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Pity Sex

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Alice is not normally attracted to Bob/Roberta, but because she feels sorry for him/her, she sleeps with him/her. May or may not be Played for Laughs. More likely to happen if the one who takes pity is an Ethical Slut. Could lead to a Friends with Benefits situation if things go better than expected. Another version of the trope plays out when a prostitute is hired for the lonely pal out of similar motives (pity sex by proxy). The G-rated version would be the Pity Makeout.

Usually establishes the one being taken pity on as something of a loser, while portraying the one taking pity in a positive light (especially in the by-proxy examples). Usually tends to be a once-off event rather than an on-going relationship, so do not expect a Relationship Upgrade to take place. Can also be used to establish the sexual mores of the characters by showing pity as enough of a reason to have sex, so one of the characters could be an Ethical Slut, Good Bad Girl or a Chivalrous Pervert. If this is something that is normal in a society, or not out of place, maybe the setting is a Free-Love Future. Might be prefaced by someone invoking You Need to Get Laid, especially in the by proxy version of the trope. Compare or Contrast Sex for Solace, a type of Pity Sex that deals with emotional trauma from a tragedy.

Straight Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • G-rated pity marriage version, Doraemon has Shizuka marrying Nobita because she feels that he cannot even survive without someone taking care of him. He used the time machine to go to the future, knowing that his future self is ill on bed and Shizuka trapped in a blizzard on top of a mountain, the primary school Nobita used tools of Doraemon and transformed into an adult version and took what he thinks is needed to save Shizuka. His clothing selection is of course not enough to withstand the cold, food cans without can opener, etc.
  • Deconstructed in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. Tsubame offers to sleep with Ishigami after the Christmas party in order to soften the blow of her turning down his Love Confession (due to some poor advice from one of her friends), but he just storms out because he doesn't want his first time to be with someone who doesn't love him the same way he loves them. When Miko rightfully points out that doing so probably hurt Tsubame just as badly as she hurt him, he's so depressed that he doesn't bother trying to break his fall when he trips down the stairs. The only reason he's not dead is because Miko realized he might try to do something stupid and caught him (breaking her arm in the process).
  • Yunoshin from the first arc of Ōoku: The Inner Chambers was known for this. The only son of a middle-class (at best) samurai household in Tokugawa-era Edo generations after an endemic man-killing plague took root in Japan; he is hopelessly in love with his longtime neighbor O-nobu, would sooner clean sewers than sell his services (despite having the looks, health, and bloodlines to command a decent 'stud fee'), and frequently tries to get unattractive, dirt-poor women with child just for the asking.
  • In the hentai manga Slut Girl, Sayoko cons Satoru out of a lot of money. When he learns he's been conned he is so distraught that Sayoko takes pity on him and they have sex. But she is so impressed by his sexual stamina that they end up becoming Friends with Benefits.

    Comic Books 
  • In Empire State, Sara describes a date with a very unattractive man that ended with the two of them making out, partly because she felt sorry for him and partly because she didn't want him to think she was shallow.
    Sara: But I felt so bad for him, Jimmy. He looked so sad. I guess I just didn't want to treat him the same way every other woman does.... Long story short, Brent calls the next day for a second date, but my guilt had been assuaged by that point so I broke it off.
    Jimmy: What a tease.
    Sara: Whatever, dude. That make-out session probably got him through the rest of his thirties. He should be happy overall.
  • In the notorious Sins Past story arc, Spider-Man's late girlfriend Gwen Stacy was revealed to have gotten pregnant after pity sex with Norman Osborn aka the Green Goblin. Editor-in-chief Joe Quesada thought this more acceptable than the original plot, which would have made Peter Parker the father of Gwen's twins. Later stories retconned this out, stating Gwen and Norman never had sex and the twins were the latest in a series of unstable clones of Gwen and Harry Osborn, created by Harry in a convoluted scheme to gaslight his father and Peter.
  • A variation occurs between Rogue and Magneto in the aftermath of the Age of X storyline when Rogue becomes torn between her feelings for Gambit and Magneto. Gambit states that she has to be ready for him for good before he could be with her again, and that he would be waiting for her when she is ready. After Rogue confronts Magneto about his past, he has a change of heart and tells her that becoming involved with him was a bad idea and that she should return to Gambit. However, Rogue has a change of heart of her own and decides to go with her feelings for one night of passion with Magneto, nothing more, noting:
    Rogue: Most people want the things they know are gonna turn out to be bad for them.
  • In Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan is in the middle of foreplay with Laurie when she suddenly feels a second pair of hands. He's doubled himself to attempt Three-Way Sex with her but it just freaks her out. Then she discovers that a third Dr. Manhattan is out in the main room still working on his project, infuriating her enough at what she calls "a pity fuck" that she breaks up with him and storms out.

    Fan Works 
  • In Recoil, Captain Gordon prefers more attractive women but justifies trying to bed Taylor as a show of pity to "help" her self-image. Realistically, he likes establishing dominance over his female subordinates and seems incapable of recognizing any of them have any positive qualities outside their appearance. Taylor refuses his advances.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Zig-Zagged in The Life of David Gale. When Constance reveals she's dying of leukemia, David asks if she has any regrets. She tells him she would have had more sex. When he asks how many partners she's had, she thinks, then holds up four fingers. He asks if she wants to "complete the hand." Her response is an incredulous "A pity lay?" He then tells her it wouldn't be pity. Not quite Sex for Solace, either. David seems to genuinely care for Constance, although she doesn't seem to be all that attracted to him. Perhaps the pity is on her part, as he's just been divorced and fired.
  • In DISCO, it turns out the reason why Emily even began to talk to Travis in the first place is because he looked like the kind of guy that has always been turned down and decided to give him a chance. Years later, they are married with a kid.

  • In the Vorkosigan Saga, Miles spends a year on Beta Colony at age 15. He has hopes for unlimited possibilities for sex, but finds that half of those interested (not many) are good Samaritans, and found that he "did not care to be an object of charity".
  • Averted in Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. Jubal Harshaw believes that any of his three secretaries would probably have sex with him out of pity, but he himself is too proud to accept such charity.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Averted with Sansa. She is fully aware that her total rejection on their wedding night is pretty much killing Tyrion, since it's a confirmation of one of his biggest fears, that his disability means that no woman will ever be attracted to him of her own free will. She feels very bad for him... which just makes the prospect of sleeping with him even less attractive. Even that is subverted in that we see from his perspective that he's actually relieved to have the excuse not to sleep with her, since he finds the circumstances of their marriage and her young age distasteful.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: Inverted when Tyrion takes pity on Sansa by not having sex that would require exercising his Marital Rape License. This is as much out of his own revulsion at the situation as anything; he sees her as a child and has no more sexual interest in her than she does in him.note 
    • Contempteously referenced by Ygritte, who claims that she's had boys try to convince her that men's balls literally burst if they don't get to have sex on a regular basis, in the hopes that she'd feel sorry for them and give them some of this trope. She finds the notion that she'd ever feel sorry for them more ludicrous than the other part.
  • In Smallville, done rather ambiguously from Chloe to Davis in "Eternal". A lot of it is non-verbal and is pretty much open for interpretation.
  • In Community, Jeff is at loss at how to impress Professor Slater, and is eventually desperate enough to seek advice from Chang on how to court her. Chang ponders the question and says that since Jeff is a pretty good-looking guy, he might have a move he could try out. We then cut to Jeff determinately walking over to Slater, looking her in the eyes, and then getting down on his knees before her and begging her to sleep with him, saying he is extremely lonely and hasn't had been with anyone for months.
  • Subverted in All My Children. This was Krystal's excuse for sleeping with Tad- emphasis on excuse, since she did have feelings for him.
  • On Reno 911!, Dangle threw Trudy a "pity fuck". Jonesy did the same for Dangle once, too.
  • Happens on the first episode of Friends with Benefits after Aaron gets dumped and Riley feels sorry for him.
  • In Soap Jody has turned Carol down multiple times due to his homosexuality. When they're on holiday together, as friends, she starts crying and as he comforts her, they end up having sex.
  • Better Off Ted: When Veronica was promoted to management, there was another employee with the same last name up for the same promotion, and a typo in the memo made it unclear which of them had been promoted. A few years later she meets the other employee again and finds out that his life since then had gone completely down the toilet, so she starts dating him out of guilt. She finally brings herself to dump him when Ted finds another memo proving that the promotion really was meant for her.
  • Cabbage Head from The Kids in the Hall "Hey – I'm the KING of the mercy fuck!"
  • Happens in an episode of season 3 of Skins, where JJ gets a pity fuck from the school lesbian no less.
  • In Battlestar Galactica (2003), Felix Gaeta, who is days away from starting a mutiny aboard the Galactica, has a very hostile conversation with Starbuck in the mess hall. He notes that the illegal tribunal which nearly executed him for alleged treason earlier in the series was largely comprised of covert Cylons, one of them being Starbuck's own husband. As she walks out of the room, he uses this trope as a way to taunt her.
    Starbuck: And if you were wondering... I will definately hit a cripple. That goes for anyone else. [walks off]
    Gaeta: So I guess a pity frak is out of the question then?
  • Glee has Rachel lose her virginity to Finn after he fails to get a football scholarship.
  • Subverted in one episode of M*A*S*H, where a nurse who is about to be discharged is depressed because she's "never had anyone to care for her"; even her fiancé has only written once during the war. After the other nurses give an ultimatum to the men at the camp, saying they won't go near them unless someone spends the night with her, they draw lots; as fate would have it, Hawkeye draws the short straw. Unfortunately for both of them, this turns into a disaster, as she's so clumsy that she only manages to hurt him, badly. In the end, neither can go through with it, and Hawkeye simply gives her a kiss before she leaves.
  • Discussed on The Big Bang Theory: After Penny gives Howard a pretty harsh "The Reason You Suck" Speech, he disappears into his bedroom for days. Finally, she regrets it and goes to talk to him. After he tries to put the moves on her, she punches him. When the others express concern, Howard gleefully says "The way I see it, I'm halfway to Pity Sex."
    • In another episode, Leonard and Raj hire a hooker for Howard, asking her, as part of the deal, not to let on she's a hooker and that she simply wants no-strings sex with an attractive guy.
  • This occurs between Steve and Miranda on Sex and the City when he's concerned about losing his potency after testicular cancer surgery. It results in their son's conception.
  • In the Angel episode Happy Anniversary, a girl (Denise) is planning on breaking up with her science savy boyfriend Gene. She tells a friend she's going to have pity sex with him first. Gene hears this and is taking steps to freeze them in time in the act, so they will be "together" always.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Dork Tower tries to put a positive spin on this, in this strip drawn immediately after the Alyssa Bereznak debacle.
    Matt: Dude is gonna get more sympathy nookie from cute geek girls than any human has the right to have.
    Ken: He's been dealt the Beta Black Lotus of canoodling, yes...
  • Exploitation Now: Attempted, but ultimately defied. At one point in Act 3, Bush gets sick of Jordan's obvious attraction to her and offers to have sex just to sate Jordan's desires. Jordan panics and turns her down, leaving the two to finally talk and work out their issues. Once they finished with that, Jordan is irked to discover Bush is no longer up for having sex.
  • Ménage à 3:
    • At one point, DiDi seeks to deflower Gary, who is a hopeless virgin. Various mishaps prevent her from doing so until Zii explains to her that she shouldn't, because Gary would associate sex with being pathetic. (Some readers assume that, consciously or not, Zii also does this because she wants Didi for herself — but of course, she doesn't say that.)
    • Much later, new character Peggy offers DiDi sex out of pity for that fact that the latter has never had an orgasm. (They go ahead, but even Peggy can't solve DiDi's problem.) Pedants who know the comic may comment that nobody could ever have sex with DiDi just out of pity, though, and Peggy acknowledges her superhuman appeal.
    • When Matt eventually succumbs to Yuki's rather unnerving requests for sex, there's definitely an element of pity involved — though he subsequently falls for her.
  • In this Sequential Art strip, Pip somehow ends up having pity sex with Kat's disgraced schoolyard rival Hilary.
  • Something*Positive: When PeeJee is dating Kyle, she admits to Aubrey that a good chunk of their relationship is Pity Sex.

    Western Animation 
  • On American Dad!, Hayley needs a favor from her brother Steve. The price is admitting that Steve might one day get a long-time female friend to have "awkward pity sex" with him once.
  • Lana has sex with Pam after taking pity on her in the first season finale of Archer.
  • In Drawn Together Xandir, who is Camp Gay, "tosses a mercy-fuck" to Hollywood Pudgy Toot. He clearly didn't enjoy it.
  • In Futurama Zapp, who fancies himself quite the ladies' man, first tries to charm Leela into sleeping with him, but since Zapp can't tell the difference between charm and sleaze, Leela just flat out rejects him almost immediately. This causes Zapp to break down crying about how pathetic and lonely he really is, causing Leela to ultimately sleep with him because she feels sorry for him. The same episode suggests that Zapp frequently does this intentionally to make women sleep with him, though the episode seems to suggest this is the first time it actually worked (with a woman).
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Barney's high school sweetheart returns to Springfield, and she is a successful journalist. Barney ends up saving her from peril by picking her up in his helicopter, after which he asks her if she might be willing to give him another chance. She answers that while she doesn't see any chance that the two of them can get together again, she is willing to give him a half hour of pity sex while he flies the helicopter.

By Proxy Examples:

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Many of the gags in The 40-Year-Old Virgin revolve around Andy's friends misguided attempts to get him laid, including taking him speed-dating and hiring a prostitute who turns out to be a transvestite.

  • Subverted (or maybe Zig-Zagged) in A Song of Ice and Fire. Tyrion's first sexual experience is with a woman who seems to just love him for who he is. Then it turns out that his brother Jaime hired a prostitute to play the part of Tyrion's loving girlfriend. Then it turns out that that was a lie Tywin forced Jaime to tell Tyrion — the woman wasn't a prostitute and really did just love Tyrion for himself.
  • In Devdas after learning that he cannot be with Paro anymore, the titular character's friend introduces him to a High-Class Call Girl named Chandramukhi, in an attempt to cheer him up.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Big Bang Theory, Leonard and Raj hire a prostitute for Howard on a trip to Las Vegas that happens right after Leslie Winkle breaks up with him, though any sex that might ensue is glossed over.
  • The pity sex by proxy happens in Boston Public; a romantically starved character discovers that his hot new girlfriend who actually seems to get him is in fact a prostitute hired by his wealthy brother. He didn't react well. (The 'girlfriend' was under the impression that the man already knew that he was getting "the girlfriend experience" and broke character at the wrong time.)
  • ER: Abby gently but firmly turns down a coworker who propositions her for this, as he's due to have prostate cancer surgery that could leave him impotent. However, after treating a professional sex worker, she refers him to her, though it's never clear if he went through with it.
  • The other cops hire a hooker for Renko's birthday in Hill Street Blues, and he was pissed when he caught on.

    Western Animation 
  • In Family Guy episode, "Peter-Assment", Peter is forced to have sex with his boss Angela when she says she will commit suicide if he doesn't. When his friends confront him on cheating on Lois, he reveals he had Mort Goldman hiding in his pants.


Video Example(s):


I can make this real fast

After Blitzo is tempted into sleeping with Stolas, he says that he can do it "Real Fast." It then cuts to the next morning, showing that they fucked all day.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (22 votes)

Example of:

Main / GilliganCut

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