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Modesty Bedsheet

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"Sexy women would 'happen' to be topless in the 1970s movies for no better reason than that everyone agreed, including themselves, that their breasts were a genuine pleasure to regard — the most beautiful naturally occurring shapes in nature, I believe. Now we see breasts only in serious films, for expressing reasons. There's been such a comeback for the strategically positioned bed sheet, you'd think we were back in the 1950s."

A character who is nude in bed uses the bedsheet to cover their private parts. This can happen a few ways: a nude character might get out of bed and wrap a sheet pulled from the bed to avoid exposing nudity to a sexual partner (or even an empty room) and, coincidentally, to the viewer. Another frequent variation is during a sex scene, when a man and a woman are nude in bed together, the sheet falls to the man's waist, but has the woman's bust covered up while they're making love. Apparently, L-shaped blankets, also known as the His 'n' Hers Bedsheet, are a fad in fictionland. There's also a unisex bed sheet that also falls to the woman's waist and leaves her bust uncovered. The latter was very popular during the seventies and early eighties.

Even in cable shows such as Entourage and Californication, which freely show topless women, sex scenes frequently feature sheets tightly wrapped around the waists of the two actors simulating coitus.


Done well, audiences won't even really notice. It's not unusual for people to have a sense of modesty, even when alone or with a lover. Or they may simply be cold. However, done poorly it can be incredibly jarring and break viewers' suspension of disbelief.

While this is a censorship trope, it is also a Fanservice one—a woman wearing solely a bedsheet is, well, a woman wearing solely a bedsheet...

See also Scenery Censor, Modesty Towel, Modesty Rags, and Right Through His Pants. Compare Toplessness from the Back, another way of showing nudity without showing nudity.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yumiko from Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou twirls with extreme speed to wrap her sheet around her, right before the viewer expects to see more.
  • Ouran High School Host Club has a scene where Tamaki rises from his bed suddenly and the sheet seems to just follow him up, wrapping him much like a Greek god. This is partially a parody, as the scene takes place in Tamaki's imagination.
  • Also parodied in Puni Puni Poemi, with what looks like a sex scene entirely covered by bedsheets, with legs randomly sticking out at the sides. When the sheets are pulled back, both participants are shown to be fully clothed and holding mannequin legs on sticks.
  • The same technique is used in Fullmetal Alchemist: It was just Hawkeye getting her feet licked by Black Hayate, causing her to make the strangely sexual giggling.
  • Phantom Quest Corp.:
    • Used to preserve Ayaka's modesty, since she habitually sleeps in the nude, though you'll still see her legs and the swell of her breasts (with an occasional nipple slip).
    • Also seen in the third Incident File, when Mr. Nagasuka and his secretary are in bed together, at his condominium.
  • Queen's Blade: Both Leina and her younger sister, Elina, also have a habit of sleeping in the nude, with only their bedsheets to cover themselves.
  • Used by Kiyomi Takada in Death Note. After Mello kidnaps and strips her, but she still manages to kill him since she hid a piece of the Death Note in her bra, she wraps herself in a bedsheet and tries to contact Light... who makes her burn herself to death.
  • Kamigami no Asobi: The Gods are depicted this way in the show's ending animation', which is about a Crossover Cosmology harem.
  • After her "time out" with Chairman Dullindall, we see Talia Gladys from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny wear one of these too.
  • 009-1: Mylene Hoffman/Agent 009-1 is shown using Modesty Bedsheets (combined with Toplessness from the Back) on several occasions. In fact, she was wearing nothing but a bedsheet in her very first appearance in the very first episode.
  • Witch Hunter Robin: Robin sleeps in the nude, which is surprising considering she was raised in a convent.
  • Berserk: Subverted. The anime version briefly used a cape during Guts and Casca's love scene. But a few seconds later....
  • Shimoneta: Ayame uses hers as part of her 'Blue Snow' cover identity, in which, she runs around naked in public. The sheet she wears is fashioned into a cloak with two buttons near 'the collar', to keep it in place (SFW link).
  • In Wild Rose, Kiri uses one when he wakes up after transforming without any clothes on and wants to leave the manor. He does it again when Bernt enters his room without warning the morning after he sleeps with Mikhail.
  • In chapter five of the manga, Mitsu No Tsumatta Joushi, the protagonist gets out of bed naked underneath a loosely wrapped bed sheet. He goes outside and dances with his lover wearing nothing but the sheet.
  • Subverted by Kaoru in ...Virgin Love, who sometimes covers his torso with a bedsheet but is buck naked from the waist down. It's not clear what the bedsheet is doing, but it's not protecting his modesty by any means.
  • Nanoka from Koi Kaze can be seen covering herself with a bedsheet in the penultimate episode of the anime. This can probably be chalked up to her young age and the awkwardness of just having had sex with her own brother.
  • In Fairy Tail, Lucy ends up having to cover herself this way after having to do some Intimate Healing on Natsu while he's in a coma.

    Comic Books 
  • The fact that Todd and Damon did this in Manhunter came in handy for them when Todd's father walked in on them.
  • In one issue of Preacher, Jesse and Tulip are in bed, with the Modesty Bedsheet partially avoided: it covers them both below the waist, and we get to see Tulip topless. At the same time, the comic shies away from showing actual genitalia.
  • In at least one issue of Superman, Lois Lane and her husband reunite passionately. Afterward, Lois makes use of a Modesty Cape.
    • The Modesty Cape is reused in an utterly (albeit intentionally) ridiculous scene in The Dark Knight Strikes Again where Superman and Wonder Woman copulate whilst flying around the world (and at one point through a volcano) somehow without removing their costumes, but Supes' cape still hides the dirty deed all the same.
  • Used in the "Across Diamond Seas" story arc for Xanadu. Alicia modestly covers herself with a bedsheet when she comes to in the presence of the kirin who "rescued" her (long story there). She later uses the sheet as a make-shift dress until the kirin offers her more suitable clothing. Oddly enough, Alicia didn't seem that concerned with modesty in the "Thief of Hearts" story arch.
  • In one issue of Runaways, Nico and Victor are found in bed together after what is pretty clearly implied to have been a sexual encounter. However, both are fully clothed.
  • Paradoxically used in Irredeemable. Cutter gets a Modesty Bedsheet after sleeping with the Plutonian... even though she's an alien with Barbie Doll Anatomy who's always been nude in previous scenes.
  • In the third Damage Control miniseries, a movie is made about the main characters. It includes what is, to judge by the characters' reaction, a fairly explicit sex scene. Afterwards we see the actress sitting up in bed and clutching a sheet to her breasts; one of the characters wonders why she's bothering to hide them now.
  • From Sex Criminals; when Suzie realizes that the guy she just slept with was unaffected by the time-freeze, she leaps out of bed, grabbing the sheet to cover herself. Given that they just finished having sex, it's probably more from panic than modesty.
  • In The Golden Age, when Joan Dale interrupts a moment of intimacy between Lance Gallant and Paula Brooks around Christmas to show them Tex Thompson's Secret Diary, Paula wraps herself up in a bedsheet while Lance ends up wearing a bathrobe to cover himself.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): In the Huntress backup feature Helena wraps herself in the bedsheet when she wakes up in Gary Minelli's bed and discovers he undressed her while she was unconscious.
    • When Ares creepily wakes up Diana in Wonder Woman (2006) her modesty is initially preserved via her sheet, but as she then gets up the scene relies on Godiva Hair and Sexy Silhouette to keep her covered up for the reader. She doesn't see any need to cover up while confronting Ares, and he doesn't comment on it.
    • When Zola accidentally wakes Diana in Wonder Woman (2011) Diana's sheet manages to keep her covered from her breasts to her upper thighs.

  • This was already enough of a Discredited Trope in 1962 to be parodied in Shoot the Piano Player. Charlie is lying in bed, his chest uncovered, waiting for a prostitute. She crawls into his bed topless... and he thrusts the sheet into an l-shape over her breasts, saying "this is how you do it in the movies."
  • In America's Sweethearts, whose two lead characters end up sleeping together, the next morning not only is there the bedsheet, but both characters are partly dressed.
  • Used in the beginning of Iron Man, where Tony Stark's one-night stand Christine Everhart wakes up and—possibly out of confusion and not knowing just who's going to walk in—grabs a sheet when JARVIS wakes her up. It's partially justified in that Pepper had taken her clothes to be dry-cleaned, so she doesn't have a choice for a cover up in a room with such a huge window. After that, however, she wears one of Tony's shirts (and nothing else).
  • In the Stephen Chow vehicle Tricky Brains, his character at one point wears a tan body-suit to a business meeting in a restaurant on which is written the characters for "I am naked."
  • Lampshaded in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, when Bridget is getting out of bed trying to cover herself with the bedsheet, and her bedmate points out that it's a silly thing to do because "I happen to have a very high regard for your wobbly bits." She promptly decides to drop the sheet.
  • Probably lampshaded in Amazon Women on the Moon when the buxom Corinne Wahl's breasts fill the screen for several minutes prior to a moderately explicit sex scene... when the sketch abruptly becomes a caught-cheating drama, they are never again seen, hidden behind the obligatory bedsheet.
  • One subversion used in film ('Running Scared (1986)', 'The Big Easy'), is where the woman wears a bedsheet to feign modesty in front of a visitor, not her sex partner. She is covered in the front while facing the visitor, but the audience get some fanservice because her rear end is uncovered in the back. This might need its own trope. Hmm.
  • In Mississippi Masala, when it shows Meena and Demetrius in bed after they have sex, they are both covered up by the sheet. Then, when Meena's father's friends knock on their hotel door, Demetrius gets up and pulls some pants on, but you can tell he's not wearing underwear. Then they barge in and Meena gets up and covers herself with a sheet, and it is obvious that she is naked under the sheet.
  • In Cabin Fever, an impulsive affair is shown with a bedsheet covering the rudest bits. Despite the woman's vigorous gyrations, the bedsheet amazingly stays in the exact same position. Reportedly, the actress doing all the thrusting, Cerina Vincent, struck a deal with the director to limit her nudity in the film, and did the scene with bedsheets literally duct taped to her posterior, to prevent them falling off.
  • Bizarrely played straight in Titanic (1997) with Jack and Rose in the back of a car. Not only is it uncertain where they got the blanket, but it took place not ten minutes after the famous nudie painting scene. Allegedly, this was because of James Cameron's tiptoeing around the censors, to still allow the movie to be PG-13. Nudity while posing for a painting probably counted as "tasteful", while nudity during coitus probably did not.
  • In another Leonardo DiCaprio movie, William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, 21-year-old Romeo and 16-year-old Juliet are shown lying on the bed with the bedsheets around their waists (but Juliet had her bare back to the camera, effectively covering her breasts). Romeo then sits up and proceeds to put on his boxers, all the while hiding his hips under a conveniently placed bedsheet. Juliet later employs it when the nurse walks in the room.
  • Shows up from time to time in the James Bond series:
    • Played so straight in GoldenEye it almost seems to be lampshading this trope—the sheets are extremely low on Bond's waist, but they're practically up to Natalya Simonova's chin.
    • Zig-zagged with Elektra King in The World Is Not Enough. She averts it post-coitus with Bond, where he's lying on his side, cuddled up next to Elektra, while she's lying on her stomach (resulting in Toplessness from the Back), with the sheet pushed down to BOTH of their waists. She turns over at one point and we get a brief glimpse of her breast before it cuts to a head shot. In light of this, it's played bizarrely straight later on post-coitus between Elektra and Renard, complete with Elektra strutting around the room with a bedsheet specifically covering her naughty bits.
  • Inverted in Dagon, where the male character has the sheet most of the way up his chest, but the other half of the sheet is somewhere around the female character's hips or (depending on the point in the scene) knees.
  • Played straight in Goodbye Lenin. Alex and Lara fall on Lara's bed laughing. The next scene is the morning after and Alex gets out of bed still wearing his shorts, somewhat strange in a film that does feature full-frontal male nudity.
  • A very similar variation appears in Knocked Up, also involving Heigl's character in that film.
  • Chase Meridian is naked under a silk bedsheet in Batman Forever when she gets a surprise visit by Batman in the middle of the night.
  • Eve Peabody from Midnight (1939) sports this when she first wakes up in the hotel since her only outfit, an evening gown, isn't very comfortable to sleep in.
  • Alan in The Hangover makes a sort of improvised bedsheet skirt when he can't find his pants.
  • Utilized in the PBS filmed version of the musical Passion for the opening scene. While Clara and Georgio are shown having sex with her on top as the curtain rises, her back is to the audience, and the sheets are conveniently arranged so you never see Marin Mazzie's breasts. Averted in the actual play.
  • A less-common male example in Ravenous (1999)—albeit with no sex involved—in which Colqhoun is completely naked and holds the blanket bunched over his naughty bits. Cuts to something like Toplessness from the Back, except that it's not toplessness so much as everything-but-the-socks-lessness.
  • Occurs in the The Rocky Horror Picture Show after Frank catches Janet and Rocky having sex. But warranted, as the entire cast comes to gawk at them.
  • Laetitia Casta playing Brigitte Bardot does a phenomenally sexy dance with a modesty bedsheet in the French film Gainsbourg.
  • Utilized in the film of The Runaways by Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie.
  • Averted (possibly accidentally) in The Woman in Red where Kelly LeBrock gets out of bed and pulls up the sheet to cover herself. Unfortunately - or perhaps not - the sheet briefly snags on something and while she is able to conceal her breasts, her pubic hair is visible.
  • Inverted in Scott Pilgrim VS The World. As Scott and Ramona lay in bed together, the sheet is pulled up over Scott's chest but down past Ramona's. She is wearing a bra, however.
  • Subverted by Rob Lowe and Kim Cattrall in Masquerade. They don't cover up after their romp in the sack.
  • In Deliver Us From Eva, Gabrielle Union & LL Cool J's characters Eva & Ray are so eager to get it on, they can't make it to the bed... but, despite all logic, find themselves, immediately after coitus, wrapped in sheets & blankets on the floor. They can't get IN the bed, but they can completely strip it? Eva is also wearing panties.
  • Averted in Chaplin.
  • Ursula Andress in the WW1 air epic The Blue Max. There is a protracted scene where she has a folded towel looped around her neck so that the two lengths of towel, draped strategically in front of her, both conceal most of a breast, or at least the nipples. Despite how she moves or speaks, despite how her unsupported breasts jiggle and move, her nipples are always concealed by the towel as if it was glued in place (and probably was).
  • Used in the Adam Sandler hit Big Daddy when Sandler's Sonny is supervising his adopted son in the tub and makes him wear swim trunks because, "I don't know the rules on that." It's done because the completely innocent act of a father supervising a son's bath isn't so innocent on camera.
  • Played straight in The Dark Knight Rises by Miranda Tate.
  • Subverted in Star Trek Into Darkness. Captain Kirk is shown waking up in bed with a Cat Girl, who is still wearing a pink bra and panties (with a hole for her tail, one imagines). This is despite the initial camera pan across the bed showing a pink bra lying on the sheets. Then a second Cat Girl sits up in bed beside them, clasping the sheet to her chest, explaining who the bra belongs to.
  • Open Water: Averted, probably because it's an indie film. Early on Susan and Daniel are shown in bed together, and they're as comfortably nude around each other as you'd expect a married couple to be.
  • In Hot Tub Time Machine, when Adam, Nick, and Jacob walk in on Lou and Kelly having sex, the bedsheet is positioned to prevent any kind of nudity from being seen.
  • The Student Nurses: Phred is shown naked in bed in three sex scenes.
  • In Candy Stripe Nurses, Sandy is shown laying naked in a hospital bed after having sex with a guy.
  • Caddyshack: Danny and Lacey make love under bedsheets that fall to their waists.
  • Double Subverted in The Seduction. Jamie Douglas sleeps in the nude and she's shown taking off her robe and going to bed. We see her naked. But she immediately gets into bed and under the covers.
  • Inverted in Malibu High. At the start of the movie, Kim Bently wakes up, sits on the side of the bed naked, lights a cigarette and then she brushes her hair in the nude.
  • In Bruce Almighty, after a night of pleasurable pleasure with his girlfriend, Bruce wakes up to find the bed in a shambles, but the duvet is still pulled up just enough to cover Bruce up to his waist. This gets even more obvious when he sits up, with his legs being exposed, and only his waist and groin covered.
  • In Above Suspicion, when Nick (Edward Kerr) and Gail (Kim Cattrall) are having sex under the covers that fall to their waists when they're interrupted by the sound of his pager going off, Gail then starts reading a book topless before they resume their lovemaking. Nick then gets completely under the blankets and pulls them up to Gail's neck.
  • DEBS: Both Lucy and Amy have these on getting interrupted by Amy's teammates.
  • Gender flipped in The Assignment (1997). The women are shown fully naked while Aidan Quinn's character is the one whose groin is always hidden.
  • In Entrapment, Gin has her luggage stolen and is forced to sleep naked in her hotel room with only the bedsheets to cover her. During the night, Gentleman Thief Mac sneaks into her room and she sits up startled making the sheet pool at her waist, giving him an eyeful. Later in Kuala Lumpur, she's ''again'' sleeping naked in the room they share, this time uncovered. Mac covers her with the bedsheets, probably to avoid being Distracted by the Sexy.
  • In Just the Way You Are, Susan and Peter use a his 'n' hers bedsheet after they have sex.
  • Used in The Candy Snatchers when Avery has sex with his mistress. It almost looks like they're using separate bedsheets.
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire: Zigzagged. Most of the time, Héloïse covers herself while in bed naked with Marianne. She's shown topless once however.
  • Jennifer's Body: After Needy breaks off having sex with Chip, she covers herself with the sheet.
  • The Woman in Red: Averted. Charlotte grabs the sheet to cover up her breasts, but her lower half is exposed briefly when she gets out of bed.

  • Near the end of To Green Angel Tower, when Miriamele and Simon finally have sex, and Josua comes in and wakes them up in the middle of the night, Miriamele keeps the bedsheet pulled up to her neck so she can hug him without compromising her modesty. Simon is left rather exposed by this, though.
  • In the Relativity story "Secret Recipe", a hooker named Babs agrees to help the police by luring a bad guy into a sting. When the cops bust into the room where she's "entertaining" him, she quickly covers herself with the bedsheet. Which is actually kind of strange, because the man was a foot-fetishist and she had all her clothes on other than her shoes and stockings.
  • The narrator of We Can't Rewind is both horrified by the circumstances in which he observes this trope being put into practice and a bit mollified by it: "Jackie and Jaymee did still have the covers pulled up over themselves; for that I am grateful."
  • Under the Pendulum Sun: The morning after having sex, Cathy wakes up, sits up in bed, realizes she's naked, and gets embarrassed. Her lover points out this is silly—and she agrees—but she covers up anyways. To be fair, they are Victorians.
    Laon: I have seen you naked already. I’ve even dressed you.
    Cathy: That’s not the point.
    Laon: And I do intend to see you naked again.
    Cathy: I intend to let you, but it’s still hardly proper.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sex and the City: Sarah Jessica Parker was criticized for relying on these techniques to avoid topless scenes, which all three of her co-stars performed.
  • Veronica Mars: "Mars, Bars". When we find Mac in bed with her boyfriend, the sheet covers him at the waist, though she has the sheet cinched tight clear up to her neck.
  • Beverly Hills, 90210 (2008 series): Naomi and Max do this after having sex. It is made doubly amusing by the fact that Max gets up a minute later and it is shown he was wearing underwear anyway.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy and Riley during much of "Where the Wild Things Are".
    • Averted in "Bad Moon Rising" by having Buffy wake up wearing Riley's shirt.
    • This happens all the time with Buffy and Spike in Season 6. One time they end up lying postcoitally on the floor in a wrecked building with an oriental rug covering Spike's naughty bits and covering Buffy almost up to the neck.
    • Justified though when Riley bursts in on Spuffy in "As You Were". Buffy is embarrassed so she cowers behind the sheets, while Spike taunts Riley by flaunting their relationship and his manly abs.
    • Faith after her romp with Xander in "The Zeppo", all so she can kick him out.
    • Also done with Willow and Tara at one point, where they're both tightly wrapped in bedsheets. And then Tara exits the room wearing her bedsheet.
  • In Cold Feet, Fay Ripley's character is making love to her husband in the woman-on-top position. Fay said afterwards that the only reason it was shot from the back was not so much for greater erotic effect as to conceal the fact her not-inconsiderably-large breasts had to be seriously taped down, or they'd have been flying all over the place and quite possibly delivering a knockout blow to the poor chap. Or to Fay herself. This also precluded any chance of her going topless in front of camera.
  • Firefly:
    • In the episode "Heart of Gold", Mal and the ex-Companion Nandi have sex in the female dominant position with a sheet covering most of the action, but exposing Nandi's back.
    • Wash and Zoe also use one when they're in bed together (during "Shindig" and "Objects in Space")— in "Shindig" this sheet just happens to be laying over Zoe's body in such a way that it covers anything potentially inappropriate but leaves the length of her legs exposed (of course, considering they're Wash's favorite part of her body...note ).
    • The opening to "Objects in Space" shows River sleeping naked, but she has a bedsheet covering her breasts. Summer Glau fans are most incensed.
  • NCIS: In the Season 3 episode The Voyeur's Web, Tony and Ziva must fake having sex in order to pass for the married assassins they are impersonating. They alternate between the "completely covered by bedsheet" missionary position and Ziva on top, shot from behind. 5 seasons later, it's implied that they weren't faking after all.
  • In CSI:
    • This is often averted with the original, opting instead to go with selective blurring/framing/blocking to avoid showing any "naughty bits". Even still, at least on one occasion, a nipple of a female victim manages to get in-frame.
    • Played straight in the spin offs where bodies being examined in the morgue are always covered with a modesty sheet, even during the forensic examination, which doesn't make sense. Sometimes they go to ridiculous extents to show injuries or bruises while keeping the sheet to avoid revealing too much of the body.
  • Glee: After Quinn and Santana have sex, they lie in the bed covering themselves with the sheet before deciding to do it again.
  • Lampshaded in a generic soap-opera parody sketch on Saturday Night Live, when anyone standing up in a post-coital bedroom scene would take the sheet with them without even having to use their hands (it was very obviously attached to the respective actor's undergarments in each scene).
  • Subverted in Lost with James and Juliette: when they wake up in the morning and he gets up to pick up the phone, he has a shirt on, and she, while having nothing top-region on, keeps lying with her back up (while half-asleep, so this even looks genuine). It's a shame that a mere couple of seconds later this trope is played straight when she gets up and pulls the sheets up along with her.
    • Played all too straight in the episode "The Economist", when Sayid is lying naked in bed with a woman whose navel is exposed, and yet has a sheet strategically placed across her bosoms.
  • The "His n Hers Bedsheet" was used in FlashForward after Demetri and Zoey have sex. She covers her breasts, but Demetri is kind enough to let the sheet fall to his waist.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Tapestry", Picard, while reliving his youth, has sex with his best friend. The next morning, Picard rolls over in bed to see Q laying next to him, on top of the covers. Startled, Picard pulls the sheet up (for some reason, over his chest) while talking to Q, until he realizes exactly what he has done, and relaxes his hand a little.
  • Lois Lane uses one after having sex with Not-Clark in the Smallville episode "Pandora".
  • In 24, Renee, having just had sex with Jack gets shot wearing one of these. It seems to cling on by sheer magic all the way to the hospital, turning what should be an emotional death scene into sheer narm.
  • Supernatural
    • The TV-friendly missionary position version is used in the interrupted sex scene in the episode "The Monster at the End of This Book". This would work a lot better if one of the participants were not Lilith.
    • Later in season 8, we're given "after" scene between Sam and Amelia, where the camera slowly pans across a trail of clothes littered across the floor to the bed... where Sam is wearing a t-shirt, presumably some type of bottoms, and has a sheet pulled up to mid-torso. Amelia has bare arms and has a modesty sheet tucked around her chest and it seems to be implying from their harsh breathing and heavy sighing that they're engaging in post-coital cuddling, but seriously?
  • One particular episode of Friday the 13th: The Series featured an "artist" who made her statues by petrifying the models who posed for her. When this occurs on-screen, the model is wearing a bedsheet, which magically disappears once she becomes a nude statue.
  • The pilot of Grey's Anatomy started with this. Justified in that Meredith didn't really know who the guy was at that point.
  • JAG: Seen several times in season nine with Mac and Romantic False Lead Clayton Webb.
  • In an episode of Covert Affairs, Auggie is on vacation and romances a woman. The next morning, she holds a bedsheet uncomfortably over herself while having a conversation with him. This is especially amusing because Auggie is blind, so she has no in character justification at all.
  • Invoked in Sherlock by the title character, of all people. In the middle of Buckingham Palace. He was simply too lazy to put his clothes on before Mycroft's people hauled him off for a meeting. He's quick to grab the sheet when it starts to slide off (because his brother stepped on it to keep him from walking away) - though not quite fast enough to avoid showing a little something for the ladies. He is, however, willing to use the threat of abandoning the sheet as leverage against Mycroft, who is already ticked off about his state of undress and calls his bluff.
    Mycroft: We are in Buckingham Palace, the very heart of the British nation. Sherlock Holmes, put your trousers on!
  • Parodied on a Saturday Night Live sketch with Alec Baldwin showing various Soap Opera clips where both men and women walk away from the bed with a sheet already attached and covering their body without them holding it!
  • Justified in How I Met Your Mother both times Robin sleeps with The Casanova Barney when they aren't actually dating. She feels bad because she slept with her ex-boyfriend's friend and she usually mocks the type of chicks Barney sleeps with. The second time she was cheating on Kevin and Barney was with Nora.
  • Babylon 5 had several examples.
    • Adira after she and Londo spent a romantic evening in his quarters.
    • Sinclair and Catherine Sakai after getting back together again.
    • Seen at the end of the fourth season as Sheridan and Delenn are spending their first night as a married couple.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Averted in the Season One episode "Lord Snow". Thanks to the strategic placement of body and bearskin blanket, Daenerys is revealing more than Drogo while they're naked in bed together.
    • Done awkwardly in two season 5 episodes, when Daenerys keeps herself covered by the sheets. Due to the fact that her paramour is walking about shamelessly nude and the fact that one of their establishing moments was her complete lack of modesty around him, Dany's modesty stands out.
    • Also in season 5, there are several scenes in a mortuary where dead bodies are being washed to prepare them for burial. In every instance, a modesty sheet is used, even when Arya and the other worker are actively trying to wash the body. Since there is a sheet in the way, they can only wash the arms and head of the body, which the actors compensate for by washing extremely slowly.
  • Jessica Jones (2015) has several sweaty sex scenes, but sheets and/or bras keep anything from being exposed.
  • The Enemy at the Door episode "The Jerrybag" has several scenes with the young lovers in bed together, always with at least their lower halves covered by the bedsheet. His naked torso gets plenty of exposure, hers none at all.
  • Killjoys: D'avin and Sabine's sex scene is a particularly egregious example, with her pulling up a sheet over her breasts as she falls back while hemorrhaging green plasma, whereas previously the camera was simply panned below to conceal them.
  • In Quantico, Alex has a bed sheet over her breasts when answering the phone after she has just had sex with Ryan, so we the audience won't see anything.
  • Averted in Band of Brothers where an American soldier (played by a young Tom Hardy) is having sex with a German girl — although there's a bedsheet over the 'action' both characters are naked and you can see the girl's breasts. Then his commanding officer bursts into the room and it's played straight when the embarrassed girl covers herself up.
  • True Blood:
    • Used rather blatantly after Sookie and Eric have sex. Borders on Fridge Logic since Sookie was on full display moments ago.
    • Arlene keeps her nightie on for sex in "I Hate You, I Love You".
    • Deborah Ann Woll has had a "no-nudity" clause in her contract since the start of True Blood. The measures the show takes to keep Jessica Hamby's nipples hidden in sex scenes while showing almost every other square inch of her body are heroic. Also possibly mandated by HBO since Jessica is supposed to be permanently underaged. This has even extended to Daredevil (2015), where similar measures are taken during Karen Page's scenes of undress.
  • Iron Fist (2017): After Danny Rand and Colleen Wing first have sex, Colleen is shown waking up wrapped in her bedsheet. It's done again a few episodes later when they wake up in bed at Bakuto's compound after Danny passes out from using the Iron Fist to suck poison out of Colleen's veins.
  • Father Brown: In "The Two Deaths of Hercule Flambeau", when Lisandra and Flambeau are in bed together in Italy, Lisandra covers her with a bedsheet to preserve her modesty. Flambeau, on the other hand, seems to have gone Right Through His Pants.
  • Averted in Farscape with Chiana by having the alien nymphomaniac always have sex in a reverse cowgirl position, so she's just showing her Toplessness from the Back. In one amusing scene Crichton barges in on her having sex with D'Argo and starts ranting. Chiana storms off naked while D'Argo then wraps the blanket around himself with a long-suffering expression as he listens to Crichton's problems.
  • On Schitt's Creek David and Stevie are shown with the red satin motel sheets pulled up to their necks after their unexpected tryst. This works In-Universe because the pair is mortified and don't want to be showing their bodies to each other or in David's case, to himself.
  • Switched at Birth: This is used by many female characters after they've had sex.
  • Good Omens (2019): After she has sex with Newt, Anathema carefully covers herself with the sheet this way.
  • War of the Worlds (2019): After having sex, Kariem and Emily have a blanket over them both up to chest level.
  • Discussed on One Day at a Time (2017), when Elena is getting ready to have sex with her girlfriend Syd for the first time.
    Elena: I just feel like in the movies they just skip to, like, the end of this.
    Syd: Yeah, boom, one of us has the sheet here, the other has it down here.
  • Party of Five (2020): Natalia has a sheet covering her breasts the morning after she sleeps with Emilio.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The first time Jake and Amy sleep together, they skip the L-shaped sheet for one that goes up to both of their armpits.
  • Dates: Kate has the bedsheet over her when she wakes up beside Erica after they had sex. Erica later uses it to cover herself as well. Jenny is later covering herself this way after having sex with Christian also.

    Music and Music Videos 
  • In the steamy video for her 1993 single "Soon", Tanya Tucker is wrapped in a bedsheet except for the scenes where she's shown in bed thrashing around with her lover.

     Newspaper Comics 

  • Sheri in Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World covers herself with the bedsheet when Gamila walks in on her.

    Video Games 
  • Happens a couple times in Xenogears, when Miang and Elhaym make sweet love to Ramsus and Fei respectively. Ramsus is revealed to be wearing Magic Briefs when he gets up for a walk, while Miang is happy to drop it and show her back to the camera a couple minutes later... and her front to Grahf on the other side. Elly, on the other hand, does the whole "sitting up in bed with the sheet pulled up over her breasts" schtick.
  • All of the Agarest Senki games have this with one of three of the Love Interest of the protagonist of the generation, provided you have reached the maximum heart rating for the said Love Interest.
  • The American version of The Witcher used this to censor some sex cards, and both versions use it on the first card for Triss.
  • Haunting Ground's opening cutscene has Fiona awake to find herself locked in a cage, in the cellar of Belli Castle. She's left with only a bedsheet to cover herself with, though the trope is subverted, since the sheet is semi-transparent. Plus, at 2:49, you can see she's naked underneath it.
  • In the opening cutscene of Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Vollyball, Helena is seen naked in bed with a bedsheet covering most of her body.
  • The L-shaped bedsheet version occurs in 7 Grand Steps when a waist-up depiction of a couple in bed is shown.
  • Used for both Trish and Lady in Devil May Cry 5. When saved from being used as Living Battery for Artemis and Cavalier Angelo they are both are left nude in the aftermath and the characters give them a Modesty Bedsheet for cover. Trish just makes her outfit again with magic when she's better. Lady actually allows her's to slip off her body giving Nico, who just recently admitted while Lady was still unconscious that she has a smoking hot body, a good long look and the player an equally generous shot from her backside. Barring just a tiny bit of Lens Flare Censor on her butt to preserve an equally tiny bit of modesty.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • Parodied (of course), with Homer's chest covered by the L-shaped sheet and Marge relying on strategically placed arms.
    • Another time, Homer barges in on Ned Flanders in the bath. When asked about the swim trunks he's wearing, Ned says that they are there so he won't have to see his own "shrinky-dink". note 
    • Edna Krabbapel in one scene in which she is covered in a Spider-Man t-shirt (that's so large it might as well be a bedsheet) after having sex with Comic Book Guy in her apartment.
  • Futurama:
    • Parodied in "The Prisoner of Benda." Leela still has the "female" version of this despite the fact that she's in the Professor's body.
    • Also happens with Morgan Proctor. She gets caught having sex with Fry in Bender's closet; she then runs out to catch a taxi with the bedsheet covering her when Bender figures out the truth about her.
      • When Bender first walks in, she gasps and pulls the bedsheet up over her chest... and then Fry does the same thing.
  • South Park:
    • In the episodes Go God Go & Go God Go XII, when Richard Dawkins and Mr/s Garrison have sex, a bedsheet covers where all the "action" is.
    • In Season 4, when Cartman's house is destroyed, a beam covers where Liane and "Bill Cosby" are having traditional sex.
  • Played for Laughs in a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode where Rainbow Dash wakes Fluttershy up in the teaser. Despite clothing being a formal thing only in Equestria—they're ponies, after all—Fluttershy pulls the bedsheet up upon being awakened and when Rainbow removes it, she blushes and caps where her breasts aren't.
  • Gargoyles: Elisa Maza, justified in she was recovering from hypothermia.


Video Example(s):


Pillow Pistol - Burn Notice

Despite laying in bed post-sex under a modesty bedsheet with no clothes on, Michael and Fiona both have guns hidden behind their pillows, which they quickly draw the moment they wake up after being disturbed.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / PillowPistol

Media sources:

Main / PillowPistol