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Mate or Die

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"I felt like putting a bullet between the eyes of every panda that wouldn't screw to save its species."
Narrator, Fight Club

Thanks to inherent biological traits, some form of Applied Phlebotinum, etc, two characters are in a situation where they have to have sex in order to save their lives. Frequently used in Fan Fic, especially Slash Fic.

A variety of Deus Sex Machina, with a bit of Intimate Healing thrown in. Compare with Aliens Made Them Do It. If saving the species is the reason then it might be an Adam and Eve Plot.

If the characters merely "need" sexual satisfaction to improve their mood and disposition, it's an example of You Need to Get Laid — this trope is for situations in which they literally do need to have sex.

The inverse of this is Sex Signals Death. Contrast Can't Have Sex, Ever. Also, not to be confused with the anime short series Meat Or Die.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Animal X, a race of reptilian people need to breed to save their race. The problem is there are zero females and they don't want to mix blood with humans, so when one of them does find a compatible person (who even turns out to have been born female, unbeknownst to him), it results in the poor guy getting nearly raped (and eaten in one case) by every other guy he encounters. Making matters worse is his condition, which is slowly turning him back into a girl.
  • Though it hasn't reached the level of sexual intercourse, yet, in The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter has Noir receive Life Energy from performing erotic acts with the opposite sex. Should the LP reach zero, he dies, so he has to engage in erotic acts with as many women as possible, just to stay alive.
  • In King's Game, a few of the King's orders are for two students to have sex or be punished.
  • Ninja Scroll gives us Jubei, poisoned and seeking the antidote. As it turns out, the only way to stop the poison is with more poison. Good thing his partner is a sexy ninja with a Kiss of Death.
    • Interesting subversion; She offers herself — naked — to him. He refuses the sex, seemingly on principle. Insult to injury, before she dies, she confesses she loved him, and wished they could have made love before she died.
  • Parallel Paradise: The all-female denizens of the alternate world die before turning 20 due to a curse on the world from the God of Deep Jealousy; the only two ways to avoid this fate are to mate with a man or kill the God himself, which would break the curse entirely.
  • Recently, My Sister Is Unusual: Kanzaki Mitsuki wears a chastity belt that will kill her and send her to Hell if she doesn't perform a satisfactory amount of ecchi activity.
  • The World God Only Knows: Possibly the only g-rated example. The protagonist must seduce other girls to exorcise the evil spirits possessing them, and fulfill his contract with hell. An Explosive Leash makes sure he does not skeedaddle out of it. The catch? We're talking about a Celibate Hero who Hates Being Touched by girls. He barely manages the kiss needed to seal the deal without collapsing every time.
  • Doutei Zetsumetsu Rettou, or "Virgin Extinction Island", has this as its very plotline - Males over the age of 18 start dying suddenly and unexpectedly in Japan (and later the rest of the world), and the common denominator found was that they were all virgins. The cause is the cherry-looking mutated "DTG-cell", which is cured with intercourse. "Death by virginity" suddenly becomes a very real thing for all the males of the world, and the series mainly follows a 17 year old kid who's basically looking to smash before he turns 18.

    Comic Books 
  • ElfQuest has Recognition, a telepathic mating urge that forces elf couples with good genetic matches to mate and have children. Elves who try to resist become sick, though Word of God is that the elves won't actually die, since that defeats the point. They may feel like they're going to, though.
    • It should be noted that (1) these elves are almost always overjoyed with the opportunity to have a child, and (2) there is no such thing as cheating in the ElfQuest world, and more often than not Recognized mates are instantly welcomed into their new family, forming bisexual three-way relationships. Only two cases of elves being unwilling to mate are at all relevant to the plot: the main characters Cutter and Leetah, who are both just being stubborn and end up Happily Married; and the young wolf-elf Dewshine with the old bird-elf Tyldak, because Tyldak was a villain at that point. (Ironically, Recognition allowed them to see each other's "true selves", which caused Dewshine to be somewhat attracted to Tyldak - seeing his original body, not his flesh-shaped one - and Tyldak to be absolutely repulsed by Dewshine - seeing her wolf heritage instead of her regular pretty elf face.)
    • Also a case of Mother Nature Knows Best. The result of a Recognition-forced mating will always (1) successfully come to term as a healthy baby (unless an outside force prevents it), and (2) be a genetically superior child who has all of the parents' genetic advantages and few, or any, of their weaknesses. Often, the offspring will manifest entirely new abilities or powers, as well. E.g., if one of the parents is a genius who possesses extremely high psychic ability at the expense of physical frailty, while the other is a half-witted, psychically inept world-class bruiser, the resulting child is pretty much guaranteed to have similar psychic ability to that of the first parent (if not more), tremendous physical strength and endurance, and a genius IQ. The drawbacks will simply never manifest.
    • Also, in the New Blood series, Dodia and Door were Recognized, but Door soon crossed the Moral Event Horizon as a villain, such that Dodia had to bash him over the head with a club to end his crimes. Whether or not she could've done this before they'd had sex is unclear.note 
  • Played for Laughs in a "Meanwhile..." strip in Squee where a pair of really stupid aliens capture an average everyman and force him to mate with a 'human female' so they can observe human mating, or else they'll dissect him and study his entrails. Said 'female' turns out to be a chicken (did we mention said aliens were really stupid?). We blessedly get to see none of the actual encounter, but the aliens apparently let them both go afterwards and the man and the chicken get married and have Half-Human Hybrid offspring.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Prior to instigating reforms and rejoining with the Themysciran tribe of Amazons the Bana would offer some male opponents the choice of becoming breeding slaves instead of death in battle or execution, meaning their only choices were to die at the women's hands or be chained up in stalls and used for reproduction.

    Fan Fic 
  • Extremely popular in Supernatural slash fic as a way to help Sam and Dean get over their But He's My Brother aversion to sexual activity. The canonical series has already established them as being so codependent that they're willing to sell their souls and go to hell for one another so writers figure what's a little sex amongst brothers if it'll save each others lives? This is usually commenced by one or both brothers being exposed to sex pollen (makes them super horny and their brains will fry from fever if they don't act on it), sex magic (a witch or a curse that forces them to be sexual together), or some combination that literally creates a screw or die situation (name has been mellowed for the less spicy nature of TV Tropes). Also used for slash pairings that are less popular in the fandom and lack even subtextual support in canon, such as John and either of his sons, Castiel and Sam, Castiel and any other angel, since angels are technically all siblings or characters who are canonically enemies such as Sam/ Lucifer or Dean/ Ruby or canonically strangers such as John/ Ruby or John/ Castiel.
    • It also crops up sometimes in Dean/Castiel fic, often as a way to force Dean "Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?" Winchester to acknowledge his repressed attraction to Castiel, and Castiel being an angel with a biology potentially different from humans means that the Excuse Plot leading up to the "mate or die" scenario can get quite creative. An example of this is Our Sweet Rapture where Castiel uses up almost all of his grace trying to protect Sam from a de-aging spell which causes the part of his grace that he put into Dean's soul when he rescued him from Hell to instinctively try to reunite with its owner, an instinct that physically manifests as their bodies wanting to, ahem, unite with each other and will burn up Dean from the inside out if he doesn't, ahem, let it find release with Castiel every now and then.
  • Harry Potter fandom:
    • The Snape/Lupin ship saw a great number of fanfics using this trope, where Snape and Lupin were imprisoned together right before a full moon. This would mean Snape's death as soon as Lupin took upon his werewolf form, but if Lupin considered Snape to be his "mate", the werewolf would spare them. Therefore...
    • One particular fanfic featured a once-in-1000-years event where Hogwarts ghosts would compulsively kill anyone who was innocent (i.e. a virgin). Hermione didn't quite get out, so Snape had to go in to rescue her... yes, that way.
    • It's also a particular favorite of Harry/Draco writers, who invented the Male Veela fic, where poor Draco had to bond (sexually, of course) with his Soul Mate, or perish. Naturally, his worst enemy was his destined Soul Mate.
    • The fandom has an Epileptic Forest involving the sex lives of werewolves, with (mostly Slash Fic) writers coming up with new ways of justifying Lupin shagging anyone in the cast.
  • A Chrono Crusade fanfic used this trope explaining that Chrono needed to give some of his legion to turn Rosette into a demon so she could feed him astral energy and apparently digestion would dissolve the legion and blood transfusion would kill her.
  • In Star Trek fandom, Vulcans go through something similar called "Pon Farr." The very origin of Slash Fics comes from corny situations where Spock had to mate with someone (Kirk) "or else." The various shows themselves found loopholes to get out of the implications.
    • It was 'Mate or Die' originally, but turned into 'Mate, Fight or Die' to give the writers an out in the ST: Voyager episode 'Blood Fever'. The idea in TOS 'Amok Time' was that if anyone challenged a Vulcan's right to his wife while he was in the throes of the blood fever they'd literally have to kill him to stop him. Later writers missed the point (perhaps intentionally) that Spock was snapped out of Pon Farr by the shock of thinking he'd killed his friend. His line "It must have been the combat" was a cover for this (embarrassing) emotional reaction.
    • It's also notable that originally, pon farr was something that only Vulcan males were subjected to. By the time of Star Trek: Enterprise and later Expanded Universe literature, pon farr became flanderized to where it affected all Vulcans.
    • The fic Written in the Stars, a fic in which the Kirks of both timelines are women, deserves a mention as it puts a spin on Pon Farr. In this story, not even combat can relieve male Vulcans of Pon Farr, and if a male loses the right to mate with his betrothed, another woman would have to be found before the male died. In the original timeline, Fem!Kirk offered herself up as a mate for Spock in order to save him, which was how they were married (and how their daughter was conceived). The circumstances in the Alt Reality become a lot more complicated.
  • Frequently done in The Lord of the Rings fanfic, often though not always with Elves. This site debunks the idea.
    "This is a fanon invention that has Elves, who are dying either of wounds or grief, "bond" with another Elf or man, by mingling their blood, having sex and thus getting new strength; sort of leeching life off the other and forever living like that. In this case, if one of the Elves "bonded" dies then the remaining Elf must find someone else to bond with or also die. I found no explicit or implicit grounds for this in Tolkien's writing. Still a very interesting concept. Once again Laws and Customs of the Eldar, History of Middle-earth: Morgoth's Ring holds the most information regarding elven relationships."
  • A Darker and Edgier Redwall fanfic used this to explain Veil's conception. Swartt had apparently no interest in Bluefen in canon, yet they had a kid. The characters involved are anthropomorphic ferrets, and the females have a tendency to develop diseases of the bone marrow if they don't mate at the appropriate time. Sooo ...
  • There's a Doctor Who fanfic, A Feline's Fancy with a subplot where a female human pet of the Catkind wants the Doctor to get her pregnant so the Venemor, a race of aliens with spiky heads, can't get her pregnant with their spiky-headed babies, which would kill the slave girl in childbirth (yeah, a definite ouch and Squick). The Doctor doesn't go through it, but saves her later from dying in childbirth.
    • Another, rather less thought-through Doctor Who fanfic unintentionally managed to point out the Unfortunate Implications inherent in the Mate or Freeze scenario: The Doctor and Rose are trapped somewhere and Rose is freezing to death. Since the Doctor's natural body temperature is too low to do Rose any good, he grudgingly resolves to do the one thing he can to raise his own temperature, in order to act as a thermal blanket for Rose afterwards. However, the writer has him angst about this decision for a while, because Rose is near catatonic with cold at this point and really too out of it to consent or get any pleasure out of the act. He even worries that her body has shut down too far to make sex physically possible. But then he finds that she's still wet enough that it won't hurt her, so it's all good. Except that the readers are left to ask themselves why the Doctor had to involve Rose's anatomy at all, if all he needed was to induce his own physical arousal...
  • There is even a series of oneshots on Adultfanfiction where the Doctor crosses into Star Trek universe and gets 'infected' by Vulcanian pon farr. This makes for one happy Jack Harkness, companion at the time. After the first, oneshots gets weirder and weirder and could be squicky to someone.
  • The Doctor Who AU fanfic series Destined revolves around the idea that male Gallifreyans have a sex drive only during two of their regenerations, but the drive is so strong that if they don't get a release for their need every so often it can affect their health to the point of causing a regeneration (effectively death). The real problem is that their sex drive is exclusively focused towards one person only, they imprint on a female present during their post-regeneration crisis. The fanfic focuses on the Fifth Doctor and Tegan, who is the target. Neither of them is very entusiastic about the situation.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: There's an fanfic Bound. where Shinji and Asuka are kidnapped by SEELE and put into a meat locker naked as punishment for Shinji aborting Third Impact. Naturally, Asuka comes up with an idea how they could make more heat before the dropping temperature kills them. Cue this trope.
  • Naruto: There is an ItaSaku oneshot floating around in which Sakura had ingested nightshade, and the fastest way for her to burn it out of her system long enough to make an antidote is to have sex with a certain Uchiha.
  • This trope comes up fairly often in any given fandom. Often takes the form of, essentially, something akin to this: a character afflicted with a poison/drug/substance/aphrodisiac/etc that for whatever reason amps up their sex drive times eleven. Not only does it make them virtually crazy with lust, their partner is confronted with the knowledge that if the afflicted is not satiated they'll suffer horrible consequences ranging from extreme discomfort/injury, to insanity, to actual death. Mate or die, truly. Oh and having sex once isn't good enough. It's going to last for hours.
  • A milder version comes up in quite a lot of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic lemons: Ponies have a mating season just like real horses (or as similar as the author's knowledge of horses allow). While they don't die if they don't have sex, they become quite obsessed with it and it makes anything but trying to get laid very hard, justifying OOC behaviour and the like. The end results vary: In Why Didn't Ah Stay At The Farm, Big Macintosh makes the mistake of going into town during that time, while in Fun Bus to Manehattan the Mane 6 decides to counter the lack of eligible males in Ponville by just taking the bus to Manehattan for some quick sex tourism (NSFW, though the mood of the stories for each of the Mane 6 is actually quite different).
  • This Angel fanfic, "Offerings", uses this plot. The author's summary is simply "Demons made them do it", though the characters were in an established relationship.
  • One As the World Turns fanfic has Luke and Reid snowed in and have to get warm. It turns out Reid actually had that planned all along. Reid's a doctor, so Luke believed the having to keep each other warm excuse.
  • Stargate fandom has an entire sub-genre often referred to as "Aliens Made Them Do It". Generally, two or more characters are forced to have sex in order to conform to some bizarre alien ritual. Examples range from humorous crack fic to extreme pathos.
  • An example from Empath: The Luckiest Smurf: Empath, in an alternate timeline where he is returned to Psychelia a year after his 150th birthday, suffers from this condition, and thus a female Psyche is chosen to be his mate. What makes this example odd is that the Psyches are Expies of Vulcans and yet for the most part are raised to be asexual.
    • Also in the story "Papa's Big Crush", where Papa Smurf is affected by the "pheromone cologne" mixed with other chemicals, causing him to be Hulked Out and to have an insatiable desire for Smurfette. Fortunately, Smurfette was spared the squicky fate by the Smurfs creating a life-size doll of her for Papa Smurf to expend his mating energy upon.
    • And in "Grouchy And The Love Doll", his now-animate love doll Angel tells Grouchy that he must make love to her or else she will die.
  • In the Hero: The Guardian Smurf story "Smurfette's Crazy Love", Smurfette comes down with a condition where she grows breasts and has an insatiable desire to mate with Hero, who at the time was married to Wonder. Realizing that Smurfette could die if she doesn't mate with Hero, and also that Hero didn't want to do anything that would make him unfaithful to his first wife, the Smurfs create a life-size doll of Hero for Smurfette to expend her mating energy upon.
  • Meg's Boyfriend: Jillian and Chris get trapped in a cabin after an avalanche. It begins to get cold, and well, you can probably guess what happens next.
  • A Downplayed example in the RWBY fanfic Linked in Life and Love kicks off the plot, as Blake the cat Faunus starts to go into heat just as a lockdown of Beacon Academy is initiated and she finds she's out of the medication normally distributed to Faunus to help suppress it. While there's no suggestion that she'd actually die if she's not relieved, one hour into trying to get through it cold turkey and Blake's already sweating and trembling, nearly kissing Ruby without asking because Blake's having trouble staying lucid — and there's still nine more hours to go. Blake knows already that going solo won't stop the symptoms, and online research by the rest of Team RWBY indicates that Blake's symptoms will progress to a high fever and phantom pains if left unchecked.
    Yang: (to herself after reading the research) She won't make it to morning. It'd be hell.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Crank, in which the lead character needs to keep his heart pumping with adrenaline in order to keep himself alive, where one of the methods for doing so was for him to have sex with someone. In public.
  • The premise of Daniel & Ana is about a brother and sister who were kidnapped and forced to have sex with one another on camera to survive.
  • The Invention of Lying: Invoked when Ricky Gervais' character discovers lying for the first time in human history. To test his new-found ability, he stops a random attractive woman on the street (Stephanie March) and tells her that unless they have sex "right now" that the world will come to an end. Never realizing that he might not be telling the truth, she agrees in an instant.
    • "Do we have time to get a hotel room? Or should we just do it here?"
    • There is a certain irony in the fact that Ms. March played the ADA on Law & Order: SVU for a number of years.
  • Once Bitten: In the (very early) Jim Carrey comedy, the ancient vampire played by Lauren Hutton has to feed on the blood of teenage male virgins to renew her youth. Carrey's girlfriend saves him before the third (final) bite. No, not by killing the vampire, smart guy.
  • Film example, Stephen Chow movie Royal Tramp 2. A villainess is hit with a poison that will kill her before dawn unless she mates with a man. The lucky man turns out to be, you guessed it, Stephen Chow.
    • Actually, she was the villainess for the first movie and about half of the sequel, until the aforementioned scene took place. After that, she's basically part of Stephen Chow's harem.

  • In Laurell K. Hamiltion's Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series the title character becomes a sort of succubus. She has to have sex regularly or she will die. Often this leads to situations were she has to have emergency sex to save herself or others.
  • Jory and Kol in S.L. Viehl's Blade Dancer.
  • Mike Resnick wrote a parody of "The Cold Equations" called "Catastrophe Baker and the Cold Equations", in which the spaceship's pilot and the stowaway keep the temperature up by generating their own heat.
  • Used in the Dragonlance short story Raistlin's Daughter, in which a mysterious woman accidentally forms a painful magical connection with the titular character that can only be severed if she bears his child. When she finally tracks him down and gets him alone so she can explain, Raistlin is less than pleased. Of course, they're conveniently alone in a cave in the middle of a blizzard with no reliable source of heat. note 
  • White Court vampires from The Dresden Files feed off their victims' emotional energies, usually by having sex with them. There are cases in the series where badly-wounded Whites have slipped into a sexual-predatory frenzy, enthralling or outright raping any victim unlucky enough to come within reach, so they can use the stolen energies to heal their own potentially-fatal wounds.
  • The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross has Ramona Random, an assassin from the CIA's occult equivalent with a succubus bound to her soul. The thing is regularly "fed" by consuming the souls of people Ramona has sex with...and when it gets hungry and Ramona's mark dies of a heart attack before climaxing, she's in a rough spot, as "if it doesn't get the little death, it'll go straight for the big one."
  • The title characters of The Lords of Satyr are half-Satyr men who are stricken with overwhelming lust when the moon is full — if they cannot discharge this lust at least once before sunrise, they die. Lyon Satyr falls victim to a sleep spell at exactly the wrong moment, forcing another character to rape him to save his life — even then, complex rules about what counts as 'mating' mean that he does not fully recover until his lover Juliette has sex with him.
  • Kathleen Morgan's romance novel Heart's Surrender features a race of vaguely feline Human Aliens, who are at very least unlikely to survive the night if they don't have sex when their planet's three moons are aligned.
  • In the novel Innocence by Jane Mendelsohn, the main character believes that her stepmother will kill her to drink her virgin menstrual blood. She conveniently has a boyfriend, so she cures herself of this virginity thing, much to the anger of the stepmother, who really was after her blood.
  • In a second-hand example, the Protectors from Larry Niven's Known Space stories usually lose the will to live, stop eating, and die if their fertile offspring die or are rendered unable to mate and breed.
  • The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle invokes this without the Applied Phlebotinum. The plot of the novel involves First Contact with a species of aliens who literally die if they don't mate and get pregnant due to their Bizarre Alien Biology. The resulting overpopulation hasn't been very good for their long-term prospects as a civilization.
  • Retired Witches Mysteries: The sea witch in book 2 reveals that if she doesn't mate with a male witch who can survive the experience once every hundred years, she'll die. Unfortunately, if they aren't the right one for her, they die. This ceases to be an issue once she's been returned to her sea god husband.
  • Played straight in Sherman Alexie's short story The Sin Eaters, where the narrator is twelve years old and all the American Indians are rounded up and placed in facilities where they are forced to donate blood and marrow because they have an immune gene of some kind that protects against a virus. The government forces him to breed with a thirty-year-old woman who has already been with several men because — as per the myths of some Native American peoples — the more men she's with, the stronger the child will be.
  • Lisanne Norman's Sholan Alliance series features Leska pairs who live and die by this trope.
  • In Women of the Otherworld, Karl tries desperately to stay away from Hope, but ultimately is unable to because his inner wolf has chosen her as his mate and he can't bear to be away from her any longer. It gets to the point where he practically jumps her in her apartment (though he does let her know that at any point she can tell him to gtfo and he'll comply).
    • Disturbingly, the next book in the series introduces the kumpania, a cult of inbred clairvoyants who are required by their own laws to produce a child within a year of marriage. Any who fail to comply go through what can easily be called group rape — the woman is forced to have sex with all the other adult males in the kumpania until she gets pregnant.

    Live Action TV 
  • One of the most common examples is, of course, the "we're trapped somewhere really cold" situation, where there's only one logical way to get warm . . . This is partially Truth in Television, because the most effective way to warm up a hypothermia patient in the wilderness is to share a sleeping bag with them, but both the warmer and warmee can keep their underwear on. (The reason it's only partially truth is that when people are that cold, it's physiologically all but impossible to become sexually aroused: withdrawal of blood flow from the skin conserves heat, leaving none to spare for the genitalia.)
    • That exact fact was used as an innuendo in The X-Files episode "Detour". Scully tries to keep Mulder warm after he goes into shock from being attacked by a wild animal. Mulder quips "I've heard the best way to generate body heat is to crawl naked into a sleeping bag with someone else who's already naked." Scully replies "Well, maybe if it rains sleeping bags, you'll get lucky." Unfortunately, this never happens.
    • One example of this was an episode of Taxi, with Latka Gravis and some random female cabdriver. They do it, and it almost destroys Latka's marriage.
      • Well, technically it does destroy his marriage. They then remarry 30 seconds later swearing to "really try to make it work this time"
    • Played for laughs in Boy Meets World when Eric and a rather attractive female co-worker with a good deal of out door survival knowledge get trapped in their car. She does this once Eric begins to succumb to the cold (off screen of course, as this is Disney) and explains how they survived later. Eric is mortified that she didn't wake him so he could enjoy being under the cover of a sleeping bag naked with a girl. She does seriously point out that they were in a little more danger than casual sex would permit.
    • A same-sex version of this was used in the 1990s sitcom Pig Sty, where one of the five guys sharing an apartment got frozen while he was barbecuing for a party being held in the middle of winter. The resident physician who examined the frozen guy said that someone has to sleep naked with him in order to restore his body temperature. The other men in the apartment didn't seem so willing.
  • A variation in Farscape. If the princess doesn't marry John, she can't be queen because he's the only male who can give her healthy children (a prerequisite for becoming queen); if she can't be queen, the crown goes to her brother; if he becomes King, he allies the Kingdom with the Scarran Empire, the Peacekeepers invade by way of retaliation and hundreds of billions of people die- likely including the princess. On the other hand, if John doesn't marry the princess, he gets turned over to Scorpius to be tortured and killed. They end up splitting the difference and using his genetics for her children but having her marry the guy she's actually in love with (and lying about who the father is).
  • The writers of Red Dwarf wrote a script "Identity Within", where the Cat has to breed with a female of his species or be killed by a growing poison sac in his body. The crew find a female, but as her species is a Proud Warrior Race she's none too impressed by Cat until he proves himself in combat. Unfortunately the script proved too expensive to film, which means (ironically) that Red Dwarf's resident ladies man is the only member of the crew who never gets laid. A reading of the script by Chris Barrie is available on the Series VII DVD.
  • This is — no, really— canon in Skins, with bonus incest: in retaliation for a vicious prank, Josh Stock kidnaps Tony's sister Effy, overdoses her with heroin, and tries to force Tony to have sex with her before he'll call an ambulance, although he inexplicably (very likely for real-life reasons having to do with Kaya Scodelario's age) backs down rather than make them go through with it.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: The episode "Amok Time" reveals that Spock must return to Vulcan and mate or he will die. All Vulcans go through a process known as Pon Farr every 7 years; it makes them increasingly agitated, violent and dangerous for anyone, especially unmarried women, to be around. (Despite what some believe, there's no indication that Vulcans only mate during pon farr, only that they must do so at that time. D.C. Fontana confirmed that Vulcans can and do feel desire and take mates at other times.) While Vulcans are betrothed at the age of seven to ensure they have a marriage partner for when Pon Farr finally strikes, Spock is in deep space when his occurs, meaning his condition is very advanced by the time they finally reach Vulcan. As Spock's intended wife doesn't want to marry him, she challenges the arrangement by demanding Kirk fight Spock on her behalf, expecting Kirk to be killed and Spock to spurn her in retaliation. Believing he's killed Kirk, Spock is snapped out of the Pon Farr and he does indeed free his intended wife from the arrangement. This episode is responsible for launching Slash Fic as a fanfic genre, and has made Kirk/Spock one of the most enduring and prolific fanfic pairings of all time.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • They solved Tuvok's pon farr with the holodeck so he could be with a simulation of his wife (who's waiting for him across the galaxy on Vulcan), though he was interrupted the first time.
    • Another episode solved Tuvok's pon farr by having the Doctor SING at him until they could knock him out. Subversion, since it was just a holodeck simulation by the Doctor.
    • On yet another episode, Ensign Vorik, a Vulcan, mind melds with Torres while in the throes of Pon Farr, thus "infecting" her with it. Paris agrees to do the deed to cure her, but Vorik is infatuated with Torres and challenges Paris to a ritual fight for her. Torres is having none of that, so she decides to fight as Paris' champion. She and Vorik end up fighting each other, thus purging their Pon Farrs without sex.
  • And in Star Trek: Enterprise, an alien virus caused T'Pol's Pon Farr to manifest early. Unlike earlier examples, instead of growing general irritability and irrational anger she acts like a cat in heat. A cure was found before she could convince someone to do the deed. In the Mirror Universe, however, Tucker does make reference to "helping" her with that problem.
  • Joked about in Teen Wolf, where virgins are being kidnapped for Virgin Sacrifice, and Stiles declares that someone needs to sex him right now to protect his life. Danny jokingly volunteers, and Stiles is annoyed to find out he was kidding.
  • In an episode of Tracker, one of the aliens has a build-up of poisons that must be "released" daily, in order for him to survive. To that end, he becomes a pickup artist, sleeping with women and leaving before they lapse into a coma. Needless to say, he gets very upset when he is just about to do it with yet another woman, and she suddenly changes her mind, as he doesn't have time to go look for another.
    • Said woman was Mel, the titular alien tracker's human (mostly) partner. Her task was to act as bait, so that Cole could get a jump on the guy. Unfortunately, Cole was late, so Mel had to play the "changed my mind" card... and nearly got raped for her trouble.
  • Thanks to her feline DNA, Max on Dark Angel goes into heat twice a year, as seen in the episodes "Heat" and "Meow", which makes her check out or come onto every male in close proximity. While she won't literally die if she doesn't have sex, it sure feels like it. In "Heat" she ultimately doesn't have sex and the situation is largely Played for Laughs; in "Meow" she bangs attractive delivery guy Rafer and the emotional aftermath of her hormones driving her to have a one-night stand with a stranger when her rational mind didn't really want to is treated a lot more seriously.

  • A Flock of Seagulls' "Say So Much" just says it in the lyrics:
    Oh, don't stay a mother's child. Make love to me before I die.

    Oral Tradition 
Hehe, "oral"...
  • This trope is the basis for an old joke: A doctor and his residents are making the rounds when they discover a man masturbating in one of the examination rooms. One of the residents asks why he is doing this, and the doctor explains: "This man has a rare condition where he must have an orgasm every hour or he will suffer a fatal hemorrhage." Several rooms later, they come across a man receiving a blowjob from a gorgeous blonde nurse. Again the residents ask what's happening and the doctor responds: "Same problem, better insurance."
  • In one ancient Irish myth, the goddess, the Morrígan, heartily recommended that the hero Cú Chulainn surrender to her advances for his own health. Cú Chulainn (depending on who tells it either trying for once to be faithful to his wife Emer or having heard bad things about men who had sex with the Morrígan) doesn't, and in revenge, she orchestrated his death years later, in the form of a Morton's Fork that forces him to break one of his two geasa, by offering him a meal of dog's meat. (Cú Chulainn's geasa forbade him both from eating dog meat and from refusing an offer of hospitality.) By breaking one geas for another, Cú Chulainn lost his supernatural strength and died in battle the next day.
  • This was attempted in the The Epic of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh turned down Ishtar's marriage proposal for the excellent reason that all her lovers die quickly and horribly after loving her. In response, Ishtar throws a temper tantrum to convince her father, the sky-god Anu to sic the Bull of Heaven, embodiment of the gods' vengeance, on Gilgamesh's city, Uruk, to destroy everyone in it. Predictably, Gilgamesh and Enkiddu slew the Bull, and offered the beast's heart to the sun god Shamash. When Ishtar came to the walls of Uruk to curse Gilgamesh again, Enkiddu came to his friend's defense, and tore off the Bull's right thigh, throwing it at her face while threatening to do the same to her. As a result, Ishtar convinced the other gods to curse Enkiddu with a fatal illness, and thus, grant her some measure of revenge against Gilgamesh for spurning her.

  • In the Book of Genesis from The Bible, Jacob's second wife Rachel gets jealous that her sister, his first wife Leah, is giving him children, and demands "Give me children [literally sons] or I'll die." (Whether that means she will kill herself or something else entirely is unknown.) When Jacob tells her that he's not in the place of God to decide whether or not she would have children, Rachel gives him her handmaid so that she could have children through an ancient form of surrogacy, thus averting the trope. Still not satisfied, Rachel has one of Leah's sons give her some of the mandrakes (believed to be an inducer of fertility) in exchange for Jacob sleeping with Leah and giving her more children. It's only when God finally decides to grant Rachel conception that she gives birth to her first son Joseph.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Wang-liang, a race of utterly black-skinned ogres from the Kara-tur setting, live for over two thousand years, but their females become fertile exactly once during their lifetimes. If she doesn't find a mate before her year-long fertility period ends, a female wang-liang will die, and similarly, if a male wang-liang doesn't find a mate ten years after reaching sexual maturity, he'll perish as well. Fortunately for the species, wang-liang births always result in mixed-sex twins or quadruplets, so they tend to have a steady gender ratio. But this reproductive quirk isn't doing the wang-liang any favors, so between that and competition from their infinitely more prolific human rivals, the giants consider themselves a Dying Race.

    Video Games 
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, it's revealed that the only way to kill the Archdemon permanently is for Grey Warden to deliver the killing blow, preventing the Archdemon from body-surfing to the nearest Darkspawn and instead forcing it into the Grey Warden, killing them both. However, Morrigan offers a way out by performing a Blood Magic ritual with either a Male Warden or Alistair/Loghain, impregnating her with a child who will absorb the soul of the Archdemon in their place, but free from all the corruption of the Taint.
  • In Barney's Problem, Dr. Grim tells Barney that he has the ultra-rare condition Bollockus Explodingus and needs to have some "reasonably okay" sex in order to, well, not die rather messily.

    Visual Novels 
  • In the visual novel of Fate/stay night people can share their magical energy by having sex. This paves the way for Shirou and Saber having sex before confronting Berserker and Gilgamesh on two separate occasions, and Shirou having sex with Rin before fighting Archer in the UBW section of the novel.
    • This also holds for the Heaven's Feel route, due to the fact that the worms in Sakura's body and the strain of maintaining Rider are burning up her prana like crazy, which makes her clamor for anything that can restore it. Largely meaning sex. It starts out embarrassing for her and Shirou, but they're in love, so they don't mind. Rather squickily, this is also the reason why Zouken had Shinji regularly rape Sakura and was implied to have done so himself—training her with Crest Worms massacred her prana supply.
  • In the first volume of Nekopara, Chocola and Vanilla trick Kashou into believing this is the case for their species. When he finds out otherwise, he's a bit irked.
  • Tsukihime plays this literally; making sexy time is the only way to hold back Roa in Ciel's route. She likes it in the ass, though, so it may not exactly be mating.
    • And then there are Hisui and Kohaku's routes, as the two girls are "Synchronizers" and can boost the energy and healing of anyone they have sex with. Hisui's first time with Shiki, Lord of Bedroom Jackassery, is used to save him from energy drain and Kohaku's poisons. Kohaku does it to recharge Shiki in her route, as well, and Makihisa's rationale for raping her when she was a little girl was that if he didn't use her power, he'd go insane.
    • Completely averted in another route: Akiha's, as she and Shiki have sex when she's barely got a grip left on her humanity. Shortly afterward, she becomes the Crimson Red Vermilion, which to Akiha is, for all intents and purposes, equal to death for her, as once a Tohno has lost to their inversion impulse they're no longer human.

  • In Doctor Voluptua, one patient is in this situation thanks to his sentient singing penis, which will eventually take over if not... satisfied.
  • Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire: In a rather ... controversial flashback, Stonewater rescues Melna, while they're both children, from execution by claiming her as his wife. Unbeknownst to Stonewater, Melna's tribe holds to the tradition that claiming a wife requires immediate physical consummation. As Melna just witnessed both her parents die, she is emotionally hysterical and unable to give effective consent, so Stonewater is forced to rape her. This is shown to be a deeply traumatic experience for both of them.
  • Inverted in Grant: it's pretty much Mate Or Kill (in actual fact, simple oral contact with skin will satisfy his Horror Hunger, but it never ends at just smooching).
  • In Homestuck, the Alternian trolls have a bizarre and brutal reproductive system involving genetic material collection by IMPERIAL DRONES. The brutal part comes in when the drone finds someone who refuses to, or simply cannot, fill the FILIAL PAILS; it simply kills him/her.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has comic 1194 and comic 2078
  • In Tina's Story, canine and feline hybrids in their heat cycle have a milder form of Pon Farr: They won't die if they don't have sex, but they'll want to, suffering mental and physical distress. When Tina's cycle came unexpectedly soon after giving birth, she needed medical intervention so her body could recover properly.

    Web Original 
  • This trope is the premise of the Livejournal based roleplaying game Amat Omnes (generally referred to as "Amat"): a Goddess kidnaps characters from their homeworlds, plunks them on an island from which there is no possible escape, and puts on collars them that will gradually choke them to death unless they have sex at least once every two weeks. Luckily for all involved the definition of "sex" is loosely defined to "as long as two people, inappropriate touching, and mutual orgasm is involved".
  • Nappa plays this straight in Dragon Ball Z Abridged, when he (and an unwilling Vegeta) land on the Arlians' planet and force their king and queen to mate on pain of death- except it's the entire race and planet at risk, not just the maters. Unfortunately for the Arlians, after Nappa and Vegeta leave, Vegeta blows up the planet anyway.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, episode 16:
    Tristan: He wants a virgin sacrifice! Quick, Téa, have sex with me! It's the only way to stop him!
    Téa: Hell no, I'm saving myself for Yugi! ...I mean marriage.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Duckman episode "Pig Amok", an ancestor of Cornfed ate a poisoned berry that messed with his DNA, causing all his descendants to die if they wait too long before losing their virginity. Or something.
  • Futurama:
    • In one episode, Leela and Zapp are forced to have sex by a censorship death star/V-ger homage. It thought they were Adam and Eve, and decided that them mating was the only way to redeem Earth's for its sexually promiscuous sins. If they didn't mate, it would have destroyed Earth.
    • Inverted with the Decapodians (Zoidberg's species), who are instinctively drawn back to their home planet to mate, and then die. Fry states this dilemma pretty succinctly:
      Fry: You mean you have to choose between life without sex and a gruesome death? Tough call.

Alternative Title(s): Hump Or Die, Pon Farr