Annie: OK. We'll have to base it on sex, then.
Jack: Whatever you say, ma'am.
The Damsel in Distress has just been rescued from the Big Bad by the hero. How can she show her gratitude? Have sex with him, that's how. If she's ended up in a Go-Go Enslavement outfit, so much the better for all parties.
May involve some version of the phrase "how can I ever repay you?", followed by a knowing smirk from the Hero (especially if he's already a bit of a cad), though in more modern interpretations, the damsel makes it pretty obvious that this is how she wants to repay him.
- In the Hentai Bible Black, after the protagonist rescues his Love Interest from the ritual to kill her, thus sending her soul to hell, so that the Big Bad can continue living, they admit their feelings for each other, and spend an afternoon having sex. Subverted in that the ritual was successful, and the Big Bad's soul is in the Love Interest's body.
- In Kaze no Stigma, Kazuma actually suggests this to a girl once. Admittedly, at that point, he's shrugged off several assassination-attempts from her, convinced her family not to have her killed due to the dishonor she's brought on them, forgiven her for killing several hundred innocent people in an attempt to kill him, and finally managed to find a way to knock her out of her One-Winged Angel state without having to kill her in the process. She joins a convent with remarkable speed at that point.
- In the original comics by Jean-Claude Forest, Barbarella is entirely willing to offer this trope to any handsome male who saves her, unlike the Jane Fonda movie where she's has to be coaxed into it.
- Haagse Harry suggested it once after defending a woman's honor from some unruly Morroccans. She accepts, on the condition that he goes shopping for clothes with her and takes her out for dinner first.
Harry: All women are hookers. Those who do it for money are the cheapest.
- In Sin City, Hartigan turned down such an offer from Nancy, as he viewed her as a surrogate daughter. (By the way, this was after he spent eight years in prison after being framed for rape, due to the rescue in question.)
- In Code Geass: The Prepared Rebellion, C.C. has sex with Lelouch the night after he saves her from Clovis' clutches.
- Dirty Sympathy after Klavier sends Apollo's abusive Bad Boss to jail, Apollo decides to make the first move and repays him by sleeping with him, not that it's shown to the readers.
- Tantabus Mark II: Part of the Tantabus' test was to see if it could turn Lyra's nightmare into a happy dream. It ends with Lyra having sex with Bon-Bon after Bon-Bon rescues her from a Supervillain Lair.
Twilight's eyes widened and she turned her head to one side. "Okaaaay," she whispered, mortified, putting up a hoof to block her eyes. "I think this is a happy dream for her and we're done here."
The Tantabus wasn't happy about that. "But—"
Luna seemed to agree, for the words had scarcely left Twilight's mouth and they were gone.
- Defied in Walking in the Shadows as Xander refuses to have sex with someone right after saving their life, believing it feels forced and wanting to avoid hard feelings if it's merely the adrenaline at play. Later subverted as he almost has sex with Tara but they don't go all the way and it's made clear afterwards that Tara isn't truly attracted to him, being a lesbian.
- In "Wise Ancestors", Zelda spends the night with Link after he kills Ganondorf and frees her from captivity. Of course, this is partly because of the princess following her ancestors' advice to give herself to the hero of destiny.
- Played for laughs in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, where Ace gets this from a busty, immodestly dressed client for rescuing her dog.
- Barbarella does this three times over the course of a single movie. The third time around the guy in question rescues her purely because he wants to boink her.
- Spoofed in Baywatch (2017), where the handsome lifeguard responds by throwing the grateful beauty overboard instead. He's kinda busy, what with the boat being on fire and all.
- In Desert Heat, Eddie Lomax receives this form of gratitude from the two sexy blondes he saves. Concurrently.
- James Bond.
- Specifically The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me and Tomorrow Never Dies (those are just some of the plainest examples).
- Natalya's reaction when Bond saves her from the exploding train in Goldeneye probably qualifies, though Bond does have to kiss her after her "it's what keeps you alone" speech.
- In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Eggsy is rewarded with rescue anal sex by a captured Swedish princess after stopping Valentine. The funniest part is that he only asked for a kiss; the princess was the one to offer sex for rescuing her before upgrading to offering anal if he saved the world.
- Hilariously enough, it actually develops into an real relationship in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, culminating in Eggsy and Tilde (the princess) getting married.
- Subverted in the opening scene of Machete. The title character rescues a female kidnap victim who turns out to be jaw-droppingly attractive, totally naked, and eager to reward her rescuer, while Machete is only interested in saving her. For his trouble she stabs him with his own machete as it's all a trap by the Big Bad.
- Prince Charming: The casanova Prince John saves a damsel during the day of his wedding, who rewards him with sex. The knights of the visiting kingdom catch them during the act, which leads to Prince John and his servant Rodney to be cursed and transformed into frogs for eternity until a maiden kisses Prince John to break the curse.
- Becomes Troubling Unchildhood Behavior in the International Cut of The Professional. Leon rescues 12 year-old Mathilda from the middle of DEA headquarters after she fails to kill the Dirty Cops who murdered her family. Mathilda then decides she is in love and offers to lose her virginity with him, so Leon has to gently refuse her. They compromise on agreeing to share the bed.
- Offered and rejected in Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto. Oko is very turned on by watching Takezo fight off a half-dozen bandits single-handed and save her treasure box. She straight up says "Take me, Takezo!" and goes on to say that he can do anything he wants with her. But he's a Celibate Hero, so he leaves.
- Showdown in Little Tokyo. After Kenner saves Minako from captivity and sexual abuse by the villain, she becomes attracted to him and cuddles up to him in his home for safety before they have sex.
- Sin City. John Hartigan saves eleven year-old Nancy Callahan from a pedophile rapist, and finds She Is All Grown Up as a beautiful 19 year-old erotic dancer by the time he gets out of prison. Nancy tells Hartigan that though she's tried to love other men, she's always been in love with him, and earnestly encourages Hartigan to sleep with her after she saves her yet again. Hartigan, who's spent his entire imprisonment thinking of her as a surrogate daughter, turns down her offer. And then takes a cold shower.
- The Transporter. Frank reluctantly rescues Lai, then mooks come to his house with a rocket launcher and blow it up, only for Frank to escape with her by swimming through a tunnel to the sea. Frank is ranting over how he should never have become involved in the first place when Lai strips off her wet clothes.
Frank: What are you doing?
Lai: Making up for the trouble.
- In Van Helsing, Friar Carl rescues a townswoman from getting seriously injured by making a diving catch as she falls. She is grateful, but seems disappointed that her damn lucky rescuer is a monk. He is happy to assure her that he's a friar, not a monk (thus implying a friar isn't sworn to be celibate). She smiles. NEXT SCENE!
- Roger Rabbit gets this as a reward played for laughs in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. After Eddie defeats the Big Bad and rescues Jessica and Roger from the Dip machine Jessica scoops Roger up in her arms and smothers him in Smooch of Victory kisses and swoons over his "bravery", much to the annoyance of Eddie. She later seductively promises to bake Roger a "carrot cake" when they get home. Her sensual delivery implies she wants to have Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex with Roger instead of her actual rescuer.
- Brave New World recounts that the "feely" thriller Three Weeks in a Helicopter "ended happily and decorously, with the Beta blonde becoming the mistress of all her three rescuers." (This is to show the audience that she's properly promiscuous.)
- Subverted in A Brother's Price: Jerin refuses to reward his rescuer with sex, as he's a married man. He reminds her that she promised to rescue him with his virtue intact when she tries to seduce him. Turns out his rescuer is actually one of his wives, so it would have been okay.
- Conan the Barbarian
- In Robert E. Howard's "The Devil in Iron," Conan is taken aback when Octavia doesn't take this for granted — and resorts to a kiss to seduce her.
- In "Black Colossus" on the other hand, Yasmela throws herself at him and insists, immediately in the wake of the rescue, having spent much of the story restraining lustful thoughts for Conan.
- In The Vale of Lost Women Conan turns this down, aware that Livia only made the offer because she in desperate straits, and accepting it would no different than taking her by force. And unlike the Tough Guide example below, Conan makes it clear that he'll escort her to safety as well.
- In Crown of Slaves, Berry tells Thandi Palane upon her rescue from terrorists, that "if [Thandi] were a guy, she'd be tearing her clothes off right now." The reader gets the impression that Thandi not being a guy might be only a minor obstacle.
- Name checked in "Chaotic" in Dates From Hell. Hope and Karl know the bad guys are watching them, but they're pretending everything's normal. Karl suggests they go up to the bedroom, to Hope's confusion. He asks Hope what she thinks would naturally happen if he had defeated the bad guys, rescued the fair maiden, brought her home safe and sound...Hope says, "Oh! Rescue sex! But for proper rescue sex we wouldn't even make it up to the bedroom. We'd just stop right here in the hall..." They do go on to lure the bad guys into a trap, and no rescue sex is had.
- Happens in The Demon Princes series in The Face. Kirth Gersen rescues Jerdian Chanseth, the girl he has a crush on from Attempted Rape, and they spend the night together. Their relationship, however, does not go much farther than that.
- Subverted in Freedom's Landing, the first book of the Catteni series by Anne McCaffrey: when Kris rescues Zainal, he attempts to show his gratitude by having sex with her and is surprised when she refuses. They do end up together, though.
- In Larry Niven's A Gift From Earth, Matthew Keller rescues Polly, who grabs him to drag him off to have sex. However, it is pointed out that she was just desperate for feelings after being tortured by sensory deprivation.
- Guardians of the Flame: Female slaves often react to being rescued from slavery by having sex with their male rescuers. Walter in fact met his wife Kahri this way. It worked out poorly in the long run though, as due to her trauma over having been gang-raped before this by slavers, she associates him with the events later and can't stand even a simple touch from him.
- In The Courts Of The Crimson Kings. Jeremy Wainman saves female Martian mercenary Teyud za-Zhalt from feral engines. Once everyone is safe, Teyud wordlessly takes Jeremy by the hand and drags him below deck for sex. Fraternization with Martians is not forbidden but certainly isn't encouraged among the human expedition, but when a female co-worker gives him a Disapproving Look Jeremy just grins and flips her the bird.
- More like saved by sex in K. W. Jeter's Infernal Devices after being rescued but also endangered by the roguish duo of Scape and Miss McThane, George Dower finds out that his brain waves are going to be used in a device that will destroy the Earth. To stop it, all that's needed is to temporarily alter his brain waves. Miss McThane, who's in lust with George as he's the only man to ever refuse her, gets her wish and she has sex with George, which stops the machine.
- In Kane story "Undertow" handsome and strong barbarian Dragar saves beautiful and noble Dessylyn from some street thugs who attempt to rape her when she happens to wander around seedy port district and they go on to become lovers. Subverted in that Dessylyn was never in any danger and it was all a ploy to get Dragar to kill Kane for her.
- In The Mists of Avalon, Gwenhwyfar has sex with Lancelet after he rescues her. It isn't the first time, but it's the first time without her husband's explicit approval.
- A two-villains example in President's Vampire, when Helen, upon Konrad rescuing her by giving her the Elixir of Life, proceeds to strip herself and have oral sex with him, to his bemusement.
Konrad: It would be enough to say thanks.
- Defied in Shadow of the Conqueror. Sharra tries to go for this with Daylen after he saves her from slavery, but he turns her down, considering it to be Questionable Consent because of her circumstances.
- Parodied (of course) in The Tough Guide To Fantasy Land, which describes how the hero will nobly refuse the offer of no-holds-barred, consequence-free sex with the slave girl, release her from her captors, and then - having proven himself to be The Good Guy - will have no-holds-barred, consequence-free sex with her before leaving her to make her own way home.
- In "City of...", the eponymous protagonist saves a woman who then tells him the following: "I guess this is the part where you comfort me? Not like you didn't earn it." Needless to say, he doesn't go through with it.
- In "Spin the Bottle", Connor—who grew up in Hell and can thus perhaps be excused for his poor social skills—getting upset when he rescues an apparent prostitute who won't offer him free sex afterwards and instead intends to charge him for it. But then later, when a conveniently immature Cordelia needs rescuing, she sort of implies...
- This trope is hinted at in a season 5 episode, when somebody recounts a story of a certain ensouled vampire saving damsels in alleys, and then asking if they'd like to "have a few drinks and listen to some Sex Pistols?"
- Lampshaded and spoofed by Spike in "In the Dark". Spike is standing on a rooftop, watching Angel rescue Rachel and supplying his own dialogue.
Spike as Rachel: How can I thank you, you mysterious black-clad hunk of a night thing?
Spike as Angel: No need, little lady, your tears of gratitude are enough for me. You see, I was once a badass vampire, but love and a pesky curse defanged me. And now I'm just a big, fluffy puppy with bad teeth.
[Rachel tries to hug Angel, but he backs away]
Spike as Angel: No, not the hair! Never the hair!
Spike as Rachel: But there must be some way I can...show my appreciation?
Spike as Angel: No, helping those in need's my job. And working up a load of sexual tension and prancing away like a magnificent poof is truly thanks enough.
Spike as Rachel: I understand. I have a nephew who is gay, so...
- The Boys: Played for Black Comedy when Deep rescues a dolphin from an ocean theme park and it's implied the dolphin is eager to show its gratitude. Unfortunately (maybe not for the audience) Deep accidentally kills the dolphin by slamming on the brakes to avoid a police car, sending it flying through the windshield.
- Referenced in CSI: Miami (the episode mentioned in Rescue Romance), where it is stated "rescue sex is the best sex." Unfortunately for the girlfriend, the boyfriend decided to see what murder sex felt like: "Seeing somebody's life disappear from their eyes... that's the ultimate thrill."
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Spoofed in "Once More With Feeling" during Buffy's "Going Through The Motions" song.
Buffy: Will I stay this way forever. Sleep walk through my life's endeavour... [frees a hot guy who was tied up by demons]
Sexy Open Shirt Bystander: How can I repay—
Buffy: [walks away uninterested] Whatever...
- Also averted in "When She Was Bad" when Buffy gets Xander worked up with a Mating Dance, brings up how he saved her life last season... then walks out on him. It's not Played for Laughs on that occasion as Buffy is lashing out at her friends.
- Spoofed in "Once More With Feeling" during Buffy's "Going Through The Motions" song.
- Used for Ship Tease when Castle (for once) gets to tease Beckett in "Always Buy Retail".
Beckett: You probably saved my life.
Castle: Probably? I definitely saved your life. And you know what that means, don't you? It means you owe me.
Beckett: Owe you what?
Castle: Whatever... I... want. [starts slowly approaching Beckett, who has a dazed, slack-jawed expression on her face] And you know... exactly... what I want, don't you? You know what I really... really want you to do...?
[he leans in to whisper in her ear]
Castle: Never... ever... call me "kitten."
[Castle backs off and walks away, looking incredibly smug and self-satisfied, leaving Beckett stunned for a few seconds... then she recovers, grins, and bites her lip]
- In the German series Erotic Tales the episode "An Elephant Never Forgets", a dwarf rescues a countess from a burning car and is offered a monetary reward, but decides to claim this trope instead. The Distant Finale has the countess bringing her daughter to visit the circus where he works, with the implication that she's his daughter as well.
- In the season one finale of Farscape, Chiana, the resident Lovable Sex Maniac, propositions John to thank him for risking his life to save the rest of the crew. He gently turns her down and tells her to "pass it on" (ie, help someone else who needs it.) A later episode involving Time Travel reveals that Chiana was the girl John lost his virginity to.
- Game of Thrones:
- Tyrion describes how he met his first wife: he and his brother saved her from rapists. Later subverted when it is revealed that she was a prostitute paid to simulate the rape so Tyrion could lose his virginity. Tyrion's current consort, Shae, immediately lampshades the ridiculousness of this trope, when she points out that no woman who was nearly raped would immediately jump in bed with anybody, and Tyrion was an idiot for assuming it was real. Double subverted in the books: there isn't any female character pointing out how ridiculous this trope is, and eventually it is revealed that the girl really was no prostitute and the story she told him was true.note Which makes Tyrion a rapist for participating in the gang rape of the girl that his father ordered to make Tyrion believe she was a prostitute.note After finding out about all this, Tyrion doesn't really feel guilty for how he treated her but kind of goes over a Despair Event Horizon, and shortly later he callously uses a prostitute who he knows full well is enslaved by the brothel owner and doesn't want to have sex with him - all the while thinking she might as well be his first wife, who he was told went on to a life of prostitution.
- Played straight when Gilly has sex with Samwell after he and Ghost save her from rapists.
- Jack-of-All-Trades. Jack saves a Damsel in Distress by using her skirt as an Improvised Parachute, while he's holding onto her ankles. The lady asks how she can repay him. Jack looks upward, which also means looking up her skirt... Smash Cut to them in bed.
Jack: I'd say you're off to a pretty good start.
- Night Court. Ever-lecherous Dan Fielding saves the life of prudish Christine Sullivan and demands sex according to this tradition. Christine reluctantly agrees, but things get interrupted before they do it when a man tries to jump off a nearby balcony. Dan succeeds in Talking Down the Suicidal, which as Judge Stone points out, means he now has to sleep with Dan.
- Person of Interest
Mr. Dillinger: You've had a very traumatic experience. You probably shouldn't be on your own right now. I don't know about you, Haley, but I could use a drink.
- In "R.A.M", Mr. Dillinger has sex with Haley, a POI whom he saves from hitmen. This serves as an Establishing Character Moment since seducing a POI is something the audience knows John Reese would never do.
[the next morning]
Finch: The next time an attractive woman wants to thank you for saving her life, a simple "You're welcome" should suffice.
- In "6,741", Root offers to "repay the favor" of Sameen Shaw's Hold the Line sacrifice that saved her life and led to Shaw's capture. Of course Root has been flirting constantly with Shaw since the moment she first stunned Shaw with a taser, so it's not really out of character. Shaw isn't in the mood, but reconsiders and they have a Pre-Climax Climax instead.
- Red Dwarf: Ace Rimmer, as he parachutes in and rescues a woman from a base full of Nazis in "Stoke Me a Clipper":
Ace: Princess Bonjella? Ace Rimmer, there will be time for explanations later... and hopefully, some sex.Princess: What a guy!
- Rome. After stabbing to death an assassin in front of her, legionary Titus Pullo claims that Cleopatra was wet at the sight of him. Maybe he was right because she does have enthusiastic sex with Pullo that night, albeit for political reasons — she wants to have a child with Julius Caesar, and is hedging her bets that she'll have one. Later Cleopatra plays up her submissiveness and gratitude to seduce Caesar. "You redeemed me from captivity. I am...your slave."
- Referenced and Subverted in the second season finale of Sense8 when Puck helps Sun escape from the police. Once they get back to her hotel room he starts stripping off his clothes while talking about how "traditional male narratives" about situations like this involve the hero getting a reward from the woman he's just rescued. Sun, who's more interested in watching the news report about her escape, wrenches one of his toes back and orders him to go sit in the corner.
- Supernatural. Lampshaded at the end of "Wendigo".
Hailey: So really, I don't know how to thank you. [Dean grins] Must you cheapen the moment?
- Titans (2018). Subverted when Dove saves the life of her vigilante partner Hawk, who's being strung up and tortured by the villains. They try to have sex afterwards but Hawk can't perform due to a combination of stress and the many injuries he's picked up over the years.
- The Witcher (2019): After Geralt saves Yennefer from a spell gone wrong, they have sex in relief.
- One clip on World's Dumbest... features a cheesy homemade porno in which a geeky guy saves a Hungarian girl from a ridiculously fake python and then offers to show her another "snake".
Mike Trainor: Spoiler alert: it's his penis!
- Played Straight in Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music. The lead romantic pair, Desiree and Fredrik, have a passionate love connection after twenty years apart, and Desiree posits that Fredrik "might be in need of rescue", only for Fredrik to bitterly reply that he cannot "flirt with rescue when one has no intention of being saved" during Desiree's equally bitter number, "Send in the Clowns".
- Strongly hinted at in the song "Fie on Goodness" from Camelot, when a knight recounts the time he "beheaded a man who was beating his naked wife".
- Played for Drama in A Dance with Rogues, where the Princess is raped by the man who rescues her by chance and justifies the rape with her supposed gratitude.
- In the classic video game Defender of the Crown, successfully rescuing a kidnapped maiden would result in a cutscene of her disrobing, then kissing the player's character before the camera fades to black.
- If you persuade Dream Weaver Feynriel to confront and master his powers in Dragon Age II, you end up coming across a woman he saved from would-be rapists despite his body being on a different continent. She asks if you know where he is, as she wants to "thank him properly".
- Invoked in Mark of the Assassin DLC if Anders is your love interest. As you escape a dungeon, he mentions he has detailed fantasies of you rescuing him from Templars about to perform the Rite of Tranquility. "And then it would be all about the best way to show my gratitude..." When Tallis points out that she's the one who unlocked the cell, one of his responses is that he could be grateful to her as well.
- Implied in Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland of all games when Tingle saves Pinkle, hidden by Tingle's balloon. Just watch.
- Knights of the Old Republic 1: If you play as a female, a man will offer "earthly pleasures" as a reward for rescuing him. You can't accept though.
- Strongly implied in Metal Wolf Chaos after rescuing Jody. ("Oh, Mr. President. How can I ever repay you?")
- Leather Goddesses of Phobos has you saving a young aristocrat of the opposite gender from a kidnapper and tentacle monster (two separate entities, for clarity). If you're playing on the lowest Naughtiness rating, they lock the door behind them when they go into their cabin to recover from the experience. If you're not, they don't, and you can go after them; the explicitness of the resulting sex scene varies based on chosen Naughtiness rating.
- In Legend Of The Red Dragon, the player can rescue kidnapped damsels: "'You've come for me!' shouts an overjoyed (and darn good looking) girl. You breathe a sigh of relief. This was the right place. The girl eyes you dreamily. 'I can never repay you, and I...' 'Oh but you can. Is that your bed?' you interrupt."
- Prince of Persia: Warrior Within; The Prince and Kaileena get it on in the Golden Ending where he saves her from the Dahaka.
- Subverted in Resident Evil 4, where Ashley Graham's offer for Leon to do some "overtime" is met with stoic rejection.
- In Ride to Hell: Retribution, the player can rescue women from abusive men, and they immediately reward him with sex. And we do mean immediately, while the blood on the player character's fists is still warm.
- Most of the Damsels in Distress Geralt rescues in The Witcher are more than willing to sleep with him out of gratitude.
- Black Hole: In "Gratitude", Diana almost gets run over by truck but is saved in the nick of time by Petroleum Man. She decides to have sex with him as a way of thanking him, though he admits he expected something mundane, like buying a coffee.
- A YouTube video lampshaded the implications of this trope when Mario asked Peach for a bit more than a kiss.
- Pam says to Cyril that Lana will have no choice but to sleep with Archer after the latter saves the former's life. This never actually happens, and it's likely that Pam was trying to tease Cyril, Lana's boyfriend.
- Heavy Metal has the scene where Den has just rescued Katherine Wells from a Human Sacrifice of herself. Katherine, a sickly woman from the Victorian era who has transformed to her delight into a naked physical ideal in that realm of Neverwhere, is eager to both show her appreciation and try out her new body sexually to her studly hero.
- Korgoth of Barbaria: Orala rewards Korgoth with sex after he saves her from a man-eating tree-monster. Hargon tries to boast of his own "bravery" to get a similar reward, but they ignore him.
- Robot Chicken had a The Legend of Zelda-themed parody of this. Link kills Ganondorf and starts talking to a rescued Zelda about all the dangers he faced, hinting that he wants sex. Zelda tells him that, while she's rewarded her many rescuers with sex in the past ("Of course, the first time I was rescued, I fucked that guy's brains out!"), the thrill is long gone and she doesn't just sleep with complete strangers anymore. She actually gets further turned off when Link reveals that it took him 50 hours to get to the end of the game, and gives him 8 rupees for his trouble. After Zelda hops out the window, Link offers to save another princess.
- One Seth MacFarlane short both lampshades and deconstructs the concept when Mario asks Princess Peach for a kiss after rescuing her from Bowser.
Peach: What kind of Samaritan are you? You rescued me just so you could get with me?Mario: Jesus Christ, I'm not asking you to suck my dick, all I want is a kiss!