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Intimate Healing

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Notice: the story this illustration came from originally appeared on a now-defunct website, but can be found (although without any illustrations) here.
"Problem is, you ain't been loved like you should…
What I got to give will sho' 'nuff do you good!"
Rufus & Chaka Khan, "Tell Me Something Good"

Oftentimes, the only way to treat someone is to engage in some rather intimate activity. Some of these techniques are derived from actual methods, but often they're played up. You know why. Frequently done to a Plot-Induced Illness.

Variants include the "mouth-to-mouth medicine dosing" or "medicine kiss", climbing into bed with the patient to keep them warm/cool them down (nakedness "for better skin contact" optional), various kinds of blood or power transfers through kissing/licking, a Magic Kiss with healing properties, and so forth. More explicit titles may have straight-up "healing through sex".

To the other extreme, the things a character won't do because they resemble intimate acts, such as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, can be taken to silly lengths; the superficial resemblance of resuscitation to kissing triggers all manner of modesty and embarrassment, ignoring the pushing and vomiting usually associated with the procedure.

See Deus Sex Machina for the offensive magic variety, Sex Magic if there's magic being made by sexual intimacy, and The Power of Lust. See Undressing the Unconscious if removing an unconscious character clothes is necessary. See also Indirect Kiss. May result in Florence Nightingale Effect. Finger-Suck Healing and Intimate Psychotherapy are Sub Tropes of Intimate Healing. Compare Kiss of Life and Mate or Die. If intimate contact acts as a Power Limiter, see Cooldown Hug.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Barbarella: Barbarella has her clothes torn off (as usual) on an ice world, so a handsome rescuer offers alcohol to warm her up. It's not enough however, so (as usual) she ends up in his bed.
  • Batman:
    • This is how Talia al Ghul gives Batman some much-needed antidote after he succumbs to a scorpion sting while dueling her father, under the pretense of giving him one last smooch.
    • Poison Ivy kisses Batman to poison him, but accidentally cures him because a second kiss from her lips acts as an antidote, and she already poisoned Bruce Wayne earlier that evening. She fails to put two and two together when he laughs at her and appears unaffected.
  • Faker: Used in the SF comic by Mike Carey involving college kids who get exposed to an experimental liquid data storage medium, and explicitly referred to as "sexual healing". Also provided the following quote:
    Yvonne: It was sort of like a transfusion, wasn't it Jess? Because you were still full of that stuff. It was the only way you could save Nick.
    Jessie: No. Just the only way that involved me coming like a train.
  • Lady Rawhide: In Lady Rawhide: Other People's Blood, Lady Rawhide is left dying a gangrenous wound inflicted by Scarlet Fever. She is found by vampire Carmelita Rodriguez who cures her by sucking her blood: drawing out the poison and healing her wounds.
  • Spirou & Fantasio: In Le Tombeau des Champignac, Spirou and Seccotine huddle for warmth while in a mountaintop cave.
  • Superman:
    • In Final Crisis, this is how Superman saves a dying Lois Lane with The Bleed (the lifeblood of The Multiverse itself). He held The Bleed in his mouth and transferred it to her via a kiss.
      Superman: (narrating) They said that no one could bottle or contain or hold The Bleed except for The Monitors. But they were wrong. Superman can!
    • In The Killers of Krypton, Supergirl is wounded and exhausted during a battle, so a Tamaranean teammate quickly kisses her to transferring solar energy into her body, which efficiently heals Kara's wounds and reenergizes her cells.
  • X-Men: Charles Xavier once knew a mutant who went on to become a doctor with his powers. His treatment carries a caveat of signing a sexual harassment waiver. How intimate it is depends on how severe the injury.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Liberty Meadows, Brandy does this with Frank. Frank (who's having an out-of-body experience) is quite pleased.

    Fairy Tales 

    Films — Animation 
  • In When Marnie Was There, when Marnie starts freezing in the silo, Anna crouches beside her to warm her up.
  • Princess Mononoke: San gives Ashitaka his food this way (he's in no state to care for himself), chewing up meat for him and feeding him mama-bird style.
  • In Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Snow White gets revived by the prince kissing her. The story goes different in the Brothers Grimm "Snow White", where the prince wants Snow White's coffin carried to the castle, but when the coffin bearers stumble, the piece of cursed apple stuck in Snow White's throat falls out.

  • The song "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • The song "I Heal With My Steel" by Dragon Boy Suede.
  • Less blatant but still very much there in "The Witch of the Westmereland" (most widely known version by The Waybacks, originally by Scottish folksinger Archie Fisher). "There's none can harm the knight who's lain with the Witch of the Westmerelands..."
  • The song "Calling Dr. Love" by KISS, as shown in the lyrics:
    So if you please, get on your knees.
    There are no bills, there are no fees.
    Baby, I know what the problem is.
    The first step of the cure is...a kiss.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Older Than Print: In Norse legend, sorcery was derived from receiving male fluids, limiting it to women and homosexual males on the "bottom" of the coupling. If men were on the receiving end, as it were, they lost their manliness regardless of orientation or whether it was voluntary or not. There are famous instances where a man handing another man a pair of trousers was considered an insult that had to be washed away in blood. Lots of it.
  • Daoism says that the sex act involved a transfer of mystical power. The woman can't lose power, but the act of sex generates power, and the man can lose power by ejaculating. So the man was encouraged to have and satisfy multiple partners in order to keep from going in the red. This might be a cultural basis for some of the mana-transfer tropes about sex.
  • In The Bible it is reported that as King David became old and feeble, his servants had a young virgin named Abishag the Shunammite brought to assist him by easing his pains, lying next to him as he slept, and helping him keep warm. Though like the Ghandi example below, the intimate proximity never gave way to sexual encounters.
    • Elijah and Elisha also performed resuscitation miracles by lying down over the people they resuscitated. (1st Kings 17:22 and 2nd Kings 4:34)
    • Not exclusively about this trope, but Ecclesiastes 4:11 says, "Further, when two lie together they are warm; but how can he who is alone get warm?"

    Tabletop Games 
  • The French RPG Qin has a magical ability ("The Union of Yin and Yang") which allows you to have sex to recharge your Chi.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The third-party Book of Erotic Fantasy introduces a character class known as the "Sacred Prostitute", whose powers involve doing this to restore various stats. And a resurrection spell that requires you to kiss the target, appropriately entitled kiss of life.
    • Sharess, a minor goddess in the Forgotten Realms setting, has lust, sex, and sensual fulfillment in her portfolio. Hence, her way to heal is to "lay on hands" on erogenous zones.
  • Maid RPG lets you remove Stress by doing intimate things with your partner.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Atlach=Nacha, a giant spider has two ways of recovering her mana: eating people or having sex with them.
  • In Beat Blades Haruka, sex is required to charge power and raise vital stats (yes, really).
  • Played with in Double Homework. Finding Rachel in the locker room with a hurt ankle, the protagonist can end up giving her oral sex as well as a massage.
  • Nasuverse:
  • In Private Nurse, Maria uses this, among other techniques, in her attempts to cure Haroki of his mysterious ailment.
  • Sengoku Rance does this when Rance idiotically went to a freezing mountain because he was following a panda and catch it to impress the ladies. Cue Kenshin warming him up, except they actually go all the way. Strangely though, that part was actually off-screen even though it has the daaaaaaaaaawwww moment.
  • An extremely creepy example in Yandere Chan: when the player character cuts his knee on a shattered calculator screen, Mia desperately insists that licking the wound clean is the only way to ensure it doesn't get infected. She settles with licking the blood off the calculator when you firmly turn down her offer.

    Web Original 
  • In the Sex Mage World stories by Salamando, one of the side-effects of Sex Magic is automatically generating a healing aura which enables nigh-infinite stamina and prevents physical injury while engaged in extreme acts of physical intimacy. Beyond that, however, trained Sex Mages can direct the healing aura for use as an all-purpose healing magic. Supposedly, it can even be used to cure terminal illnesses in extended sessions with highly skilled Mages.
  • From Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG:
    1272. My Paladin can be charged with sexual harassment if he doesn’t watch exactly where he lays on hands.
  • Cracked's 5 Doctors Who Just Gave The World's Worst Medical Advice retells a CBS13 Sacramento story about a doctor who saw a woman with an oversensitive gag reflex and prescribed giving fellatio to her husband.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • Played with in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm: When an injured Bruce reunites with Andrea after eluding captivity and being given first-aid by Alfred, the pair sleep with each other for the night at his manor, and Bruce is fully healed the next morning.
  • Lampshaded in Code Lyoko; in one episode where XANA causes snow storm on Paris, Sissi and Herve get trapped together inside a car, and try to find a way to keep warm. Herve suggests the trope, stating it's "scientifically proven". Sissi replies by slapping him.
  • In the Thor segment of Hulk Vs., Amora heals Thor with a kiss.

    Real Life 
  • According to William L. Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and other sources, a Nazi scientist named Sigmund Rascher actually experimented with such a method to find out how to treat Luftwaffe pilots downed into the icy polar waters. He induced hypothermia in concentration camp prisoners, then put them into bed with one or two naked women. He came to the conclusion that hot baths are more effective. It had something to do with Nazi admiration towards Vikings - old tales told how a Viking rescued from icy Nordic waters had to be quickly rewarmed to life, and in the wilderness they placed him as intimately as possible with one or two volunteer women from the party (the fattest of them) and covered them tightly in whatever blankets or furs available.
  • If hot baths are not available, sharing body heat actually works on hypothermia. Yachtsmen in Finland are taught to put a person rescued from sea in a sleeping bag together with a healthy person and share the body heat until professional rescuers arrive. The same works for a person rescued from an avalanche as well.
  • Tom Sullivan reported that his wife once treated him this way after he was accidentally locked outside once during a winter night. According to him, it worked pretty well.
  • Mahatma Gandhi often slept with young girls on his bed as a Self-Imposed Challenge on his sexual abstinence. There were apparently times when this trope got involved too:
    Sushila admitted that 'there was nothing special about sleeping next to Bapu . . . I used to sleep with him just as I would with my mother'.
    She elaborated: 'He might say: "My back aches, put some pressure on it." So I might put some pressure on it or lie down on his back and he might just go to sleep.' She confirmed that this was not part of the chastity experiment, but more of a natural cure.

Alternative Title(s): Medicine Kiss