Bo: Yeah, I, um...I can see how...intimacy could do that.
Lauren: It's in much the same way that a person who's having a heart attack often feels a sharp pain in the left arm? It's the brain's way of redistributing the pain so that it's not all...concentrated in one area.
Bo: I love it when you totally geek out.
Lauren: Can I sleep with you?
When a character has sex, possibly while drunk, in order to help them cope with (emotional) trauma from a recent tragedy.
Alice and Bob are two characters in a series that are extremely close, maybe they are in love or maybe they are just close friends, but they are happy together until Bob dies. Or leaves. Or is revealed to be lying the whole time. Regardless of the exact circumstances, the relationship is over and Alice is emotionally crushed. Does she begin to drink heavily or gorge herself on ice cream to wipe away the feelings or seek to end the pain? Nope, she goes out and finds somebody to spend the night with, and then finds somebody else the next night, and then finds somebody else the night after that. These are not emotionally healthy relationships, nor do they count as "relationships" by any definition of the term; they are just a string of one night stands as she tries to cope with the loss.
Sex For Solace deals with any situation where a character, suffering from severe emotional trauma, acts out their own internal turmoil through repeated sexual experiences. The trope does not only limit itself to ended romantic or sexual relationships, but can also deal with the death or loss of a parent/child, the defeat of an ideal, or other such crippling events. The trope can be played alternately for laughs or for drama, depending on the general tone of the work and how Alice's attempts to gain a new sexual partner are portrayed.
Related to, and often the result of, Drowning My Sorrows. Might indicate that somebody is Off the Wagon in a different area. Contrast Ethical Slut, For Happiness, and Sex Is Good. Compare or contrast Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny, depending on how the story deals with sexuality. Also compare Comforting the Widow, wherein someone takes advantage of an emotionally vulnerable person grieving the loss of their partner. Also compare On the Rebound where someone begins an ill-advised relationship after splitting up with their partner.
In Real Life, this is a common way of dealing with emotional trauma and PTSD. Needless to say, it can be a bad idea (though at the very least, it's better than drugs or alcohol or the like maybe). That said, it's a somewhat commonplace reaction to mass casualty disasters, perhaps as evolution's way to encourage repopulation. Now that that's out of the way
- Tamura from Bokura no Hentai was abused as a child by an older neighbor. He repressed the memories until he lost his virginity. Tamura ends up becoming promiscuous, often trying to have sex with adult men and other male-assigned-at-birth members of the cast (including trans girl Marika). Even as an adult, he engages in strings of one-night stands and flings despite finding them unfulfilling, all traced back to his trauma from being assaulted at a young age.
- Legend of the Blue Wolves: Jonathan and Leonard have a romance with each other and sex scene. It is these tender moments that they turn to for solace from their precarious lifestyle as they are in the middle of a war with aliens, and Jonathan is lusted after and then raped by Captain Continental.
- Kaze to Ki no Uta: Despite his apparent cruelty, Gilbert proves to be a tortured young man with a history of abandonment, objectification, and abuse. This is part of the reason why he sleeps around with male students.
- Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest: After Haguro's death, Ryuuko just lost her mind, wandering on the streets and selling her body for sex to men in utter disbelief and despair now that she lost Haguro and couldn't get Inugami.
- Ai no Kusabi: Riki once did this with Iason after believing himself to be stood up by his ex-lover Guy.
- After Guts leaves the Hawks in Berserk, Griffith, devastated by this, seeks out some sexual solace with Princess Charlotte. And the countdown to The Eclipse starts the second her father finds out.
- Black Butler: Beast gives in to Sebastian's seduction and has sex with him after Joker ignores her request to run away from their "father" and rejects her feelings for him. Sebastian uses her emotional vulnerability to coerce her into sex to help her with her pain but it is really to get answers out of her.
- In a twisted way in Canaan, the trope is Played for Drama with Hakko's sex scene with Santana's corpse, which takes place after she crosses the Despair Event Horizon when Liang Qi tricks her into killing him with her voice.
- Citrus: Really, any time when Mei becomes overly emotionally distressed, she would proceed to try to make sexual advances on Yuzu. While this is mostly because she is inept when it comes to processing her feelings towards her stepsister, Mei is often depicted as being shrouded by darkness. The worst case of this is in episode 2 of the anime where when Yuzu tries to extract some insight into how Mei truly felt about moving in with her grandfather, Mei lashes out at her, and pushes her onto the bed. She then proceeds to tear open her blouse and if there is any indication, she would've gone as far as to molest Yuzu had it not have been for Yuzu getting to her.
- In episode 6, after Mei learns that her father has no intent on returning to the academy, in her depression, she forces herself onto Yuzu. The expression that she makes before Yuzu slaps her is especially sinister. She also comments how she'll "be gentle" since it would be Yuzu's first time. That can be taken as a hint that Mei has done this before.
- Subverted in Code Geass. Lelouch is depressed and going through a 10-Minute Retirement and propositions this to Kallen. She gives him an Armor-Piercing Slap coupled with a Get Ahold Of Yourself Man instead.
- Similarly subverted like the Code Geass example above, Ryo from the FAKE series tells Dee he can "go ahead and do it" to him while in a depressed state. Dee answers with an Armor-Piercing Slap with a Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! out of anger, as he is Above the Influence and would never take advantage of someone who's head isn't on straight and vulnerable.
- In Gravitation, Yuki revealed he was raped when he was younger, leading to his preference for multiple partners male and female, as well as triggering his depression.
- Sakura Gari: Souma had a traumatic childhood which included rape (due to his beauty) and afterwards he is so broken he seeks out multiple partners and continues to do so even after they die from having ties with him at the hands of his psychotic sister.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena: Utena secretly suffers from suicidal depression under her tough prince exterior. She ends up in bed with Akio and in a brief romance with Touji, both of which she attempts to use to comfort herself, although the scene with Akio is so dubious she does not seem to like it in the end. She eventually ends up in a romance with Anthy, another girl, and she reveals her protecting Anthy was partly due to her own self-satisfaction but her relationship with Anthy does end up offering her solace, as they grow to love each other.
- It is implied that many of the admittedly dysfunctional cast sleeps around, partly for this reason. Touga and Akio in particular, though they also do so to further their own goals.
- Almost happens between Yota and Moemi in Video Girl Ai, after she goes through a Near-Rape Experience and almost crosses the Despair Event Horizon. They end up hugging naked and crying.
- School Days: Almost every character is messed up or depressed and Everybody Has Lots of Sex or simply has romantically charged scenes. This notably occurs between Makoto and Kotonoha as well as Makoto and Sekai. Both girls have serious issues, and the romance and sex with Makoto help, until the plot thickens and Makoto's womanizing tendencies arise so things take a turn for the worse.
- Denpa Teki na Kanojo: Hikaru proposes this to Juu after she has been rejected by her true crush thanks to the Malicious Slander from the Happiness Club.
- Subverted in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED by Flay, who takes advantage of a distraught Kira in order to allegedly comfort him with her body. It's actually a ploy to manipulate him in revenge for him not being able to save her father.
- Kurumi from Haou Airen engages once in this with her Fetishized Abuser's Number Two, Fuuron. Doubles as Intimate Psychotherapy since it takes place right after she explains her most recent troubles to him.
- Touka and Kaneki's sex scene in Tokyo Ghoul (re) acts as this as well as Intimate Psychotherapy as they are both depressed and seeking solace but it is also an expression of their love for each other and Their First Time.
- Implied to be a heavy basis for Misato and Kaji's relationship in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Most sources show that Misato underwent a lot of psychological trauma after Second Impact, and the manga also illuminates that Kaji went through similarly difficult losses, so they both used intimacy as a means of coping with their pain.
- It's implied that Misato is offering this to Shinji when he's depressed after Rei's demise in Episode 23. After Shinji rejects her advances, she concludes that she's more in need than he is for solace (Kaji having died a couple of episodes earlier).
- Jeremy from A Cruel God Reigns does this so often that he becomes a teenaged prostitute. Even after quitting this, Jeremy still tries to seduce Ian when is extremely upset or having a rough time coping. Lindon is the first to realize that Jeremy's actions are a poor method of coping with his issues.
- Myung and Guld go through this once in Macross Plus, after she cries in front of him during a chat and begs him not to leave her alone that night, since she had been almost murdered and he was the one who saved her.
- Haruki does this with Chiaki during Chiaki's route in White Album 2. Angry and frustrated, he accepts Chiaki's teasing offer during Christmas. They end up having sex at his apartment for a whole week after.
- In Ceres, Celestial Legend, Aya offers herself to Yuuhi, looking for Sex for Solace for losing Toya. Yuuhi gives in at first, to the point of making out and both getting naked. However, right before going too far, Yuuhi snaps out of it after seeing Aya being clearly on the brink of tears. He then kindly rejects her, claiming that he loves her too much to take advantage of the situation.
- It's implied a lot that Shizuma did this with a majority of the girls at her school in Strawberry Panic!, as a way to cope with the death of Kaori, her first true love.
- In Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs, Kanako began to go out late every night and bring strange men to her home to cope with her dog's death.
- High School D×D: Akeno comes to Issei with this intent in the seventh volume, due to having a lot on her plate to deal with, emotionally speaking, due to her strained relationship with her father. Issei is at first overjoyed at his good luck but turns her down, saying that while he wants to have sex with her very much, he wants that occasion to be a happy one, not when Akeno is obviously feeling sad.
- Food Wars!: In the final chapters, it's revealed that Azami Nakiri (Erina's father) had a one-night stand with an American woman when he was still a student, due to still being depressed over the disappearance of his dear senpai Joichiro Saiba. The result was the birth of Asahi, leaving him horrified when he learns he had abandoned a son.
- Renee Montoya begins the series 52 drinking heavily and picking up random women after the events of Gotham Central, where her partner Crisupus Allen was murdered and her girlfriend Daria Hernandez left her after she began to descend into alcoholism and violence. With the help of The Question, she manages to regain her emotional equilibrium, but when she needs to kill a young girl that Intergang had brainwashed into being a suicide bomber she is found drunk again and in bed with another woman. She herself admits that this is a pattern, and after every emotional trauma she either runs back to the bottle or into the nearest bed.
- Anna, whom Katherine "Kate" Kane is dating in the first issue of her run on Detective Comics, claims Kate is using her as a rebound relationship. She also accuses Kate of "tomcatting around" due to her obvious lack of sleep and, even though she is mistaken as to Kate's evening activities, Kate never does deny that their relationship is a classic rebound.
- In Runaways, Nico has a self-admitted tendency to throw herself at people in the aftermath of any stressful or traumatic scenario, although she does not progress to actual sex until well into the second volume of the series. She knows it is not healthy and is not fair to herself or whomever she throws herself at, but she cannot seem to break the pattern. She does break the pattern after Victor cheats on her with Lillie, deciding to let him go in the hopes that Lillie will make him happier. In the 2017 relaunch, she impulsively tries to kiss Karolina, despite Karolina already being taken.
Karolina: Why do you always do this?
Nico: I don't know...
- Norman Osborn has sex with Gwen Stacy — yes, that Gwen Stacy — soon after his son Harry is hospitalized for OD'ing on LSD. Gwen herself was traumatized by her father's death and Peter's apparent aloofness. This in truth turned out to be false as Norman was hypnotized to believing he had slept with Gwen by a artificial computer version of Harry Osborn.
- One Alternate Character Interpretation of Starfire's behavior in Red Hood and the Outlaws is that she's doing this when she propositions Roy Harper barely hours after they first meet. Apparently she was supposed to come off as an Ethical Slut, but instead, it came off like this.
- Y: The Last Man. A female astronaut returns to Earth with two male astronauts who survived the Gendercide. When the reentry vehicle bursts into flame the men insist on saving her life at the expense of their own, despite the fact that men are now priceless. Turns out that while they were on the space station facing The End of the World as We Know It she had comfort sex with both men, and was now pregnant.
- Fine Print: Lauren has lots of casual sex to offset her depression and loneliness. This doesn't work.
- Kalash93's Relax is all about this trope. The conclusion is absolutely heartwarming. (Sturgeon's Law is in full effect here. You have been warned.) There's also related stories by the same author. In both, it's a case of a prostitute using her body to comfort her soldier client, but each one is told with an interesting twist which makes them both really good quick reads.
- In The Life and Times of a Winning Pony, Cloud Kicker finally gives in to Blossomforth's advances in the wake of finding her mother dead and personally killing the Changeling Infiltrator responsible.
- The Supernatural fanfic Down to Agincourt explains that Castiel has so much sex because it's basically the only thing about being human—other than heavy drug use—that he doesn't actively loathe.
- Mass Effect's fic Crucible:
- In the alternative future, Alt-Garrus slept with Perdita to forget about Shepard's apparent death. He ended up getting her pregnant, forced to marry her only for the survived Alt!Shepard to show up with her own big stomach. And this was just the first in a serial of disastrous events that came later, all because Alt.Garrus decided to seek this trope with the wrong person (despite knowing said person has an ulterior motive).
- Later Alt-Garrus slept with Shepard in the hospital to help them calm down after their son's incident with Garrus's current wife, Perdita.
- The Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfic Scar Tissue has Asuka sleeping with Shinji in order to alleviate her trauma. Played very darkly in that Shinji feels too guilty to say "no."
- In the Fairy Tail fanfic The Spirit Doll, Natsu and Lucy had done this after the battle with Tartaros. After they had both suffered the loss of someone they loved (ie. Igneel and Aquarius) with Lucy having the extra solace of almost losing Natsu to go with it. They need the reassurance that both of them were still there and alive, not realizing their actual feelings for one another. This led to Lucy having a daughter during the timeskip as well as the events of the story to take place.
- Zelda and Link have this type of relationship in Their Bond, but it doesn't get much farther than heavy kissing. Otherwise, they have a sibling relationship. Link is helping Zelda with her past childhood sexual abuse by Ganondorf. Neither likes it because they do see each other as siblings, and because they're both gay at that, but Link would do anything to help Zelda.
- Belle and Aurora end up sleeping together for this reason in To a Merry Christmas. Aurora is staying over at a party Belle is throwing for Christmas. They meet and get tipsy together in the library, but Aurora begs Belle to go to bed with her because she's afraid to sleep alone. It ends up leading to sex.
- In the Pokémon fic Fate Unown, Delia's childhood friend Spencer was in love with her, but Delia preferred her teacher, Samuel. After Delia accidentally became pregnant with Ash and she mistook Samuel wanting to marry her for a loveless Shotgun Wedding excuse, she ran to Spencer for comfort. It ended up turning into this, but Delia loved Samuel more than Spencer and it never went beyond that one time.
- After a few bottles of wine, Zuko and Katara end up doing this in Leave Your Spirit. Katara's pained by her husband being away more often then he's not, while Zuko has been left a widower after his wife died. They regret it afterwards. It isn't until two years afterwards that Katara notices her daughter Kya is most likely not her husband's:
The planes of Fire Lord Zuko's face have hardened and his eyes squeeze shut as if he can lock out all the harsh memories of death and loving feelings never lost. And Katara watches him and wishes that she could take away some of the pain.
And then she looks away, because wanting to take away some of his pain was one of the reasons that she got herself into this situation.
That, and him wanting to take away hers.
- In chapter 4 of Storm Clouds And Grey Skies, Claire is traumatized because she thinks that Leia was killed in a freak typhoon. After Gray wakes her from a nightmare, Claire begs for him to "take her pain away".
- In married to the flames, Jin and Zuko have Their First Time because Jin wants to feel numb from her feelings and the world.
- In The One I Love Is..., Shinji agrees to sleep with Asuka to comfort her after Araels psychic attack.
- In the movie The Burning Plain, Sylvia is a beautiful restaurant manager whose cool demeanor masks her issues. When a stranger from Mexico confronts her with her mysterious past, Sylvia is launched into a journey through space and time that connects her to these characters, all of whom are grappling with their own romantic destinies. Gina is a housewife trapped in a loveless marriage who finds solace and passion in an illicit affair. Mariana is a young woman coping with the death of her mother, who falls in love with a young man her father despises. Though separated by time and distance, these women find their lives linked by the forces of love and fate.
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall has the protagonist, Peter, have a string of unemotional flings with random women on the advice of his doctor after he becomes despondent and mildly obsessed with his ex-girlfriend — the eponymous Sarah Marshall — after she dumps him.
- In When Harry Met Sally..., Harry sleeps with woman after woman to try to forget his ex-wife, Helen (while he's in love with Sally, his best friend, of course, and neither realizes it yet). This prompts the following exchange:
Harry: If you're so over Joe, why aren't you seeing anyone?
Sally: I see people.
Harry: See people? Have you slept with one person since you broke up with Joe?
Sally: What the hell does that have to do with anything? That will prove I'm over Joe? Because I fuck somebody? Harry, you're gonna have to move back to New Jersey because you've slept with everybody in New York and I don't see that turning Helen into a faint memory for you. Besides, I will make love to somebody when it is making love. Not the way you do it like you're out for revenge or something.
- In Monster's Ball, Leticia has sex with Hank after the deaths of her husband and son. Hank himself had inadvertently driven his own son to suicide.
- In The Mountain Between Us, the two main characters depend on each other to survive when their plane crashes. They find solace in one another, fall in love, and eventually have passionate sex.
- Cabin Fever: "It's like being on a plane when you know it's gonna crash — everyone around you is screaming, yelling 'We're going down! We're going down!' And all you really wanna do is grab the person next to you and fuck the shit out of them, 'cuz you know you're gonna be dead soon, anyway."
- In The Terminator, Sarah Connor ends up having sex with Kyle Reese while they're on the run from a killer robot, and she had witnessed it murder multiple people that she knew. This ends up being the encounter that produces John Connor, the savior of the human race in Kyle's timeline.
- In Alien³, Ripley and Clemens make love for this reason. Ripley has lost two people who meant a lot to her, and Clemens has spent a large part of his life on a bleak prison planet to atone for his past mistakes. Ripley also does it to deflect a question that Clemens asked her, but why she chose this way to deflect it is this trope ("I've been out here a long time", she says).
- He Died with a Felafel in His Hand: Sam and Anya get together at the end of the Brisbane segment, and break up around the time when the Melbourne segment starts. Incredibly upset by the breakup, she asks Danny to sleep with her, saying that she needs to feel loved. When he turns her down, she tries and fails to commit suicide. After all that, Danny decides that his previous arguments are no longer valid and sleeps with her anyway.
- Cheryl Strayed in Wild does this after the death of her mother, in addition to drugs. She even says the only times she's happy are when she's having sex or on drugs.
- Implied (but averted) in Star Trek (2009). After the destruction of Spock's home planet, Uhura gets Spock somewhere private, kisses him, and offers whatever he needs to cope. Spock's reaction is Not So Stoic but makes it clear that he needs everyone to keep a professional distance right now. Uhura accepts this.
- Spectre: Defied. When Bond and Madeline investigate Mr. White's old honeymoon hotel room, she tells him that she won't fall into his arms just because she learned that her father recently killed himself. The following night, they have Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex instead.
- Outland. After O'Neil's wife and son abandon the mining colony to return to Earth, Montone advises him that the company prostitutes can at least provide some comfort.
- Attenberg. Marina's father is dying of a terminal illness, so suspecting he's attracted to her Really Gets Around friend Bella she arranges for Bella to sleep with him, though she doesn't want to know the details.
- Rose in Titanic (1997) tries to kill herself when feeling overwhelmed by the stuffiness and loneliness of high society life. She is clearly depressed and finds solace in the free-spirited commoner Jack; She is enamored with him and his way of life; they eventually consummate their love with sex in a car in the lowest hold of the ship.
- Goldstone. Detective Jay Swan—who's introduced being pulled over for drunk driving—later goes to speak to a prostitute as part of his investigation. During their conversation he reveals that his daughter whom we saw in the previous movie has died. He ends up sleeping with her, and it's implied that he went there in the first place for this trope, rather than any hope of getting information.
- In Most Likely to Murder (2018), Billy's ex Kara reminds him that the last time they had sex was after Hurricane Sandy, when she was upset about the loss of her childhood photos.
- The Alice Network: After her brother swallows his gun, Charlie sleeps around with boys she doesn't really like. She then ends up pregnant without a clue who the father is.
- In the YA novel All We Left Behind, teenagers Marion and Kurt meet and fall in love. Marion is unable to tell anyone about something that happened to her years before. Both cope with their dysfunctional families in different ways: Kurt's sister is a meth addict, and he uses sex to fill the void he feels over his alcoholic mother's death, while Marion is disconnected from even those closest to her.
- In Jennifer Government Buy Mitsui blames himself for the death of a young girl because he gave her the money to buy the shoes she was killed for. When he goes out drinking to try and deal with the guilt he winds up going home with Sandy John-Hancock but recognizes the next day that he will probably never call her (Which is a pity, because she actually seemed like a nice woman).
- In The Aeneid, recently widowed Dido pretty much leaps into Aeneas's arms at top speed. Unfortunately for the poor girl, she was just a pawn in Juno's revenge quest against Aeneas, so it ended badly.
- In The Will of the Empress, Briar tries to have someone in his bed every night to ward off PTSD-induced nightmares.
- In Wedge's Gamble, Erisi Dlarit tries to sleep with Corran Horn on this pretense; to ease his angst. He refrains and wanders an enemy-controlled city without watching where he's going instead. Probably just as well—rather than getting him captured or killed this leads to unexpected discoveries. Anyway, Erisi is a traitor to the cause.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- Littlefinger sleeps with Lysa Tully after he gets drunk at the feast in which her sister Catelyn's engagement to Brandon Stark is announced. Though it's possible he might not have known who he was sleeping with.
- King Robb Stark sleeps with Jeyne Westerling after finding out that his little brothers have supposedly been murdered. The next day he marries her to protect her honor. As his hand has already been promised as part of a political alliance, this doesn't end well for anyone.
- In the Gears of War novels, this was how Marcus Fenix and Anya Stroud first hooked up some sixteen years prior to the first game. Both were already attracted to each other, but mutual hesitancy about a relationship (due to regs against an officer and an enlisted man being romantically involved) kept them from acting on it until after the battle of Aspho Fields. Marcus' best friend/surrogate brother Carlos and Anya's mother Helena were both killed in action, and after an awards ceremony a month later, Marcus and Anya were drunk and grief-stricken enough to say "the hell with it". They managed to stay together afterwards due to most of those who knew about it looking the other way (since Marcus was a war hero and Anya the daughter of one).
- At the end of Changes, book ten of The Dresden Files, newly-fired cop Karrin Murphy plans to go out and find a "reasonably attractive" male to spend the night with. When Harry Dresden tentatively suggests that he join her, since they have been almost a couple several times over the past several years but have always been kept apart by various circumstances, she hesitantly agrees, with a plan to meet up in an hour. Harry is, of course, shot dead by a sniper in that intervening hour.
- James Bond:
- It's hinted, implied and occasionally flat-out stated to be a big part of Bond's relationships with the Bond girls. His few meaningful relationships have ended in betrayal and/or death, hence his cavalier attitude towards women and his pursuit of sex as a pleasurable distraction (much like his drinking habit) or a means to an end.
- In Death Is Forever, Bond agrees to provide sexual comfort for a female spy who just became the sole living member of her network of thirty agents.
- In High Fidelity, the narrator's ex-girlfriend wants this after her father suddenly dies. It's how she and the narrator get back together.
- Brett from The Sun Also Rises is known for drinking, partying, and sleeping around (despite being 34 and engaged) to cope with the fact that she's been through two failed marriages, getting older (and, she fears, less desirable), questioning her engagement to Mike, and her tumultuous relationship with Jake.
- In the Jennifer Hillier book Creep, this seems to be the case with Ethan and his girlfriend but they are both too crazy and unstable for it to help any as they keep falling into their Serial Killer ways. Played more straight with Shiela. She was a respected teacher that went off the rails after her dad's death and her beloved was revealed to be gay and she found him and another man in the act of having sex. She started having random sexual encounters with men to cope and as she describes it she felt powerful. She eventually got lost in the feeling however and became an alcoholic and added drugs to the mix. Part of her story is her gradually climbing out of the hole she had gotten herself into.
- In the Stephen King short story "The Raft," filmed as part of Creepshow 2, the protagonist has sex with his girlfriend. On a raft. In October in New England. While a man-eating blob, that has already eaten their friends, waits for them to drop a hair or a finger in the water. It being a King story, guess what happens.
- In It, another work by Stephen King, the Losers become lost in the sewers after beating It for the first time and start to panic. Beverly calms the boys down and establishes a physical bond with them by having sex with them.
- In the Warchild Series, it's stated that jets do this to handle the trauma of battle. Evan, who is not a jet, sleeps around as a way of coping with his PTSD.
- In Horatio Hornblower novel Flying Colours, Hornblower finds himself stranded at the benevolent Comte de Gracay's over the winter as a fugitive from Napoleon's (in)justice; he and his two men can't leave until spring for logistical reasons. Feeling trapped and fretting over his inevitable Court Martial for the loss of his ship, his mood grows fouler and more disturbed until Gracay's widowed daughter-in-law Marie offers herself to him. His Cabin Fever is relieved immediately, but now he's also wracked with guilt over betraying the Comte's trust, the only man in France who would shelter three British sailors.
- In The Wheel of Time, Min asks Rand for some physical comfort after Harid Fel is killed. However unusual a reaction that is to learning of a mentor figure being brutally dismembered, it does cement a Relationship Upgrade that lasts for the rest of the series.
- The Atrocity Archive. During a routine lecture on demon summoning, a careless member of the class gets possessed and Bob Howard has to kill him on the spot to prevent him from infecting everyone else. That night his ex-girlfriend Mhari turns up in his bed, despite them both being estranged from each other, having heard about what happened.
- Field Grey: 1954 Bernie wonders why gorgeous Melba went to bed with him when he's old enough to be her father. He concludes that she's looking for solace, seeing as how she's a fugitive who's fleeing the country after murdering a cop.
"It was just that she was young and scared and lonely and wanted someone—anyone would have done, probably—to hold her and make her feel like the world cared about her."
- Into Thin Air by Jeannie Levig: While some would see Jordan as the "bad girl", there are others who interpret her character as being a broken woman who uses sex to feel some void in her life that was created from a past of where she thought she wasn't loved.
- In the backstory of Shadow of the Conqueror, this was how Dayless began indulging in sex after the death of his family, using it as a method of coping with the pain within. He went from prostitutes to willing young girls in a hurry, and eventually indulged in increasingly extreme forms of stimulation to keep himself from depression.
- Kushiel's Legacy: Phèdre's friendship with Hyacinthe is entirely platonic, but they sleep together once after Hyacinthe's lover is killed in battle. As a sacred prostitute, she's very familiar with this trope and Intimate Psychotherapy, though not usually with so close a personal acquaintance.
- Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, an entry of the extended lore of the World of Warcraft franchise written by Christie Golden, follows the titular character through his life up past his ascension to the Frozen Throne. At one point during the initial outbreak of the plague of undeath, Arthas becomes overwhelmed by the horrors befalling his people and his own growing sense of frustration and helplessness. He and Jaina - at this point his ex-fiancée - seek comfort in each other as they set up camp outside a nearby infected town. Notable for the fact that Arthas is explicitly described as still weeping when the scene fades to black.
- Exaggerated in The Belgariad: After Belgarath learns that his wife of 2000 years died while he was away, he spends a year in a suicidal daze, two years as a raging drunk, a few months Walking the Earth (including crossing the Wood of the Dryads in mating season), and nine years sleeping his way around all of Maragor before his True Companions haul him back to his duties.
- In Watchers of the Throne, during the Days of Blindness, Tieron and Jek begin sleeping together as a way to stave off the terror they're feeling during that time. They break it off once the immediate crisis passes, though they remain Amicable Exes.
- At the end of "Heir to the Demon", Oliver Queen and Sara Lance throw themselves at each other after a very stressful day for both of them, rekindling their relationship from six years ago.
- In "Canaries", Thea Queen is understandably tense because the League of Assassins is hunting her family, she's recently discovered her brother is The Arrow, and she's just walked into the Arrowcave to find an injured Laurel Lance lying on a slab before Oliver barks at her to leave. As Thea does she runs into the cocky handsome DJ who's been hitting on her for the past few episodes, and takes him back to her apartment out of a desire to "keep things simple". Things turn out to be anything but when her lover turns out to be a League member who tries to assassinate Thea shortly after they have sex, only for her to be saved by her ex-boyfriend Roy Harper. A few episodes later after things have gone From Bad to Worse, Roy finds a distraught Thea turning up at his door, and their next scene shows her a lot happier post-coitus.
- Battlestar Galactica. Strongly implied with Kara Thrace.
- Batwoman (2019). After the traumatic events of "Through The Looking Glass", Julia Pennyworth finds Kate Kane drinking heavily while sitting on a precarious ledge a long way up the side of Wayne Tower. She refuses to leave and they end up sharing a Big Damn Kiss, with some strong hints dropped in the next episode that they slept together on a one-off basis.
- Bionic Woman. After discovering her Mad Scientist fiancee has turned her into a bionic woman, Jaime Sommers decides to stop looking for Mr. Right and settle for Mr. Right Now. At that moment a handsome stranger catches her eye; Smash Cut to them making out in the toilet. Unfortunately, Jaime Does Not Know Her Own Strength and accidentally breaks one of his ribs in her enthusiasm, putting an abrupt end to events.
- On Bones Booth and Brennan's first time together is the night a colleague is murdered. Brennan's staying in Booth's apartment for safety's sake, and during the night, overcome with grief, Brennan comes to Booth's bed. He puts his arms around her as she cries, and you can guess the rest.
- On Boston Legal, Denise is in a relationship with a guy with cancer who subsequently dies. Afterwards, she confesses to Shirley that ever since then she's been feeling constantly horny. She ends up starting Friends with Benefits relationships with two guys simultaneously.
- The Boys
- In "Good For The Soul", a guilt-stricken Queen Maeve seeks this from her lesbian ex-girlfriend Elena, but she's still angry over being dumped for the celebrity life of a superhero and is trying to move on, so she rejects her advances. She does try to get Maeve to open up about what's bothering her, but Maeve Cannot Spit It Out (or is unwilling to risk her friend's life by doing so) and just leaves.
- Maeve later hooks up with Elena only to get dumped again. As she's bisexual she seeks solace with a handsome stud, infuriating Ashley when she walks in on them as the Vought publicity machine has marketed Queen Maeve as a lesbian to score diversity points.
- In Season 6, Buffy suffers from long-term depression after being taken from heaven back into the real world, and so engages in a Secret Relationship with bad-boy vampire Spike—who happens to be in love with her. Unfortunately, Buffy's guilt over using him only makes her feel worse and she eventually breaks off with him, causing Spike to seek solace in the arms of ex-demon Anya, who'd been recently left at the altar by Xander. The trope is directly name dropped by Anya in "Entropy", when she is confronted by Xander, as she states that the tryst was not an act of revenge but one of solace.
- When Buffy's mother dies, Angel does a Character Overlap in "Forever" just to comfort her, but has to leave early to prevent this trope from happening.
- In Californication, Hank's promiscuity is largely due to his inability to cope with the demise of his romantic relationship with Karen. Also applies somewhat to Charlie in later seasons, after his divorce from Marcy.
- Castle: After a very rough day, including a near-death encounter, a tense break-up with Castle, virtually being kicked off the force, and letting a good lead on her mother's killer get away, Beckett finally confesses her feelings for Castle and throws herself at him, at the end of the 4th season.
- CSI: NY:
- After a 10-yr old in his care is killed in a case of wrong place/wrong time, Danny and the boy's mother begin sleeping together as a way of comforting each other.
- After the death of a colleague, Stella and Adam have a one-night stand. Later at work as things are a bit awkward, they hastily agree that it must never, ever happen again.
- ER: Carol runs to Doug after being denied the chance to be a foster mother to an abandoned girl (because she tried to kill herself the previous year). She tries to kiss him, but he gently rebuffs her, knowing that she's seeking this trope (and among other things, she's engaged).
- Pretty much the central theme of Fleabag.
- Frasier: In "Room Service", Frasier's ex-wife Lilith shows up and reveals her new husband has just left her. Frasier immediately realises she's looking for him to console her, and while he's very tempted he resolves not to sleep with her. Lilith instead ends up in bed with Niles, who's currently going through his own torturous divorce from Maris.
Niles: We both know why this happened; last night was simply two wounded people overcome with loneliness, confusion and...
Lilith: Tequila shooters.
- Chandler and Monica's first liaison comes about as a result of Monica becoming depressed at Ross's wedding to Emily - his second - while she is still single. Add in a wedding guest thinking that Monica is Ross's mother and she's not feeling great about herself. When Chandler tells Monica how beautiful she is she throws herself at him, and while it at first looks to be a one-night stand the two of them can't wait to be back in each other's arms. It's the start of what many viewers consider the series' definitive relationship - and certainly its healthiest.
- Subverted in "The One Where Joey Speaks French" when, after Rachel's father has a heart attack, she turns to Ross for comfort and sex, although Ross rejects her. The next morning Rachel is annoyed as instead of being comforted she was left feeling "stupid and embarrassed".
Rachel: In the future, when a girl asks for some ill-advised sympathy sex... just do it.
- Gossip Girl's Chuck Bass. Blair does this as well. So far she has had sex for comfort at least four times.
- In the German soap opera Hand aufs Herz, Jenny assumes that she and Emma have broken up after having a fight, and Jenny sleeps with Ben for solace. Ben's also miserable about his love life at the time, making it a mutual thing.
- Thirteen from House slid into a downward spiral of partying and drunken one-night-stands with random chicks due to being unable to deal with her Huntington's disease.
- How I Met Your Mother: This is how Barney and Robin hook up. She was depressed over her high school boyfriend dumping her again (in the same situation, for the same girl, and for the same reason as the first time), and he made her feel better after she broke down crying. Coitus proceeded to ensue. Though a one-night stand at the time, he eventually sought to make it more than that.
- In the Knight Rider remake, Mike's Love Interest Sarah is grieving after the death of her father. Mike is trying to get her to return to work with him and KITT, but Sarah would rather lounge on the beach than face reality. Just as Mike, exasperated, is about to leave, she tells him she doesn't want to spend the night alone. Coitus Ensues. However, this isn't their first time (she was his girlfriend before he was shipped out to Iraq), and neither does it signal a renewed relationship.
- Lost: After seeing Jack flirting with Juliet, Kate goes straight to Sawyer and jumps him at his tent. He sees her subtly crying and puts two and two together but goes with it anyway.
- Mentioned the Lost Girl episode "Lachlan's Gambit". Lauren is grieving over Nadia's death and she even gives a scientific reason for this, but ultimately subverts it.
Lauren: Can I sleep with you?
Lauren: I just mean sleep. [Bo's face falls a little] In your arms?
Bo: ... yeah exactly.
- Subverted in Lucifer. Chloe tries this with Lucifer after Dan apparently breaks up with her via SMS. Lucifer surprises himself by not taking advantage of the fact that she is drunk.
- Happens in Season 6 of Mad Men where after helping Stan recover from a dart injury, Peggy receives a kiss from him and gently chides him for coming on to her ("You're lucky I don't like beards"), he then told her the reason he's been taking so much hard drugs: his cousin died in Vietnam, Peggy then voices she experienced loss and that one has to own that loss and not numb it with one-night stands and drugs, from her perspective it just seems he's still being his usual horny self (he gives a longing look at her when she walks away); she then discovers him having sex with the grieving hippie, teenage daughter of a late partner and disappointedly goes home.
- Miami Vice: After Zito's death in "Down for the Count," Trudy has sex with a man she hasn't seen in five years because she doesn't want to be alone. It doesn't make her feel any better.
- Nashville: A lot of characters experience emotional trauma and have sex to try to help with that, with sometimes disastrous results, as Juliette can attest to, as she has done things like sleep around, drink, and jump off the slippery slope when her sometimes traumatic life becomes too much to bear.
- New Girl: Jess's new roommates decide that the first order of business is to help her find a man to use for a rebound, for which they give her extensive coaching.
- Orange Is the New Black: Numerous people in the show are hurting something fierce, owed in part to the prison setting and the drama experienced there, or just how much some of the characters lives sucked out of prison, and they long for love and touch from another person. Piper herself says she can't survive in prison and life without having someone to love and hold, and switches back and forth between sex with her male fiance, her one time girlfriend Stella, and her past girlfriend Alex, who she does actually end up with at the end. She wonders if Prison compels her to act like a worse version of herself by relentlessly on and off pursuing people she cares about and developing sadistic tendencies, or if she was always that way. Also, after Alex is essentially dumped by Piper for her original fiance; she immediately goes to Nicky for some sexual solace. Nicky also seeks out girls for sex to help with her personal issues, and she is a Hopeless Suitor for the straight Morella so her unrequited feelings cause her pain which she seeks to numb through relationships with other girls. Another flashback in season 5 had Alex drowning her sorrows over her love pain with Piper when the latter broke her heart. A Frenchman sits at the bar next to her and recounts his own love pain: his wife slept with multiple people and then married one of them and in response, he drinks heavily and sleeps with many women to try to forget the love pain. Although as he says talking about it and hearing about other people's love pain helps.
- The Punisher (2017). Dinah Madani is at home suffering from depression after her partner is killed due to an operation she planned, so she makes immediate advances on her boyfriend Billy Russo when he comes round. Even though he's portrayed as The Casanova Billy turns her down, saying sex is not going to make her problems go away.
- Averted with a lampshade on an episode of Remington Steele. After Remington comforts Laura in the aftermath of a personal tragedy, in which this trope does not occur, Laura comments on what might have happened. Remington, a gentleman rogue, finds the notion of them ending their UST that way offensive.
- Implied in the Roseanne revival, where it's noted that Becky has had a lot of flings since Mark died, but no real relationships, since she's never found anybody she likes as much as him. After the episode "Eggs Over, Not Easy" she seems to be trying to get over this.
- Scoundrels (2010):
Tanya: I know you have a lot on your mind, but I did want to mention that I'm currently single, and I wanted you to know that I'm here for you, to comfort you in any way you need comforting morning, noon, night, the morning after!
- Tanya rather desperately offers this to Cal after Billy's death, but he's not interested.
Hope: Don't people do this sort of thing at funerals to, you know, affirm life?
- Hope uses this as an excuse when she kissed Tad for the first time.
- In Smallville, this is how both of Chloe's sexual relationships and eventually (dubious) marriages start. In season two, she had a (off-screen) summer fling with Jimmy after she broke up with Clark, and in season nine, is Strangled by the Red String with Oliver once Jimmy died.
- Star Trek: Picard: In "The Impossible Box", after murdering Maddox, Jurati sleeps with Rios, although he naturally thinks it's because she's upset about her ex-boyfriend's death.
- Supernatural: Dean and Sam have had flings and relationships that ended badly due to their hunting lifestyle. It's implied to be because of their lifestyle (they are constantly on the move and in danger), why they seek out sex with women so much and to feel validated.
- Ruby kisses Sam when he is at his lowest and most vulnerable point in the wake of Dean's death, to prove to him that he still has her, at least. He tries to put some distance between them and rebukes her, but she keeps pushing it until he gives in, kisses her back (rather desperately), and has violent, desperate, hair-pulling sex with her. Rather than this showing two people coming together for comfort, it just goes to show how Sam has hit rock-bottom after Dean died. Sera Gamble even compared it to self-mutilating and calling it getting dressed for the prom.
- Switched at Birth: Emmett is completely hysterical about his father giving up custodial rights, and is incredibly angry at his girlfriend Bay for interfering. Simone, meanwhile, is bummed out about her basketball tournament loss and her boyfriend Toby not trusting her. Both Emmett and Simone are out of town and coincidentally staying at the same hotel, and run into each other at the ice machine. She invites him to her room, and you can guess the rest.
- On That '70s Show, Donna's parents go through a long period of strain before her mom suddenly up and moves across the country. Immediately after, Donna has sex (twice) with Eric, her ex-boyfriend/now-platonic-friends-no-really. It turns out to be kind of a bummer for Eric, who thought this meant that she actually wanted to get back together with him.
- Cold Chisel's "Khe Sanh" describes a Vietnam War veteran suffering from PTSD, who engages in this.
- Halsey's song "Strangers" is about a romance she had while trying to get over a long-term relationship. Ironically, the bridge makes it clear that both girls feel more than just this, but won't admit it because they both think the other doesn't care.
- We're not lovers, we're just strangers with the same damn hunger to be touched, to be loved, to feel anything at all.
- On the same album, "I find myself alone at night, unless I'm having sex" from "100 Letters" implies this.
- "Out in the Cold" by Judas Priest is this trope incarnate.
- Although it has a legacy of being one of the sauciest songs ever made, "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails is a brutal deconstruction of this trope if taken in the album's context, and describes how one must be thoroughly broken emotionally and have an overwhelmingly negative view of themselves to indulge in this. Overall, it's far more an Obsession Song than an Intercourse with You type of song.
- The theme appears in several songs off Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens, most notably in "No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross":
- Like a champion, get drunk to get laid.
- The Vaccines' song Post Break-Up Sex.
I can barely look at youDon't tell me who you lost it toDidn't we say we had a deal?Didn't I say how bad I'd feel?
- Tove Lo's "Habits (Stay High)" is about a self-destructive way of getting over one. Amongst the various ways to do so is this trope.
- In Emmy The Great's "Edward Is Dedward", she hooks up with a friend after the titular Edward's funeral... in Edward's bed. Apparently Edward is a real friend of hers, but not really dead. That sure is a good way of putting a guy off ever dying.
- In Lady Windermere's Fan, Lady Windermere, mistakenly thinking her husband is cheating on her, resolves in a moment of despair to go to her other lover, Lord Darlington.
- Miss Saigon. Chris grabs his wife Ellen and kisses her passionately, having just awakened from a nightmare about his lost love Kim. It's not hard to imagine that he's trying to invoke this trope.
- A Streetcar Named Desire: Immediately following the event of her husband committing suicide after she told him that he disgusted her because she had found him in bed with a man, Blanche was subjected to a series of deaths in her family and the ultimate loss of the ancestral home. They illustrated the ugliness and brutality of life. To escape from these brutalities and to escape from the lonely void created by her young husband's death, Blanche turned to alcohol and sexual promiscuity. She had an affair with a student at a school where she was a teacher. It is why she lost her job.
- In Heavy Rain, Ethan can have an Optional Sexual Encounter with Madison when he is approaching the Despair Event Horizon over the events of the game. It's actually Sex For Solace for her respect as well, as she's been attacked by a serial killer and nearly raped at gunpoint during the preceding day.
- In Mass Effect 2 the option to have a one-night stand with Jack can unlock for a male Shepard right after Horizon with some careful timing. Why is this considered solace? Because you could potentially get dumped by Ashley on Horizon, probably even in Jack's presence.
- Additionally, Jack is not the most emotionally stable and has a past of sexual abuse and emotional manipulation so it can be seen as solace from her end as well. This is a stark contrast to the Paragon version of the culmination of her romance path, which the hottest action the player can get is cuddling as a price of an emotionally-charged scene that features how much Jack tears down her barriers to show how she cares for Shepard.
- In Mass Effect 3, by the end, Shepard is having frequent nightmares and is visibly worn down. Shepard's sex scene before the final mission can be seen as this.
- In Fallout 4, the Sole Survivor's husband/wife is murdered in the introduction to the game, and they are clearly emotionally distraught by this. They can later romance and sleep with one or more of their companions, which can come off as this, especially since several of the dialogue options can have the Survivor still be emotionally shaken and grieving over their spouse's death.
- After the protagonist of Daughter for Dessert hears about Amandas attraction to him from Kathy, he tells her what hes heard, and promises to help her explore what they discovered about each other. Then, they make love. Justified, since Amanda already came on to him before.
- Played with in a few instances in Double Homework:
- In the protagonists and Tamaras relationship, the Barbarossa incident is hinted at (and sometimes more than that) in binding the two of them together.
- With the protagonist and Rachel, the familiarity of it is something that the former can bring over from his former life before the Barbarossa incident.
- Ms. Walsh seeks out sex, first with Jailson Mendes, whom she meets online and then openly with the protagonist, to deal with her dissatisfaction with her job.
- In Katawa Shoujo, Misha tries to seduce her best friend Shizune's boyfriend Hisao because she's depressed and looking for comfort over the fact that she loves Shizune and knows she can never have her (while Shizune and Hisao have already had Their First Time). The self-contradiction here should tell you why "comforting" her is a terrible idea. Even worse, the sexual act is very painful for Misha. They don't get caught, but they both fall into depression over the guilt of betraying Shizune. Topping it off, choosing to comfort her triggers the route's Bad Ending.
- The protagonist and Isabella can have sex to get over their respective breakups. Lampshaded by Isabella when she says that neither of them is in the best place right now.
- Melody, right after her breakup with Steve (and he kept her prized guitar), had sex with Sophia.
- Ménage à 3: Matt demonstrates a slightly unusual variant on several occasions. He usually sleeps around on a whim without regard for how his actions affect others. However, he does sometimes fall for his partners, notably Kiley, and when those relationships break up he can seem genuinely heartbroken. But his response to such heartbreak seems to be to have sex with someone else, for solace. The seriousness of his feelings for Kiley can be measured by the fact that he gets some partners (male and female) to wear a wig resembling Kiley's hair.
- Referenced and averted in Questionable Content, after Dora breaks up with Marten
Sven: Oh, and if you need some meaningless rebound sex, I know TONS of slutty chicks who'll—
Marten: OKAY THANK YOU BYE!
- In Sequential Art, Hillary, sobbing, says she's not asking for much, just some sympathy -- cut to the two characters in bed.
- Subnormality has "A Christmas Eve in the Future", in which a man walks into a Sex Stop ("Serving all genders since 2130!") looking for this.
- The 503: Averted when Shellie backs away from a kiss with Phil after learning about the death of his girlfriend three years ago in Strip 189.
- Ship In a Bottle: Reversed. While the fact that she was a seductive buck-naked genie seemed to be all the incentive Allan needed to sleep with Shiphrah in the first issue, he was quick to blame the encounter on his grief about his recently-deceased grampa in the immediate aftermath, as an excuse to back out of a relationship with her.
- In Something*Positive, Davan's old friend Scotty kills himself when his longtime off-and-on girlfriend, Donna, breaks up with him. Donna feels guilty and thinks everyone else blames her, Davan was also mourning and assures her that it wasn't her fault, and, well When they meet again a few years later, Davan winds up having to take a Daddy DNA Test.
- From the 10 Commandments for Pilots:
Thou shalt cast thine eyes to thy right and also to thy left as thou passeth through the firmament lest thy fellow pilots bring flowers to thy widow and comfort her in other ways.
- Family Guy has Quagmire, who constantly sleeps around after losing his chances with The One That Got Away.
- In the Futurama episode, "The Beast With A Billion Backs", Zapp manages to manipulate Amy into having sex with him after Kif dies. This is made even worse when Kif comes back to life and finds out.
Kif: Perhaps you should see the meaning of "Fon-fon-ru!" It means "one who doesn't sleep with my superior officer!" That's the literal translation!
- In an episode of Archer, Lana had sex with the eponymous protagonist after he asked for it because Archer learned he had cancer.
- In the second season finale Archer's fiance Katya sacrifices herself to try and take out Barry (who survives). The third season opens with Archer having run away to, as his mother puts it, "grief-bang the entire Pacific Rim". Archer shamelessly admits that his tragic story turned out to be extremely useful for getting women into bed with him.