Gamora: You must be joking.
Rocket: No, I really heard they find you attractive.
The act of trading sexual favors for non-sexual favors: Having sex with someone you wouldn't want to have sex with "for free" — or even if it's someone you would do "for free", you let them believe otherwise — in exchange for gifts, doing work for you, or the like. The whole thing may or may not be portrayed and/or perceived as really being a form of prostitution.
This trade may be portrayed in a neutral manner, or it may portray either the sex-trader or the service-trader as more or less a victim of the other. In either case, the act is often closely related to at least one other trope.
Neutral versions (As in, they are either equally good or equally bad)
- For Happiness: They both get something they want, and everyone is happy. Life is good.
- Sex Is Evil: They both get something they want, and they are both immoral creeps.
- Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny: They both get something they want, and they are both pitiful creeps.
- Casual Kink: Any of the "unlucky sex-trader" or "unlucky service-trader" variants below, but as a Safe, Sane, and Consensual sexual role-playing game.
- Pizza Boy Special Delivery: The exchange is little more than an excuse for sex.
"Unlucky sex-trader" versions:
- Entitled to Have You: The service-trader just keeps nagging the sex-trader about sex that she/he doesn't want, until she/he finally gives in with an "okay, but at least do something for me as well". Alternatively, he/she does something for her/him first, and doesn't reveal until afterward that the help actually came with a price tag.
- Sexual Extortion: Sure, the sex-trader is the one taking the initiative, but what choice does he really have if the service is the only source of the medication his dying child needs, or the like? (In regular Sexual Extortion, the service-trader pushes An Offer You Can't Refuse on the sex-trader).
- Manipulative Bastard: The service-trader weasels his way into the sex-trader's bed with promises he never intends to keep and might not even be able to keep.
- Drugs Are Bad: The sex-trader is addicted and will do anything to get his fix.
"Unlucky services-trader" versions:
- A Man Is Always Eager: Alice exploits Bob's sex drive to get whatever she wants.
- Gold Digger: The sex trader wants money... and lots of money... and even more money. They may also pretend to fall in love with their mark and perhaps will even invoke the Murder Tropes to get the "inheritance" faster.
- Manipulative Bitch: The sex-trader makes the eager service-trader think he'll be getting sex in return for doing her a favor, but she has no intention of actually giving him any.
- Bastard Girlfriend: Alice gets poor Bob all worked up, but makes sure to to keep him constantly frustrated (whether he gets any sex or not) for the audience's amusement.
- Lysistrata Gambit: Something of an inversion, where one party withholds sex from another in exchange for resources or a personal change.
- The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: When the only reason a beautiful woman would come on to an unattractive man is if she has ulterior motives.
"Portrayed either way" versions:
- Sleeping Their Way to the Top: The sex-trader offers sex in return for a promotion, a better job, or a higher social status which the services-trader can provide. May run the whole spectrum from plucky underdog overcoming adversity by acting out of the box, to a cynical and shrewd manipulator using underhanded tactics to get the prize over more skilled or deserving competitors.
- Casting Couch: An actor (model, singer etc.) sleeps with a producer to get the role. This is a Sub-Trope of Sleeping Their Way to the Top in which the "service" is specifically a part in a cast.
- Sextra Credit: The "service" is better grades for a student and the services-trader is a teacher or professor.
- Compensated Dating: A light form of prostitution which may or may not include sex; the focus is more on a "dating" relationship in which one partner (who otherwise might not be interested) is compensated with lavish gifts. It's often a sub-trope of the Gold Digger.
- I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: When a woman (hence the trope name) uses her sex appeal to convince another to do something she wants.
While one can certainly consider this a form of whoring, the sex-trader rarely intends to make an official career out of The Oldest Profession from making deals like this. The various uses of this trope are all Truth in Television, though not universal and some occur more than others. Contrast Platonic Prostitution, where one partner is a prostitute but they don't have sex.
- Blade of the Immortal:
- When Rin and Manji meet for the first time, Rin attempts to convince Manji to become her bodyguard and help her get her revenge on the Itto-ryu, but Manji blows her off. After explaining how he can't just work for anyone who wants him to kill for them (his curse requires him to kill a thousand evil men to be freed from his immortality but whose judgement can he trust about who is "evil"?) he challenges her to prove to him that she's really ready to give up everything for her revenge. Misunderstanding him, she resignedly tells him he can do whatever he wants to her, but she's only just starting to undress when Manji smacks her across the face in appalled anger, since Rin looks like his late little sister.
- Played-with shortly afterwards, after Manji kills Kuroi Sabato, the man who actually cut down Rin's father — he agrees to bodyguard Rin for four years until she's grown up and filled out properly, then he'll sell her to a brothel for far more than he can get for her now. Rin is not amused. This arrangement is pretty much never mentioned again.
- Berserk: During the Golden Age arc, Governor Gennon of Chuder has young boys as hand servants that he molests and rapes constantly. To provide funding for the Hawks, Griffith slept with him, an act that fucked Griffith up badly and left Gennon with an obsession with him that would ultimately lead to his death at Griffith's hands in the Battle of Doldrey.
- Gate: It is common in the Empire for people to use sex as a bribe or reward. Tuka considers selling her body to pay for her stay in Alnus and Princess Piña orders Bozes to sleep with Itami to get him to forgive her knights for beating him up. They are very surprised when the JSDF turns these offers down.
- Lucoa tries offering herself to Shouta in exchange for room and board in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, though he understandably doesn't take her up on her offer (he's under the impression that she's actually a succubus). In her defense, this was after she had already offered him endless riches, supernatural charisma, and boundless magical powers; all of which he turned down for various reasons.
- In Preacher, Cassidy used to be a junkie. In one flashback scene, he is giving oral sex in exchange for some drugs... and then beats the living shit out of his girlfriend for catching him in the act.
- In the Swedish comic Elvis, the titular character often falls prey to the Henpecked Husband variant, with Elvis having to do all kinds of chores and concessions in return for the rare marital intercourse with his wife Hedvig. Also reversed (but still with Hedvig as the abuser) with a Played for Laughs case of the Sexual Extortion variant: Elvis is desperate for a new PlayStation, and Hedvig forces him to dance like Chippendales for her before she allow him to buy it.
- In Morbus Gravis, the protagonist Druuna has to endure the Sexual Extortion variant: Her boyfriend is very ill, and in her desperation for medication she begs a disgusting old doctor to have sex with her.
- Whatever Love Means portrays traditional gender roles (man works, woman is housewife) this way (some would say rather unfairly).
- Deadpool bought his friend Outlaw a new place after her old one was wrecked in a fight with The Punisher. She ends up doing this. Deadpool tells her that she doesn't have to, but she does anyway.
Deadpool: Outlaw! Umph! I didn't buy it for you to get into y—
- Sin City: Leibowitz has to force a false confession out of framed cop John Hartigan, but after beating him for several days he starts complaining that his back is getting sore, so instead brings in a prostitute and offers her to Hartigan to see if the carrot works better. She's not that happy with the whole thing, since Hartigan is accused of being a pedophile serial killer.
- In the Death Note Slash Fic The Unwritten Rule Light makes this offer to Ryuk in exchange for Shinigami eyes. It backfires on him horribly.
- In the Miraculous Ladybug AU To Hench or Not to Hench, Marinette and Alya think Gabriel is going to demand this for Marinette's internship... So Marinette is completely blindsided when it turns out he wants her to become a supervillain and fight against Chat Noir.
- In (Un)Natural, Karen and Martha continuously have long-winded arguments about whether they should be together (platonically). Martha believes that Karen is better off without her while Karen can't imagine life without her best friend Martha. After three weeks of arguing, Karen is at her wits ends. After a heated argument with Martha, Karen decides to use sex as a way to get Martha to agree with her. It works, in that Martha agrees to leave with Karen, but it also damages their friendship due to Karen manipulating Martha's weak spot.
- In Promises Kept and its two sequels, Zuko allows Azula out of the asylum so that she can get information about their mother from their father. Her tactic of getting Ozai to talk is seduction. Zuko doesn't initially understand his sister's intentions, but even after he does he still allows her to go through with it. Zuko gets his information but at the cost of Ozai brutally raping Azula, causing her to begin hallucinating again after a period of lucidity.
- In Chicago, Roxie comes up with a plan to use a fake pregnancy as a moral weapon against a possible death penalty. In her words, "I would just like to say that my own life doesn't matter now. It's just that of my unborn child." She's put up for medical inspection of course. She uses sex to convince the doctor to back up her story. This is her stock and trade, really. Roxie wound up in jail in the first place because she killed her lover after he (cruelly) revealed he lied about being able to get her into show business just to get her into bed. She also tries to convince Billy Flynn to take on her case with this offer, but he brushes her off, as he's Only in It for the Money.
- In Duets, Suzi Loomis often uses sexual means to fund her cross-country trip, including a scene in which she needs to get a new paint job for a stolen car.
Suzi: "Sir, we're a little bit short on cash at the moment, but I would consider it an honor and a privilege to suck your dick."
- In Forrest Gump there is a rather loose variation.
Hancock: "Your mama sure does care about your schooling, son!"
- In My Life In Ruins, the man at the counter at the hotel offers Georgia this option in exchange for postage, but she's mortified.
- Perhaps the most triumphant example occurs in the film Dangerous Beauty, in which Venetian courtesan Veronica Franco has sex with King Henri III of France in exchange for French naval support in Venice's war against the Turks. After one night with her, he returns to his royal barge to leave the city, sits down very gingerly on a cushion, and tells the Doge "You'll get your ships." The entire Venetian crowd cheers wildly. Talk about doing your patriotic duty.
- Discussed in The American President when President Shepherd's election opponent implies in a talk show appearance that his girlfriend, a lobbyist, may have traded sexual favors for votes. Shepard calls him out on this specifically in a "The Reason You Suck" Speech at the end of the film.
- Implied to occur between Pris and Sebastian in Blade Runner to convince Sebastian to get Roy past Tyrell's security to see Tyrell. Roy later kills both Tyrell and a crying, guilt-wracked Sebastian once the bargain is complete.
- When she finds out that Chang the bandit chieftain is about to have her boyfriend's eyes put out in Shanghai Express, Lily offers herself to Chang. Chang accepts.
- Played for Laughs in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, where George Carlin, as a drifter, explains that this is expected when hitching a ride before getting one with a trucker where he follows through out-of-frame. The duo is conflicted about this when their ride turns out to be a Nun.
- An interesting variation: The Joker in Suicide Squad offers Harley to one of his soon to be crime partners as a bonus to start the negotiations (and Harley seems OK with that). The fact that the gangster rejects the offer gets him killed.
- Repo! The Genetic Opera: Rich Bitch Amber Sweet sometimes sleeps with the Grave Robber to get street zydrate to fuel her surgery addiction.
- Anna Veigh (Lee Lee Sobieski) in In a Dark Place (loosely based on The Turn of the Screw) sleeps with both the principal of her school (doesn't work, she's fired anyway) and Miss Grove, the estate manager and her supervisor, after she finds a job as a nanny in both cases as an attempt to keep her employment. May have something to do with her past.
- James Bond
- The World Is Not Enough. Bond has no problem with seducing an MI6 doctor to get her to clear him medically for his next mission (though they are implied to have had a prior relationship). Her report states that he has exceptional stamina.
- Camille Montes in Quantum of Solace (played by Olga Kurylenko) is so obsessed on getting her revenge for the rape and murder of her mother and sister at the hands of General Medrano, that she exchanges sex with criminal boss Dominic Greene for getting close to Medrano.
- In Xenocide, Wang-Mu "bribes" a foreman to allow her to strike up a conversation with the local aristocrat's daughter, Qing-Jao, in hopes of raising her social status. (It works.)
- Subverted in War and Remembrance. Natalie, out of pure desperation, offers this to a Nazi camp guard in exchange for protecting her child. The guard replies contemptuously that she has nothing to bargain with as he could have it any time but really didn't feel like it.
- The Dresden Files:
- Discussed in Grave Peril A homeless girl named Lydia comes to Harry for help, and he tells her that he wants something in return. She misconstrues it as a request for this trope and he quickly stops her because A) he just wanted more information, not sex, and B) she doesn't even look legal anyway. He comments in his internal monologue that it's probably not the first time she's traded sex for favors.
- Certain magical beings will offer a sexual encounter for information, products, or power to the one requesting it.
- In the short story "Bombshells" Harry Dresden's Fairy Godmother, Lea, notes that in the Norse myths of Freya reclaiming some stolen treasure from the Svartalves, the concept she simply kissed each of them is a Bowdlerization. They wouldn't let go of something that valuable for so little. She slept with the Svartalves. All of them who wanted it.
- In the same short story, a man was caught spying on Svartalf territory. He is able to negotiate his freedom if he spends the whole night with any Svartalf who would have him. Luckily he is has the body of a Greek hero, and the Svartalves love beauty of all sorts, and is an incubus, so he has a very large sexual appetite.
- Harry witnesses the initiation of Queen Mab's newest Winter Knight: having sex with the knight on an ancient stone table. Mab broadcasts the affair on any surface of water in all the kingdoms of Faerie. Later the Knight wonders if one could even call it sex because he felt Mab was, in those moments, like some ancient and powerful force of nature and one cannot have sex with a hurricane.
- In The Goblin Emperor, a woman offers such a trade to Maia. He doesn't accept, as he is embarrassed about his lack of sexual experience. That is after he has already done her the favor she wanted, without fully understanding the deal he was being offered.
- Guardians of the Flame: In return for passage to another city in the first book, the captain of the ship the party's taking demands that Doria heal his impotence... then prove it through having sex with him. She agrees reluctantly.
- In The Silver Pigs, Marcus Didius Falco gripes that he's sometimes offered "payment in kind" from female clients, instead of money or a fine fish (he has to eat, after all). Played for Drama in the film adaptation Age of Treason, when Helena Justina offers herself to use (or abuse) as Falco sees fit, if he'll just continue with the case. Falco rejects the offer, partially because he was badly burned last time he got involved with a female aristocrat.
- In Kane story "Lynortis Reprise" teenage Sesi offers this to Kane in exchange for not giving her up to Jeresen. He muses that it's nothing original and anyway he could take it by force but for some reason agrees.
- In Skippy Dies, Lori trades sexual favors for drugs with Carl, though she won't sleep with him, much to his frustration.
- In Frasier, Bebe subtly insinuates that she will become Frasier's agent again if he sleeps with her. ("I'm just talking about having a little fun. After all, when I'm having fun, I'm happy. When I'm happy, I work harder. When I work harder, you become famous and powerful. Isn't that what you want? Fame and power?") He tries to bluff her by subtly enticing her with the possibility of sex, since he notes that she loves the chase, enough to make her want to take him on again in order to pursue him. He fails, badly, as a freak collision of coincidences makes her seem so much like the devil that he loses his head and runs screaming.
- In Mad Men, Joan does this with much angst in the episode "The Other Woman."
- Hanna's mother engages in this do get her out of shoplifting charges in the pilot of Pretty Little Liars.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Harmony asks her ex-boyfriend, Spike, to shelter her when she assumes that Buffy is out to get her. (Harmony has sort of an unrealistic view of how much Buffy cares.) It takes Spike a bit of sarcastic hinting before she realizes what he wants in return. Her response is basically "Oh, sure, whatever."
- In Season 7, Anya offers to have sex with a demon if he provides the information they want. The demon rejects the offer in disgust, as Humans Are Ugly.
- In The Big Bang Theory episode "The Hook-Up Reverberation", Penny casually admits her high school PE coach turned out to have a close personal interest in her which amounted to an unwise teacher-pupil crush. She took the young Penny to see a Melissa Etheridge gig, and Penny played along with the idea to ensure she got A-grades. Penny does not disclose how far she had to go to get those A's but casually says "it all worked out just fine".
- Shameless (US) has Lip do other people's homework for extra money. Karen can't afford it, so she gives him oral sex instead.
- Cleopatra wants Marc Antony to publicly acknowledge her son by Caesar as legitimate. Marc Antony whispers his price in her ear which she agrees to, but slaps him when he tries to touch her. As Cleopatra points out, if she's a whore, "then the customer pays first, does he not?"
- Atia is introduced having sex with Timeon, who is disappointed on discovering she's actually more interested in the White Stallion he's just acquired. Unlike the usual version of this trope Atia has the power in this situation, as she's a Roman noblewoman and Timeon is a Jewish horsetrader who secretly works for Atia as a hired thug. So it's an Establishing Character Moment — rather than just bribe Timeon to give her the horse Atia has sex with him, then puts him down with a Backhanded Compliment when he complains of her hidden agenda.
- However in a later episode Atia asks Timeon to hire extra muscle in case an angry mob turns up at their door (which happens that very night). Timeon demands 'extra' payment for the extra men, and makes it clear he doesn't mean more money. This gets him slapped across the face, but when Timeon threatens to walk out on her altogether, Atia says that if Timeon does his job to her satisfaction she will see to his.
- Doubled down on in Sons of Anarchy. SAMCRO needs two dead bodies to stage a crime scene and avoid being connected with two workers killed in an explosion on a SAMCRO property. They attempt to bribe Skeeter, a man who works at a crematorium, for the bodies, but the only payment he'll accept is a night with his long time crush, Emily Duncan. Jax, SAMCRO'S Vice President, asks Emily, a Crow Eater (club groupie) to do this favor for the club. Emily is physically out of Skeeter's league and repulsed by his profession. However, she is willing to sleep with Skeeter if the very attractive Jax is wiling to sleep with her. Quid Pro Quo.
- The Magicians: Julia lets Pete have sex with her in return for information.
- American Gods (2017): Essie McGowan saves herself from transportation to the Thirteen Colonies and later death due to having sex with powerful men who have the ability to spare her (in the latter case by getting her pregnant, since they won't hang a pregnant woman). Then she gets her master to free her from her indentured servitude with the implicit promise of this if they get married.
- Game of Thrones. Queen Cersei has promised her hand to Euron Greyjoy if he helps her win the war with his fleet (although Cersei has no intention of delivering). Euron points out that wars can last years, and he has already delivered several victories that should earn him her favour. Realising she has to keep him on her side, she reluctantly takes him to her bedchamber.
- Subverted in the official video for Madonna's song "Material Girl": Madonna's character let the rich men buy her all kinds of expensive stuff, using their competition with each other over her as her convenient excuse to not kiss any of them — eventually sneaking off to kiss some guy who didn't try to pay her for it.
- In the official video for Studio Killers "Ode to the Bouncer", lead singer Cherry has sex with a bouncer to get into a night club.
- Angelina Love and Velvet Sky "gave" Madison Rayne to referee Slick Johnson to ensure Love remained TNA's "Knockout" Champion. Later, when Rayne left The Beautiful People, she would approach referee Brian Stiffler of her own volition. (Vince Russo works there, can you tell?)
- The basis of the Randy Savage-Bad News Brown feud in the WWF in late 1988. It all started when Bad News Brown confronted WWF president Jack Tunney on the set of the Brother Love Show and, after being dissatisfied with answers he was getting into why he wasn't getting a shot at Savage and the WWF World Heavyweight Championship, kicked the trope into effect by implying that Miss Elizabeth was seducing him and suggesting the two exchanged "favors" so that he would protect Savage from sure brutal defeat at Brown's hands. Tunney angrily denied the accusation (which led to Brown nearly assaulting Tunney) ... and needless to say, Savage wasn't very happy at all. In the end, Brown was a beaten man.
- Dragon Age:
- In Dragon Age: Origins, you can get Isabela to teach you the Duelist specialization with this trope, though the sex happens offscreen. If your character is female, you can also suggest this to Dwyn as payment for fighting to defend Redcliff, but he will decline.
- In Dragon Age: Inquisition, one of the options to conclude Josephine's questline involves offering "an unforgettable night" to a noblewoman as payment for the ennobling of a family.
- Inverted in Fallout 2: if the Bishop family godfather in New Reno finds out you've been messing with his wife or daughter, he'll "hire" you to do various jobs for him for free.
- Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines:
- One of the earlier levels involves you trying to get a powerful explosive from a bunch of mobs. If your character is female and has a high enough seduction level, you have the option to offer this to their leader as payment. Since you are a vampire however, no sex needs to ensue: your character instead just bites the mob boss in the neck and sucks some of his blood, leaving him with blurred memory and the vague impression something sexy happened.
- Venus, the owner of a Night Club in Downtown, has been resorting to this to pay her debt toward Russian mob Boris whenever she can't pay with money. One of the quests she gives you involves killing Boris so she won't have to do it anymore (though having high levels in Domination or Presence can get him to simply back off).
- World's End has a downplayed version of this. Ivan asks to borrow Oksana's red stone, the source of her magical powers, to see if he can make it work as well. To do so, she demands sexual favors from him. This isn't seen on screen, and the language is vague enough to either imply actual sex or something more like a striptease. Ivan does it, and Oksana does live up to her end of the bargain. note
- Gamer Poop parodies it in one of the Skyrim videos, where a woman, unable to afford the fee to prepare her upcoming wedding, negotiates an alternate form of payment by sleeping with the wedding planner. It would have potential for drama were it not for both of their hilariously enthusiastic and casual attitudes and the fact the scene lasts less than thirty seconds.
- In Ménage à 3, the relationships between actors Amber and Dillon and producer Nathan start out as Casting Couch arrangements (although Dillon is naive enough to think that Nathan has feelings for him), but when Nathan tries to set up a threesome, Amber manages to arrange matters so that she and Dillon come out of the deal with an apartment as well as three film roles each.
- FreakAngels: Jack apparently once traded oral sex for weed. With Connor's mum.
- The Onion: Housewife Charged In Sex-For-Security Scam.
- Not Always Right: Woman tries to pay off overdue rent by stripping naked and having sex with her landlord. Landlord tells her to put her clothes back on, then when she insists, points to the security camera in the corner.
- Family Guy: In an early episode, Death comes for Peter, but twists his ankle and the Griffins nurse him back to health in the hopes that he'll spare Peter out of gratitude. At one point Death tells Lois that he might consider it if she does something for him. Lois sighs and starts unbuttoning her blouse; Death quickly interrupts, saying he just wanted more food.
- In the second story of Futurama "Anthology of Interest I", Leela has sex with Fry in order to make sure he won't tell anyone of the murders.