a famous habit of "tripling" himself during sex — yes, kids, that's when you ejaculate, puke and shit yourself all at once — although luckily for everyone this one happens off-screen.
  • As well as showing quite a considerable amount of Idealized Sex between the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Lizzie Siddal, and various prostitutes, Desperate Romantics does at least depict Lizzie encouraging Gabriel to abandon the prophylactics they have apparently been using prior to their marriage. There is also some awkwardness shown between Millais and Effie the first time they're in bed together, though they get over it later in the series.
  • The John Adams miniseries averted this every which way with John and Abigail's bout of reunion sex in France; it's fast, clumsy, and a little bit sweaty. And still leaves viewers gazing dewy-eyed at the screen from the palpable emotions surging between them.
  • Discussed on Glee. During the "Like a Virgin" montage, sex between Santana and Finn is idealized (it's a song montage, after all). Later, Santana describes it as awkward and sweaty, and Finn feels ashamed because he just did it for the sake of losing his virginity.
  • The sex scenes are done very realistically in Puberty Blues. While the parents have more romantic sex, for the teens it's awkward, painful and awkward, particular for the girls.
  • The first sex scene between Rachel and John in Alphas is another rare example of a couple who the audience is supposed to ship not having very good sex the first time, due to a combination of her superpowers leading to Sensory Overload and his body shame about his burn scars. The second time goes much better.
  • General Hospital's Robin Scorpio confides to her best friend Brenda that her first time with her boyfriend Stone was "so awkward and weird!", though Brenda assures her things will get better with practice. In another sequence, when Keesha and Jason admit to being virgins just before they consummate their relationship, Keesha wonders how they'll know what they're doing.
  • In The Thorn Birds Mini Series , although Luke doesn't apparently force himself on Meggie as he did in the book, it's still evident that their wedding night was not enjoyable and doesn't shy away from the fact that the first time can be very painful—Meggie asks him "Does it always hurt so much?"
  • That '70s Show: Fez and Nina have sex for the first time in "Whole Lotta Love". Fez is a virgin and his lack of experience is very obvious in how awkward the entire encounter is. He fears that this means Nina will break up with him but she instead suggests that they practice until they get better.
  • ER's Doug and Carol's first time in a year and a half is realistically awkward—she's uneasy about the changes in her body following her pregnancy and he's fearful of hurting her, resulting in him taking things incredibly slowly to try and ease both of their anxieties.
  • Greek: Cappie has gotten Rusty a date with the infamously voracious "virgin-eater" to get his first time out of the way. Rusty's sister Casey objects to this, since his first time should be special. Cappie fondly remembers his own first time with Casey... who points out that it was horrible, because neither of them had any idea what they were doing.
    Casey: But it was also perfect, because we were in love.
  • You Me Her: Jack, Emma and Izzy always seem to have very pleasurable sex together without difficulty of any kind, even when they first engage in threesomes with no prior experience at this.
    Izzy: You came back and the three of us had objectively transcendent sex, would you agree?

  • The Flight of the Conchords song "Business Time" is a pretty hilarious aversion of this.
  • Genesis's "Counting Out Time" goes out of its way to prove that researching sex via media portrayals is a very bad way to learn how to be a good lover. Rael tries a one-night stand based on a book he reads about erogenous zones, and the result is a comedically clinical IKEA Erotica version of sex that's so awkward (complete with a goofy, warbling guitar solo) that it drives his partner off in disgust. Rael doesn't get the memo and simply assumes that the book was a ripoff.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • One of Bill Engvall's most famous routines involves how Idealized Sex is different from real sex... which he knows from personal experience.
    • "Well thanks for the wedgie, Romeo..."
  • Australian comedian Josh Thomas notes that for him, sex never involved loud moaning and thrashing, but more often, "Mm... mm... oh, gosh... mm... OH SHIT are you alright?! ...and then it takes you a while to get back into the rhythm..."

    Video Games 
  • Sex in A Dance with Rogues is very... realistically... described. The game even tracks an integer for how experienced your character is and varies the descriptions depending on that (though it is more often used to determine if you can use the 'if I have really good sex with this guy he will give me what I want' tactic). Most possible sexual partners are quite experienced, so acting like it makes sense for them, but Anden is understandably awkward.
  • The first Leisure Suit Larry game can have Larry lose his virginity to a prostitute. To say the least, it is nasty, brutish, and short, and doesn't count toward the game goal; it continues with Larry seeking more. (Peter Spear's novelization had Larry note that instead of idealized, full-out fireworks, all he felt was "a single firecracker that just laid there and banged".) In short, it was not worth the pimp's asking price. At all.

    Visual Novels 
  • Sex in Katawa Shoujo is also more realistically depicted than you'd expect from a Visual Novel: sometimes it's good, sometimes is bad, and whether it's good or not it seriously depends on the circumstances and the people engaging in it. Emi's anal sex scene note  and Lilly's bath sex scene note  are notable examples. Furthermore, Rin, Hanako, and Misha all have H-scenes where not only is the sex very awkward, but straightforwardly designed to make the player feel uncomfortable due to the reasoning behind them.
    • The closest to idealised sex would be the scenes with Shizune, but that's most likely because she's the one in charge and it still takes Hisao a short while to get used to the light bondage in their first time. And as a bonus: if you make Hisao go through the aforementioned sex scene with Misha, you'll get locked out of the best and more "perfect" sex scene in the game (which still has Hisao tripping on a desk) and you get the Bad Ending of Shizune's route.
  • In Fate/stay night, Rin's and Shirou's first time is certainly not perfect. Although Rin's awkward shyness throughout the scene is adorable, it also leads her to encourage Shirou to enter her before her body is fully ready, and it ends up being much more painful for her than it had to be.
  • Fate/hollow ataraxia references Rin's and Shirou's difficulties the first time, and further states that the second time they tried ended up even worse due to a long string of very unlucky coincidences. The game itself has a scene in which they try for a third time, which ends up being very pleasant and enjoyable for both of them.

  • In The Wretched Ones, Yayne overhears on a video game chat client John and Charlie having sex. Out of all the things she could have possibly heard, it had to be Charlie yelling 'John, get off my hair!'
  • Avialae: While many of Gannet and Bailey's sex scenes go very well, they're also shown having to figure out problems such as Bailey's sexual inexperience and demisexuality and Gannet's wings growing so large that he can no longer lie comfortably on his back and once accidentally smacks Bailey in the face with a wing in the middle of a foreplay scene.

    Web Original 
  • The CollegeHumor video "Realistic Hollywood Sex Scene" parodies this trope. It's awkward, gross, creepy, and pathetic... and it still manages to seem just a teensy bit sweet and romantic.
  • Averted in Tales of MU. Mack has no clue what she's doing during her first several encounters, and as such, it's not terribly enjoyable.
  • In Heart In Hand, Darryl and Alex's first sexual encounter is incredibly awkward and uncomfortable for both of them for many reasons: Darryl is doing it just because he lost a bet with Alex and has to get falling-down drunk beforehand to even be able to go through with it, while Alex didn't take their bet seriously, was completely caught off-guard when Darryl initiated sex with him as a result, and is horrified at himself afterwards for taking advantage of a clearly-inebriated Darryl. Their later sexual experiences go much better, with Alex explicitly telling Darryl during their second time that he wants to make up for how crappy Darryl's first time was.

Alternative Title(s): Hollywood Masochism, Hollywood Sex, Idealised Sex