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Sense Freak

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"More, MORE, MORE!!!!"

"Why didn't anyone tell me tasting things tasted so good?"
Bender, Futurama

Humans being the kinds of creatures we are, we tend to take a lot of things for granted. Eating, for example. As a basic biological process, it gets old fast. We never really give it any thought unless we happen upon a particularly good meal.

This isn't true for entities who have, for whatever reason, assumed human form. Everything we take for granted is brand new for them. In particular, whenever a nonhuman becomes humanlike, they go absolutely nuts about taste.

This often happens to nonhumans who can transform, and who only rarely choose a humanlike form just to hang out with others. It's even more especially true for really alien Aliens with Bizarre Alien Senses, and even more so for creatures who don't even normally have a physical form. This and Sense Loss Sadness are two of the big reasons why Humanity Is Infectious.

Oddly, this sort of thing is almost guaranteed to be totally ignored if the alien in question assumes a physical form other than human. Given the Mysterious Animal Senses trope, that's actually pretty intriguing. (But then again...)

Compare Orgasmically Delicious, Hugh Mann, Showing Off the New Body, Limb-Sensation Fascination, and (ahem) Shapeshifting Squick... And speaking of Squick, see Man, I Feel Like a Woman or Breaking In Old Habits for a very specific version.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Sailor Moon, Green Esmeraude strolls into a fancy shin-dig, causing heads to turn at her hot elegance — until she discovered the food table, where she immediately matches Usagi dessert for dessert in stuffing her face. This caused her extreme embarrassment once she snaps out of it.
  • Bleach:
  • In Wild Wind, once Olgrius loses his immortality sex becomes a lot... sexier. And more taxing.
  • Referred to several times in Fullmetal Alchemist by Al, who lost his human body, and whose soul currently inhabits a suit of armor. We see greater and lesser degrees of this actually happening in the finale, when he gets his human body back.
  • Somewhat weird example in Re:CREATORS. The fictional characters that get transported to the real world all comment on how tastes, smells, etc in the real world are much richer than in their respective fictional worlds, probably due to The Law of Conservation of Detail preventing mundane things like the taste of food from having the same level of detail as in the real world.
  • Dororo (2019) shows Hyakkimaru's reaction to regaining his senses in quite a detail, both heartwarming and funny. He spent majority of his life in complete isolation from the world and so has barely has any experience in interacting with his surroundings. Speaking about social skills is pointless. He spent a whole day sniffing everything in reach after getting his nose back or grabbing people and rubbing his forehead against theirs to greet them.
  • Ghost Sweeper Mikami: One episode has Okinu possessing the body of a delinquent high school girl, and she gets pretty excited with things like the cold of water or the taste of an ice-cream. Considering that she's been dead for centuries, it's quite understandable.

    Comic Books 
  • Martian Manhunter:
    • J'onn J'onzz is a ridiculously overpowered shapeshifting alien — who can't get enough Oreos. There's an adorable reference to this in a Breather Episode of the otherwise fairly serious Justice League animated series. To emphasize this even more: one of the most powerful superheroes of all, the guy with all of Superman's superpowers plus some, quite literally has an Oreo addiction. Okay, so maybe it's not quite to the point of an addiction, but... the man likes his Oreos!
    • In Martian Manhunter, Vol. 2, #24, it became canon that for Martians, Oreos (or in this case Chocos) are addictive. Fridge Logic sets in when one considers why exactly it's processed cookies, rather than say, chocolate. However, studies show that rats actually do develop an addiction to Oreo cookies not too different from a cocaine addiction — perhaps that also applies to DC's Martians.
  • In an unfortunate twist, an arc in The Authority has, as the villain, a Prohibition-era mobster who was fused with an Energy Being seeking to psychically uplift humanity while getting a blowjob. The being was "blown away" by the physical pleasure, resulting in a fusion who had all the powers of the original being, but the power-hungry, hedonistic personality of the mobster, and who proceeded to create a multiverse-spanning corporation that sold off the natural resources of universes. Not a good thing.
  • Batman: In one issue, Batman uses this trope to his advantage. With the Bad Future world about to be destroyed by Darkseid, and being observed and recorded for posterity by Metron, a literal god, Bats convinced him he needed to make himself mortal to completely record the human experience before it was wiped from existence. When Metron did as suggested, Batman coldcocked him and stole his Mobius Chair to send Aquaman, The Flash and Green Lantern to the past to save the day. Sucker. Something of a subversion, too — Metron finds being human utterly boring.
  • The Sandman (1989): Death comments that of all the ways mortals absorb energy, she finds eating the best, topping even photosynthesis. Several others of the Endless also seem to delight in such human pastimes, as do other non-human cast members (and there is a reference to the Martian Manhunter noted above).
  • In Preacher, two fallen angels open up a hotel/casino in Vegas and indulge themselves. After doing a line of cocaine, one former angel tells his friend that he would have gotten himself kicked out of heaven centuries ago if he knew what life on Earth had to offer. He then gives a speech about how awesome sex is, his only regret being that he didn't fall back when Joan of Arc was still alive.
  • The Phoenix from X-Men is a bit of an emotion junkie. Considering that it's able to make Galactus beg and crawl at the height of its power, that's a very bad thing.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In the Sailor Moon fanfic Suburban Senshi, after deconstructing The Power of Love for all it's worth, Miss Dream emerges from Hotaru's subconscious into the real world and... promptly gets distracted. Being a dream creature that has never felt anything, she starts touching everything she gets her hands on, eating all she wants and going to the spa, giving the senshi enough time to come Back from the Dead.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic "Human Shining Armor Gets Twilight Sparkle Pregnant" (disregard the title, it's a better story than it sounds). When the pony protagonist becomes a human, he discovers that he has a lot more trouble controlling his emotions, and he's surprised to find out that his libido is acting up despite the fact that he cannot smell any in-season females.
  • Milo from Harry Potter and the Natural 20 becomes this once he tries out Hogwarts food and realizes what he's been missing out on (having eaten practical but tasteless Everlasting Rations his whole life).
  • Ghosts (humans who spend most of their time outside a physical body) in Transcendent Humanity refer to the sensation as Skin Shock. One even tells the Geth that she fully expects to be fascinated by toast or something equally mundane when she returns to her organic body.
  • In The Gift, Hikari accidentally summons and merges with an Esper. Given that the spirit hadn't had a body in over twenty thousand years, she ends up masturbating furiously after accidentally groping herself.
  • In the Steven Universe fic Pearl Likes Pie, the Gems — not having flesh bodies — never ate before they came to Earth. Amethyst is delighted by the taste of food nonetheless.
    "Pearl, try this!" and "Pearl, try that!" was all she'd heard for years.
  • Inverted in The Left ARM of God, when Louise ties her senses to Zeruel's due to the latter being an Eldritch Abomination. Louise describes it as smelling colors, seeing four sided triangles, and tasting the blood system of the ground.
  • Penny has a brief instance of this in The RWBY Loops; during the first loop where she is biologically human, she quickly sets out to experience all that having human senses have to offer with the help of Ruby and Sun. Later loops downplay it to a degree, as she primarily seeks out artificial noses to install and, eventually, use her Robot Girl status to record the experience of being human.
  • In Walking in Circles, apparently, being Tranquil aside from cutting off one’s emotions, it also increases the intensity of some of their physical senses as after recovered from it, while Evelyn can’t really control her emotions, most of her senses has become much more intense than before. Food taste stronger, smells linger and a shift in temperature can make her recoil.
  • In The Last Prayer, Kurama feels some of the sensations Naruto does when the latter has sex. Since it's literally the only positive sensation Kurama can feel while sealed away, he insists Naruto have sex as often as possible, even using it as a condition to letting Naruto use its chakra.
  • Eroninja: This is what ultimate starts Kurama and the other Tailed Beasts down the path to becoming Naruto's lovers. Whenever Naruto uses the Temptation's Touch during sex, Kurama could feel everything from his lover's perspective and crafts a human body specifically to experience it firsthand.
  • Blessed with a Hero's Heart: Having spent centuries as a Lich, once Wiz gets reincarnated as an Avariel, she gets giddy upon regaining her sense of taste and need for sleep again.
  • Downplayed in Harry and the Shipgirls. Hedwig has always loved bacon, but after gaining a human form, she finds herself overwhelmed by what it's like when she has more taste buds for the experience.

    Film — Animated 
  • This seems a minor recurring Studio Ghibli theme:
    • In Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, the eponymous Ponyo goes crazy for "HAM!", it being the first human food she ever tastes (as well as imprinting on the first human she meets in a big, world-threatening way).
    • Gaining human desires is what turns Noh-face from a neutral (if creepy) spirit to an apparently evil one in Spirited Away.
    • Although largely off-camera, this trope accompanies an inversion of Mysterious Animal Senses in Pom Poko, where Tanuki transformed into humans, ultimately as a side effect of their habitats being destroyed, like it so much they stay in their new form.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In K-PAX, the main character, who claims to be a Starfish Alien who is inhabiting a human body to learn about Earth, says that the food available was worth the long trip. He says this while he eats an underripe banana — peel and all!
  • The Brain from Planet Arous is about a sense freak alien brain called Gor who possesses a human body with wonderfully over-the-top results.
  • This is actually one of the reasons why the Angels in Wings of Desire even consider giving up everything to become ordinary people — and it is a big, big reason.
  • In Bicentennial Man, once Andrew has a central nervous system installed, he practically begs Portia to poke him in the eye, just so he could feel the joy of pain. He follows it up by slapping himself in the face and giving her a kiss.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the cursed pirates of the Black Pearl go on and on about what sensory experiences they've most missed during the curse, and therefore what they plan to glut on once they have their nerve endings back. Captain Barbossa, with a lecherous smile, tells Elizabeth that the first thing he plans to do is... eat a lot of apples. This seems like an Unusual Euphemism for raping his female captive, but it later turns out he was dead serious and continues to eat apples at every opportunity throughout the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
  • In the movie Cool World, Holli Would lectures Detective Harris about how humans "really" experience everything, especially sex. "When they do it, they reeaally do it!" When she finally becomes real, she practically acts like she's having orgasms from everything she touches.
  • Kim Basinger, again, in My Stepmother Is an Alien: alien takes human form, has this reaction to food and sex. Also, gets drunk on caffeine.
  • In Avatar, Jake has a moment of this when he enters his avatar for the first time, causing a bit of chaos during the initial evaluation due to him being able to use his legs for the first time in years and almost literally jumping the gun on the tests.
  • The Cenobites of the Hellraiser series are what results when this trope is taken to a truly extreme level. Though according to the comics, the Cenobites themselves can't truly feel anything anymore.
  • TRON: Legacy: Quorra has a look of absolute bliss on her face when she sees a sunrise in the real world for the first time.
  • Inverted in Superman II — Superman has depowered himself for Lois. He then gets in a fistfight with a bully to defend her honor — and discovers what pain is like. He seems as much surprised as anything: "Blood! My blood..." Of course, he underwent the transformation so he and Lois could have a, um, very different sort of human sensual experience.
  • Savaged: When deaf girl Zoe is resurrected and possessed by the spirit of an Apache warrior, she discovers that she can now hear. She becomes fascinated by sound and is especially entranced by an opera singer on the radio.
  • The Naked Witch: After rising from the dead, the witch seems fascinated by the texture of Kirska's diaphonous robe and stands by her bed pawing it for several minutes. She then steals it, and rips Kirska's negligee off her and takes that as well.

  • Ax from Animorphs is an Andalite, an alien species which has developed Voluntary Shapeshifting technology. During the times when he has to pose as a human, he immediately goes nuts over the sensation of eating. (Andalites are mouthless centaur-like creatures in their normal form, and absorb food — typically grass — through their hooves.) He almost immediately became addicted to "Cinnamon BUNZAH!" and to chili, chocolate, cigarette stubs (!)... as a Running Gag almost all of Ax's favorite foods began with the letter C. In a "What If?'' novel and one regular timeline book, he went crazy for Oreos (OR-EE-OH!), probably as a Shout-Out to the Martian Manhunter. He also frequently references loving grease and salt.
    • Also, Andalites don't have mouths and communicate with "Thought Speech" (telepathy). So when Ax becomes human... huuuuman, huu muh muh muh man, he loves loooooves to puh-puh-pluh- play with hissss words. This, unfortunately, tends to make him stand out.
    • Not just restricted to Ax, one book had a squad of Andalites show up, the younger, female member discovers the joys of "jelly beanzuh!" Hilarity Ensues, especially as the Animorphs are so used to Ax's displays they identify her as an Andalite the moment they hear just what she's doing. (She also asks everyone in the store what their favourite flavor/color of jellybean is, causing some parents to take away their children... quickly.)
      • After the war, bringing Andalites to Earth, giving them human morphs, and taking them to a food court becomes a kind of niche tourism industry. The Andalites are actually willing to consider sharing morphing technology with the general human populace in exchange for a Dunkin Donuts franchise.
    • Yeerks are subtler about this than Andalites, but it's part of what moves them away from Always Chaotic Evil. Outside their host bodies, they're blind, defenseless slugs, and controlling other organisms is the only way they can enjoy the senses other species take for granted. When Cassie morphs Yeerk and infests a human, she assumes enough Yeerkish instincts to be enthralled and delighted by the sight of a checkerboard-patterned tablecloth. Visser 3's punishment after the war is to simply be kept alive without a host, unable to see or hear.
  • In Young Wizards, it turns out that most aliens go nuts over the taste of chocolate. A single bar of highest-quality Earth chocolate can be used as a bribe of staggering size under the right circumstances.
  • Discworld:
    • The Auditors are completely objective, analytical beings. In Thief of Time, one of them took on a human body and nearly died of overstimulation after eating dry toast. When the other Auditors start taking human bodies as well, the heroes fight them off with chocolate.
      • The first Auditor mentioned, who goes by the Punny Name of Myria LeJean, has a Heel–Face Turn and realizes, at the end of the novel, that there's little place for her in the world she saved. She commits suicide by diving into a huge pool of the finest quality melted chocolate.
    • "Borrowing" as performed by Discworld Witches (psychically possessing another being for reasons of espionage, sabotage or recreation, typically as simple an animal as possible) can be very dangerous for this reason; let yourself be drawn in too closely to the host's mind whilst carried away with the sensations of, e.g. wheeling through the sky whilst hunting prey from three miles out, and you may find your own deeply intertwined with it and beginning to lose memory of who you are or the faculties to conceive of having once been human. Or at least, having a massive craving for sugar water and rather confused thought patterns on returning and awakening from possessing an entire hive of bees. Crosses over quite a lot with Mysterious Animal Senses as well.
    • Sergeant Angua of the City Watch has a similar problem when returning to human form. The experiences of an animal that relies mainly on smell can be quite difficult to recall in human terms.
    • This could well be a way of explaining the Faerie's behavior in Lords and Ladies — a desire to feel a linear flow of time once again, instead of living in a place where causality has been shattered and existence is a nightmare without beginning or end.
    • Inverted with the hiver from A Hat Full of Sky. It's revealed the reason the hiver takes over the bodies of living creatures is that its natural senses are so acute that it can sense everything at once, and millennia of sensory overload has driven it mad with fear; it favors human hosts because of humanity's ability to cope with the vastness of the cosmos by ignoring it completely.
  • Sword Of The Galaxy has the pornographic version. To be fair, it's mentioned earlier that, because they're not used to having sensitive bodies, Trakkorians would overindulge in everything on Earth if they got one, unless they were the deeply pious type.
  • In "The Sixty-Two Curses of Caliph Arenschadd", a girl and her family who were cursed to turn into wolves. They are immediately enthralled with the awesome sensations of hearing and smell.
  • In The Drawing of the Three, Roland of Gilead comes from a Scavenger World and is completely overwhelmed by the taste of a simple tuna fish sandwich and some soda. Which is explained in-universe as being due to his upbringing. A famously gluttonous man in his hometown had three sugars in his tea (or possibly coffee). Apparently, they ate for function rather than taste.
  • In Dreamcatcher, after Mr. Grey takes control of Jonesy's body. Mr. Grey learns the hard way that there's a difference between cooked and raw bacon.
  • Another nonhuman form example. At one point in Clifford Simak's City, scientists are researching the innermost layers of Jupiter, and discover a pitch-black, wind-blasted "surface" of sorts at pressures so high that the most rugged machines can barely stay together long enough to examine it. Humanity has by this time invented a means to upload one's mind into a variety of creatures temporarily, and there are simple slug-like animals roaming the Jovian surface. When this is done, the explorers find that Jupiter's surface through the senses of a slug-thing is practically a euphoric wonderland of hedonism, and Earth is practically depopulated in an overnight exodus to Jovian slugdom.
  • Keys to the Kingdom: Denizens of the House don't need to eat or drink and can't get properly sick. However, with House life being rather monotonous, they place a lot of value on illnesses as a way of relieving the tedium; they can sport a running nose or a frog in the throat, even if they don't really feel sick. A well-stabilised spell to imbue an illness can actually be worth quite a lot of money.
  • In the short story The Life Cycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang, robot bodies are developed so that digital entities (an intelligent virtual pet) can explore the real world. They all become highly interested in having a much more detailed sense of touch when in the robot bodies, including their own favorite "feels" like toothbrush bristles or sidewalk pavement.
  • In I, Lucifer, the titular character, upon assuming mortal flesh, spends the first few hours of existence enjoying every sensation around — really, everything. The feel of the toilet bowl, the taste of soap, the smell of dog piss. Every. Damn. Thing.
  • Angelics, according to pre-Heel–Face Turn Memnon in Armageddon.
    Memnon: You're all whores to your senses, you know that, don't you?
    • Michael-Lan's club in Pantheocide seems to back up this impression.
  • Anne Rice's vampires in The Vampire Chronicles are examples due to being animated by a spirit that longed to experience human sensations. The Tale of the Body Thief has Lestat finally get his wish by swapping bodies with a human for a day (unfortunately, said human is a clepto, who proceeds to abscond with Lestat's own body). He gets to experience everything, from eating and drinking to sex (with a nun no less) and even urinating. Then he nearly dies of exposure and has to find money for food. By the time he gets his body back, he's pretty happy to do it.
  • Commercialised in the Neuromancer universe with SimStim. The enjoyment of experiencing things through another body, whether mundane or something you'd never normally have a chance of doing, has led to enough of a business to spawn its own extreme sport, porn, and soap opera stars and breakout hits. Case, oddly, only gets a bit of a jolt when Molly gives them both a nipple tweak. Must be all that enforced cold turkey from the drug-reactive slow-release capsules sewn into his arteries dulling the brain's sensory cortex.
    • More like during the mission most of the sensations Case gets from Molly are unpleasant ones, like having her broken leg re-fracture during a fight or having Riviera smash one of her lens implants.
  • Matthew Swift: In A Madness of Angels, the entities sharing Matthew's body are enthralled by pretty much everything, from taste to colors. It's been stated that if they weren't sharing a consciousness with Matthew's human personality, they'd probably have gone insane from sensory overload.
  • In The Night's Dawn Trilogy, the possessed tend to be extreme Sense Freaks. It turns out that spending a lot of time without any senses at all makes any kind of sensation something to be treasured.
  • In The Host (2008), humans have the most (and most vivid) senses out of any species the Souls have ever taken as hosts. Wanderer is even warned about it ahead of time; apparently, it's in the brochure.
  • Stingbulbs from Fablehaven are naturally this: their true form, after all, is a fruit with little to no senses to speak of. Thanks to their overwhelming loyalty to the first person they see, though, they can mostly ignore it to pass for human easily.
  • Inverted in The Three-Legged Hooch Dancer by Mike Resnick. A human character has let himself be talked into undergoing elaborate surgery to resemble a "Hod", a race of giant slug-like aliens, in order to negotiate a business deal with them. At first, we assume that he's experiencing Body Horror and that he can't wait to change back. But then he explains that being a Hod is great. It's slow-paced and relaxing, and just moving around feels so pleasant and soothing that he doesn't want to change back.
  • In Three To Conquer by Eric Frank Russell, hostiles from Venus possess human bodies. One way to spot them is by eucalyptus on their breath: eucalyptus on human tongues tastes like a favorite food tasted on their original... corresponding sense organs.
  • Mirror Project: When the robotic Lynn finally goes outside by herself, she revels in the beauty of colors and noise as perceived through her sensors and processors. She wonders if the dimness and fuzziness of the original Lynn's memories is because of her impoverished human senses, or because memory always pales in comparison to reality.
  • World of the Five Gods: In The Hallowed Hunt, a renegade sorcerer's demon "ascends", taking control of his body.note  The hitherto immaterial demon begins an extended period of experimenting with "whatever erratic pleasures in matter" it desired, with its human former master now trapped helplessly in his own body. He notes that the "months it decided to experiment with pain were the worst".
  • Dolphin Trilogy: Humans can't smell underwater, so when John teaches Vinca and Syn, who have been raised by dolphins, to walk on Crab Island, they're both fascinated and delighted by all the different scents.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The aliens in Roswell put Tabasco sauce on everything. It may have been just for the taste, but could conceivably have helped them maintain human form (you never forget your first Epileptic Tree).
    • It was explained in one episode that the aliens started off with a very poor sense of taste, so they could only taste things that were either extremely spicy or extremely sweet, hence the tabasco. Their sense of taste eventually became stronger, but they still used tabasco out of habit.
  • Star Trek:
    • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "By Any Other Name", the powerful Kelvans assume human form and take over the Enterprise, putting most of the crew in stasis. Kirk, Spock, Scotty, and McCoy recapture the ship by manipulating the Kelvan's senses; Scotty gets one into a drinking contest, McCoy pumps another full of stimulants, Spock psychologically manipulates another, and Kirk, naturally, seduces the female Kelvan.
    • There was an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation featuring an alien dignitary who had been unfamiliar with the concept of eating for pleasure before he came to the Enterprise. You can imagine how that turned out. The same episode had two other dignitaries, each tasked to study a human emotion (the first dignitary sampled pleasure in the form of eating, another dignitary tested antagonism (on Worf, of course), and a third stranded Picard on an alien planet with (presumably) a human woman to find out about love.)
    • This trope doesn't have to be about taste. In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Child", where Troi has an alien baby, the child deliberately burns himself... just for the experience.
    • Subverted in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Deja Q", in where Q is turned into a human as punishment for... well, for being Q. He describes feeling fatigue and falling asleep as a horrific experience (much as a normal human might describe an illness-induced blackout), throws his back out, gets stabbed with a fork by Guinan, and generally has a miserable time of it. To give an example of his opinion on being human, at one point he quips "I can now stub my toe with the best of them."
    • And in Star Trek: First Contact, one of the ways the Borg Queen seduces Data is to give him patches of human skin, and the sensory input therein. She's also able to stop him by having the Borg cut it, introducing him to the debilitation of pain.
    • And there's trouble that brews in Star Trek: Generations from Data, his repaired emotion chip (reclaimed from Lore in the series two-part episode "Descent" but reluctantly put aside), and an inability of the former to control the latter (realism in action!). Both massive highs and lows, which he seeks out regardless in his continual quest for knowledge and understanding of the human condition — and eventually wishes to give up the chip as he cannot easily manage the emotional overload — unfortunately it's fused into his neural net. Not all Sense Freaking has to be from a direct external stimulus.
      Data: I hate this! It is revolting!
      Guinan: More?
      Data: Please.
    • Subverted (like so many things) in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when Odo is forced to stay in his humanlike form as a punishment by the Founders. When Sisko goes to talk to him in the beginning of the next episode, he ruminates on the fact that the need and sensation of eating and drinking disgusts him, and that he'll just have to get used to it.
      • Double subverted when Odo admits he finds the sound of the bubbles in his drink "soothing". When he begins to enjoy the experience of eating and drinking Sisko has to warn him not to overindulge.
      • And subverted a different way when he really gets in touch with his roots after regaining his natural state. Instead of spending his biologically mandatory reversion time in a bucket like he used to, he gets himself some quarters and has a wide variety of stimuli sources to experiment to experiment with his shapeshifting abilities.
      • Also, when he first makes contact with his species and joins with another changeling for the first time in his life. Even a minor joining seems to cause him immense pleasure and relief as though deprived of something he's needed his entire life. Becomes a plot point later in the series when the female changeling is able to use it to keep him distracted from helping Kira's resistance group.
    • In one episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Weyoun samples a wide array of foods from a runabout's replicator. He comments that while the Vorta have a very dull sense of taste, he was fascinated by the various textures of the food he ate.
    • And then there was the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Body and Soul", where The Doctor had to hide his program in Seven of Nine's body, and immediately discovered the joys of cheesecake...
      • Not to mention experiencing other physical responses, leading to the immortal line...
        Seven: You became sexually aroused in my body!
  • Red Dwarf:
    • In a more subtle version, Kryten becomes human in the episode "D.N.A." and has great fun making exaggerated facial expressions. Both continued and subverted at the same time when we find out just how sexually aroused a 3-million-year-old, essentially genderless being can become when transferred into the body of an average human male ... and what visual literature it is that causes said arousal. Oops.
    • In the episode "Bodyswap", Rimmer swaps minds with Lister on the pretext of it being an effortless way for his body to undergo some disciplined exercise and dieting... and promptly overindulges in everything he had been denied since his digital resurrection, putting on several pounds instead. Eventually driven half-mad by the prospect of returning to sensationless limbo, he "steals" Lister's body and a shuttlecraft for a doughnut-fueled joyride, only being stopped by his own terrible piloting... though he still had at least one go at "borrowing" the Cat's body afterwards.
      • Not to mention (female) officer Brown's reaction at being ported into the distinctly unladylike Lister in the opening minutes of the same episode, despite the grave danger that prompted the swap...
      • Rimmer gets another (brief) moment of this at the end of "Timeslides", when changing the past eventually changes everything back to normal except that he is now somehow alive. It doesn't last long.
    • Red Dwarf in general seems to love this kind of idea — a very pure, if inverted form of it must be the Emohawk, which has no emotions of its own and actually feeds by stealing others' moods and feelings (a rather particular type of sense, to be sure — luckily none of them had their sense of humor stolen).
  • "Urgo" from Stargate SG-1. The first thing he did was overstimulate SG-1's taste buds. It caused Teal'c to drink an entire pot of scalding hot coffee, and the whole team to gorge themselves on desserts from the cafeteria.
    "I want to live! I want to explore the universe and I want to eat pie!"
  • The characters from 3rd Rock from the Sun are like this in the first few episodes. Sally's reaction to her first sneeze, for example, seems almost orgasmic. Then she tries to figure out how to trigger more.
  • The aliens from First Wave, downloaded as they were into vat-grown human bodies as the initial part of their invasion, quickly figured out that sex in human form was somewhat more satisfying than in their original bodies, where sex was painful and thus only for procreation. So much so that their higher-ups had to ban them from having sex unless it was part of a mission on punishment of death. That still didn't stop some of them from indulging themselves.
  • Angel has been a vampire for centuries. When he is temporarily turned human again, he rediscovers the joys of food, tearing through the contents of the office fridge.
    Angel: I love chocolate! Ugh, yech. But not, as it turns out, yogurt.
  • Played with in the opening scenes of the 2010 series of Doctor Who, where a freshly regenerated Eleventh Doctor finds himself dealing not merely with the "new teeth" experienced by Doc Ten, but strangely reconfigured tastebuds. After convincing the strangely independent 8-year-old girl he meets (the soon to be much-older Amy Pond) to cook him a multitude of different foods and spitting most of them out in disgust (including a simple and later plot-important/clever callback apple), he settles on... fish-fingers with custard, as his new favorite food. It doesn't hurt that the character is seemingly in pretty much a constant state of Sense Freakery just from still being alive, though.
  • In a rare human example, Davis from Corner Gas is revealed in one episode to have lost his sense of smell as a child. He gets it back during the episode and goes a little nuts with it.
  • Despite being, you know, human, Special Agent Dale Cooper of Twin Peaks just can't stop gushing whenever he comes across the eponymous town's coffee, donuts, or pie. Of course, like most of the characters, he's a Cloudcuckoolander.
    • Multiple other characters in the show remark on how the town's diner truly does make utterly fantastic pies — though the degree of their reactions is often more subdued (ranging from one of Cooper's colleagues declaring "I want to compose a Homeric Poem about this pie!", to a benevolent, fatherly, but generally straight-faced military officer calmly mentioning that the pie was outstanding, as always).
  • Kamen Rider OOO: The other senses are not touched upon in his case in the series, but Ankh would do pretty much anything for ice pops, the first food he tasted after gaining access to human senses. Greeed can barely feel anything on their own. Eiji and Hina come to exploit it pretty quickly to curb his bad behavior and he hates them for that, but can't resist.
  • Moonlight: When the vampire Mick is temporarily turned back into a human, he finds joy in the basic things we take for granted, like sleeping in a bed (as opposed to a freezer; no coffins here), eating, drinking coffee and orange juice. He even says that coffee seems to have gotten better since The '40s (when he was turned), or maybe it's the euphoria of being human again. He's also looking forward to having sex with his Love Interest. He ends up having to ask his best friend to re-turn him when Beth is kidnapped by another vampire.
  • Ghosts (US): When Hetty ends up possessing Jay's body, she can taste food for the first time in 130 years. She reacts by eating everything she sees.
  • Haven: In season 2's "Fear and Loathing," the Troubled person of the week has the ability to steal other people's Troubles, leaving them unaffected. He steals Nathan's, and Nathan is psyched he's able to feel things again. And he's not sublte about it.
    Nathan (driving, holding a rose to his mouth): Did you know the skin on your lips is the most sensitive of your entire body?
    Audrey: Okay, you're kind of starting to weird me out.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In 3.5th Edition, the Shadar-kai were a race of fey who unwillingly tied themselves to the Plane of Shadow. To avoid fading away into nothingness, they constantly seek extreme sensations to stimulate them, though their actual ability to feel is degraded. Traditional "tools" for this purpose include the charming Gal-Ralan, spiked bracers of Cold Iron, a metal that pains fey with its mere touch, which mount the spikes inside the bracers so as to drive a dozen spikes, six up, six down, all the way through each arm.
    • 3.5 also has the Binder class, who summons strange spirits called Vestiges, which are generally remains of destroyed deities and similar beings. While the book acknowledges that they can easily be played as evil, their default fluff is this trope: they don't have any agenda other than being able to exist again, and each of them is more than happy to be "bound" to all sides of all conflicts everywhere, as well as every single bystander.
    • Planescape: The Society of Sensation, aka the "Sensates", base their ethos around the fact that they live in a physical universe, and the only way to enlighten and fulfill yourself is to go out there and experience and sense as much of it as you possibly can in your lifetime. Furthermore, Sensates tend to carry items called "sensory stones" that record the sensations they encounter. This allows other Sensates to vicariously re-live the sensation merely by touching it. They have entire libraries' worth of these stones, for perusal by their faction members. Despite that, they're not The Hedonist, and have a very specific plane where they dump members who join up only to focus on pleasurable sensations.
  • Magic: The Gathering: The boggarts of the plane of Lorwyn are "addicted to new sensations" and will do all sorts of strange and dangerous things just to discover what they feel like. There's a card called Sensation Gorger where the goblin in the art has his eyes pried open, ear trumpets in both ears, a skunk across his nose, a frog in his mouth, and sharp sticks stuck in all eight of his fingers.
  • Earthdawn and Shadowrun: Dragons are said to occasionally spend time shapeshifted into humans or other similar races (just as human magicians can shapeshift into animals). While often this is done to be able to go undercover in a way that a fifty-foot reptile can't, at least one has remarked on the lovely sensitive version of touch that we have. Dragons have vastly superior sight, hearing, smell, and taste, but all those super-armored scales get in the way of fine tactile sensation. The Great Dragon Vasdenjas even admitted that this applies to the "romantic arts", a concept which entirely squicked his ghost-writer.
  • Unknown Armies: Possessing demons are actually dead human souls who come back and take over living humans because of an overpowering desire to experience the pleasures of physical existence again. If they were a bit monomaniacal even while alive, they're likely to go completely over the top; e.g., a demon who was an alcoholic while alive is likely to drink his host body to death in short order.
  • Warhammer:
    • Slaanesh is the very literal god of this mindset, in an Eldritch Abomination kind of way. Their followers tend to have their senses dulled out by constant exposure to all kinds of stimulation, forcing them to commit more and more extreme thing to be able to feel anything. As an example, the Noise Marines from Warhammer 40,000 use devastating sonic weapons because anything less loud won't even register to them anymore. In older versions of the models these are modified electric guitars. Their armor is painted in eye-watering pink and black, because, again, nothing else even registers anymore. If you're noticing a drug abuse metaphor, that's not coincidental. In general, Slaanesh cultists indulge in anything that excites their senses, which can be just about anything from finding out what is the most aesthetically pleasing pitch a person can scream at to mindlessly staring at a wall painted a highly specific shade of purple. Slaanesh always leads to obsession, however — a simple pleasure like the sound of wood burning in a fire can be warped to the point where a Slaanesh cultist will start burning down houses just to get that sound, without even bothering to check if the house is occupied first.
    • Warhammer 40,000: The Eldar, at the height of their golden age, succumbed to this: they had won every war, conquered every world, they ruled the galaxy. To slake their boredom, they turned to ever-increasing forms of depravity and hedonism, the collective psychic energy generated as a result coalescing in the Immaterium until Slaanesh was born.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • In Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem, vampires can't eat or go out in the sun. While they like to mope about it, those who have the Disciplines necessary to possess people or animals become possession freaks, spending days or weeks on end possessing a host to experience all the living pleasures denied to them until they either kill the host from overindulgence/imprudence (and get a new one) or starve themselves.
    • The strix are believed to be the source of the Beast that nags at the back of Kindred minds. They have the ability to possess humans as well as vampires in torpor. Once upon a time, their purpose was to make sure that Kindred (especially the humane ones) suffered, but after Rome (and with it, the vampiric government of the Camarilla) fell, their purpose slowly drifted, to the point that all they care about nowadays is experiencing everything a body can provide — and sometimes it's really hard to tell which driving ethos is scarier... until the game's second edition underlined that both these drives are linked. The strix exist to remind vampires that they are not human; they are dead meat that hungers, craves, and desires.

    Video Games 
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, this what drives all Demons to attempt Demonic Possession. They want to experience mortal life and indulge in the emotions they are aligned with such as Rage, Sloth, Hunger, Desire, or Pride. It doesn't always turn out so well if they get stuck in less-than-ideal hosts, such as corpses or trees.
  • In Mass Effect 3, a salarian angrily wonders if humans being "so deprived of stimulus" is the cause of our apparent fascination with touching things.
  • Raven from Guilty Gear is completely immortal, never aging and able to regenerate from anything (even being burned to a pile of ash) in seconds. However, his body is severely numbed, so he can't really feel much of anything anymore, and ended up Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life before That Man gave him purpose. When he does feel something (usually pain or fulfillment from his newfound job), his reaction is borderline ecstatic.
  • Remember the Society of Sensation mentioned under Pathfinder? They show up again as a joinable faction in Planescape: Torment, and what with the Nameless One being a scar-riddled amnesiac immortal, boy do they get a kick out of you.
    • Additionally, one of your party members, Fall-From-Grace, is both a Sensate and the "Madame" of an offshoot organization, the Brothel for Slaking Intellectual Lusts, which is less about satisfaction of the flesh than it is about satisfaction of the mind. She's also the most well-adjusted member of the party.
  • The god Tholaghru from Nexus Clash is constantly writhing in as many forms of pain and pleasure as it can get its appendages on. It encourages mortals to fall to demonhood in order to collect more sensations, and its followers would like to share those sensations with you. Neither Tholaghru nor its followers know or care which of those sensations is pain and which is pleasure.
  • Subtly downplayed in Undertale, overlapping with Limb-Sensation Fascination. After being turned into a sentient flower and getting trapped in a time loop for (according to Word of God) several thousand years, Big Bad Flowey/Asriel Dreemurr finally regains his old body — and takes several seconds to contemplate his regained sense of touch before attacking the player. Later during the fight, it also turns out that for all this time, he had no soul and thus was unable to feel — and regaining said ability is what prompts him to join forces with the player and sacrifice both body and soul, turning back into a flower, to stop the apocalypse he himself started.
  • God of War (PS4) features a dark take on Norse Mythology, where Baldur's Complete Immortality came with him utterly losing all form of sensation: he doesn't feel anything, he can't taste food or drink, etc. As a result, he's gone somewhat insane and wants to kill his mother Freya in revenge for "cursing" him. At the game's climax, Baldur gets wounded by an arrow coated with mistletoe — his Kryptonite Factor — and loses his immortality, which results in him spending most of the Final Boss battle raving about how wonderful it is to feel pain, even remarking on the Irony that he's never felt so alive.
  • Psychonauts 2: Raz ends up needing to plant a Brain in a Jar in a de-brained body. The brain in question is overwhelmed by being able to see, hear, feel, smell, and taste things for the first time in twenty years, and Raz ends up needing to go back into the brain's mindscape to help him sort out these new sensations. The brain in question turns out to belong to Helmut Fullbear, one of the founders of the Psychonauts. It's heavily implied that Fullbear was already something of a sense freak even before he spent twenty years without a body.
  • In Inscryption, the Lonely Wizard was sealed in a void where he experienced complete sensory deprivation for an unknown period of time and went completely insane. After being freed in a card, he is ecstatic to meet other beings and feel something, whether positive or negative.
    [after being attacked] Pain is a feeling!

  • Narbonic:
    • Caliban the ex-demon when he is incarnated as a human. While he initially enjoys it, this quickly comes back to bite him when Helen decides to torture him for information, and he is begging for mercy just from a cotton alcohol swab.
      Helen: I could use the softer ones...
    • Caliban ends up in a relationship with Mel almost immediately, and it quickly becomes apparent that their only activities are "talk a bit, have sex, repeat."
      Mell: You know, sooner or later you'll have to get over the fact that you've got a body.
      Caliban: I have. Now I'm hung up on the fact that you've got one.
    • After Mell's brief ascension to Heaven (followed by her demotion to Hell and subsequent escape), she immediately grabs Caliban for sex. She was only gone for a few weeks, but the lack of physical sensation hit her hard.
      Caliban: You know, the radiance of the seraphic host is said to be a far greater ecstasy than—
      Mell: Dude. It ain't.
      Caliban: I know. Just checking.
  • The very thing that drives Warp-Aci in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures to bind themselves to and serve a human host, just to be able to exist on the main characters' plane of reality, which appears far more interesting and colorful than whatever mysterious limbo they come from. The experience seems to overload their ability to focus quite often, though, and their tendency to eat anything small enough to fit in their (usually absent) mouths including small rodent characters like Wildy can cause considerable trouble. They don't actually need to eat, but they seem to greatly enjoy the taste and sensation; anything they consume is not digested but teleported to a random but fixed location. In the case of Fi, Dan's Warp-Aci, this is a small, archetypal desert island approximately two weeks "interesting" voyage from Lost Lake).
  • This is treated with unexpected restraint and even Deconstruction any time a character is transformed or otherwise experiencing uncommon senses in El Goonish Shive, given the comic's obsession with transformation, half-alien multi-forming sentients and Gender Bending, and having both a Chivalrous Pervert Mad Scientist, inquisitive semi-Straw Feminist, Opposite-Sex Clone/twin (who once thought herself doomed to a very short life and, after that, permanently hit with the First Law of Gender Bending stick) and various mischievous demons. The few times direct experiences of new sensations are mentioned, they appear to either be quite painful (Elliot's cat-boy form), embarrassing/awkward (the whole "Party" arc), or simply underwhelming (Susan's experience of the party). Except for the first time we see Tedd transformed... but even that's off-frame and all we know for sure is he was posing in the mirror rather than doing... er, anything else...
  • Nancy of Ow, my sanity has developed quite a taste for breakfast food. Interestingly, the very concept of "liking" anything is new to her as well.
  • Archipelago: After Raven finalizes his transformation into a human and gains the ability to eat, he starts a journal of everything he eats, detailing how much he likes it. He works through is meals quite slowly (unless he's eating cake).
  • In Northwind, Tiel and Iax are two fallen angels who experience hunger for the first time upon being banished to Earth. When they enter a fast-food restaurant, Tiel comments, "If eating's like smelling, I can see why humans like doing it so much!" Iax steals another customer's food, and Tiel proceeds to bite into a still-wrapped burger, at which he says, "The outside is waxy and tough, but the insides are really tasty!"
  • Homestuck: Terezi is an odd case. After losing her sight, she gained the ability to taste and smell colors to compensate, and now she's driven wild by the taste of colors. Her own house is decorated with a delicious mishmash of garishly clashing hues, and when she enters the Sgrub game as Karkat's server player, she starts slapping paint all over his house as well. At least part of the reason why she likes Dave so much is because he types in red, her favorite color/flavor.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, the insectoid Princess Voluptua frequently disguises herself as a human, and always seems to enjoy the local cuisine.
    Voluptua: [eating a cheeseburger] Gaxnarp, this is actually pretty good! Mammal meat! Who knew?
  • In Goddamn Critical Hits, Chomp begins as a Trapinch. All Trapinch are blind—instead of seeing, he senses things through vibrations in the ground. When he evolves into a Vibrava he gains a pair of working eyes, which immediately serve to disorient him to the point where he uses his also-newly-acquired wings to send himself off a cliff.
  • In Dresden Codak, Kimiko goes for the standard new-body barefoot run through the woods after upgrading to a fully synthetic body, raving about both her enhanced regular senses and the all-new Bizarre Alien Senses she's had installed (43 of them, if the strip title is to be believed).
    Kimiko: I can feel radar along my skin, cosmic rays glistening through the clouds. The hum of the trees creaking through the earth, the pheromone songs of the forest. The bioelectric voices of the river, tugging at the Earth's magnetic field. A million sounds, a million smells, a million sights. I'm awake. For the first time in my life, I'm awake — and I'm whole.

    Web Original 
  • 17776 has a vicarious version in Juice. Though he cannot eat himself, being a space probe, he is fascinated by food and what it tastes like. According to Mimi, he's always asking her about her lunch.
    Mimi: He always asks me, what’s in the sandwich? How’s it taste? Does this reheat well? Does that pair well with this? I guess for him that’s the closest he can get to eating, other than sucking up the sunbeams.

    Web Video 
  • 3D Lee in Kickassia, after a brief initial moment of badass, spends the rest of the special in enraptured awe of the amazing sensations that three-dimensional video existence enables, compared to existence as a series of still 2D photographs.
    "Have you ever felt the motion of water being poured into your three-dimensional organs? I have, and it is miraculous."

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied relentlessly in Futurama in the What If? story, quoted above, where Bender is transformed into a human. After tasting food (and drinking beer and smoking — and throwing up) for the first time, it was just such an instant shock that he couldn't stop eating and ended up a horrifying humanoid blob that weighed 900 pounds and could barely move — after only a week! Then he died at a party in his honor.
    • The drinking beer and smoking part is lampshaded:
      Leela: Bender, you drank and smoked when you were a robot.
      Bender: But now it's bad for me!
    • There's also the "Freaky Friday" Flip, where he switches bodies with Amy, and as he swims to the Robo-Hungarian emperor's yacht, he complains, "Stupid air-needing lungs."
  • While she was an Energy Being possessing a human, and not transforming into one, the Phoenix Force in X-Men: The Animated Series fits this trope to a T; after possessing Jean Gray to fulfill her duty to protect the M'Krann Crystal, the cosmic entity became duly aware of the human senses she now had access to, becoming addicted to them and opening herself up to be manipulated by an evil BDSM mutant group (no, seriously) and turning evil, herself. She was only stopped after Jean let herself be killed, cutting the Phoenix Force off from the mortal's senses and reverting her back to her normal self.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Sock Opera", Bill takes over the body of Dipper. He immediately seems impressed with having two eyes, commenting that "this thing's deluxe!". Unfortunately, he becomes incredibly focused on the pain aspect of touching and proceeds to injure and generally abuse the body he's inhabiting, including repeatedly closing a kitchen drawer shut on his hand, purposely falling downstairs and impaling a fork into his arm, while gleefully announcing, "Pain is hilarious!" He then discovers a negative part of having a physical body that he never considered that ruins his whole plan: fatigue.
  • In one episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick, depressed over the fact that all of his friends except him have noses, undergoes an operation to get one. Afterwards, he finds himself entranced by all the wonderful aromas... but then he discovers the bad side of being able to smell and wages a war against everything stinky. Later on, he can't even stand his own smell.
  • In the Wishfart episode "Cartwheel! Cartwheel! Cartwheel!", Akiko wishes to become a living girl. She then takes great revelry in being able to feel both pain and pleasure, getting as excited about wriggling her toes in grass and eating cotton candy as she does about licking a cactus and running into a wall.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television, babies love to put stuff in their mouths and stare at stuff.
  • A personal account of a person working with children who cannot eat by themselves and require tube feeding. Said person has found that these children tend to react very positively to sweet flavors like orange juice or cherry chap stick when given the opportunity to taste them.
  • Being on ecstasy generally turns people into gluttons for sensation, especially touch. The drug doesn't change how much sensation you're physically capable of perceiving, so this is a nonstandard example, but it does make your brain filter out less of that sensory input and therefore the effects are similar.
    • Note that it isn't universal; your sense of taste and smell are rendered almost null compared to sight/sound/touch, as is common with many other stimulants or psychedelics such as LSD. The urban legend persists of a boyfriend dumping his girlfriend after having incredibly intense sex with her on ecstasy, it never being the same afterward.
    • Marijuana, however, is famous for heightening your sense of taste, hence The Munchies.
  • The berries of Synsepalum dulcificum (usually called Miracle Berries) have glycoproteins that bond with the taste buds that detect sweet flavors, making it so sour foods taste sweet for around half an hour. Some people have started organizing "flavor-tripping" parties to sample as many different kinds of foods as possible while the effects last.
  • Can happen to smokers who quit, since they often have their sense of smell/taste deadened a lot and it returns after quitting. Of course, this can also lead to Fridge Horror when they discover what other smokers can smell like to a nonsmoker...
  • There is a theory among neurobiologists that individuals become this due to a serotonin deficiency. "Adrenaline Junkies" seek out dangerous activities in an effect to get their brains to produce pleasure hormones. What is thrilling to a neurotypical person just brings them up to normal.
    • It's also theorised that ADHD is, at its core, a dopamine deficiency meaning a brain with ADHD simply can't feel "rewarded" like a neurotypical brain can. Hence the constant need for stimulation, the difficulties committing to any task that doesn't feel immediately rewarding and all normal motivational techniques being completely useless.
  • This is the reason that drug addiction is so devastating. The unfamiliar and often intense chemical reactions that drugs have on the nervous system can "overload" synapses, and through long term use, burn them out (basically the body no longer produces the same amount of neurotransmitters it used to because the drug took over). Over time the drug addict could no longer feel the same stimulation from ordinary non-chemical stuff than he used to before the addiction. They have to get more of the drug just to feel the same effects all over again, and eventually, they become dependent on the stuff — their nervous systems literally need to take more and more drug just to be able to feel normally, with many being driven to do absolutely anything to get it.
  • "Algolagnia" is the term for finding pleasure from painful sensations. Combine this with an awareness of the downsides of doing permanent damage to the body, and you get people who are into BDSM who know all sorts of ways of delivering painful sensations without inflicting permanent harm, allowing them to indulge on a regular basis.