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Stupid Sexy Friend

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"She is in that nightdress again—the white one that she has long outgrown and that barely reaches her thighs. How I wish she wouldn’t walk around in that thing; how I wish her copper hair wasn’t so long and shiny; how I wish she didn’t have those eyes, that she wouldn’t just wander in uninvited."

Sometimes a character really does want to just be friends with another; at least as far as conscious decisions go, but the sexual attraction and sexual thoughts persist.

Maybe something about the friend, whether appearance or personality or whatever else, just seems sexy. Perhaps the character is so dirty-minded by their very nature that they just have sexual thoughts anyway. Whatever the case, the lust conflicts with the friendship, no matter how hard they try to conceal the former.

Compare and contrast with I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship. The difference lies in the reaction of the character feeling the romantic/sexual feelings (and, in many cases, the former relationship between the two): if they're creeped out by their sudden attraction to the person they had always considered a brother/sister, it's this trope; if they're worried that admitting their feelings to someone with whom they've been Just Friends will cause drama or change a group dynamic, it's I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship.

Compare Stupid Sexy Flanders (of which this is a snowclone), as it reflects on a similar conflict between the sexual thoughts one has and consciously thinking one shouldn't have such sexual thoughts. Compare and contrast Friends with Benefits, one solution to this problem if it's mutual. Also see Inconvenient Attraction.

Truth in Television, of course. After all, it's considered normal to lust after someone you don't know, as opposed to a close friend (that you do know).


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    Fan Works 
  • While Carol and Harry are pretty firm about being Just Friends in Child of the Storm, there are persistent mild shippy undertones to their friendship, and it's implied that while Harry's fairly new to the whole sexual attraction thing (he's thirteen when the story starts), he wouldn't mind if they got a Relationship Upgrade, and Carol reciprocates. As it is, however, he seems equally happy with being Just Friends, since Carol has about two actual guy friends who aren't trying to get in her pants and very few friends full stop. In the sequel, as they both get older, the feelings become more and more obvious, and more and more intense, with remaining Just Friends being both to protect their friendship and for the more serious reason that given their psychological states it would be horribly codependent. In chapter 46 of the sequel, with most of their issues sorted or at least manageable, they end up getting together.
  • Shirou in the Fate/stay night and Persona 4 crossover Fate/Reach Out gives this reaction many a time. A very notable scene is when after the school camp out event, the Investigation Team decides to go swimming. Shirou, who is noted to have a very fit but easily hidden physique stripping to his swim trunks causes everyone, even Yosuke, to just stare.
  • In Storm on the Horizon, Aloy feels quite conflicted about her growing feelings for Max, and tries to push them aside just as she did her attraction to Talanah and Vanasha. Their brief fling only makes it worse.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • A lesbian example of the trope occurs in Killswitch, the third book in the Cassandra Kresnov trilogy by Joel Shepherd. The titular android's bisexual best friend admits to having fallen in love with Cassandra, but the latter is straight and the friend doesn't want to affect their working and non-working relationships.
  • Between Lila and her Captain, Alucard in A Darker Shade of Magic, judging by his nearly successful attempt to seduce her for information.
    Lila: You sure know how to make a girl feel special.
    Alucard: I thought I was in trouble precisely for making you feel special.
  • At the beginning of Dora Wilk Series, Dora tries to keep things friendly between her and Miron, but both have rather sexual thoughts of one another. The problem here is mostly that Dora, as a succubus expy, is used to people lusting after her because of her powers and thus thinks that her relationship with Miron would be result of magic rather than actual attraction. They do get together in the third book.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • This is part of the relationship between Harry Dresden and Molly Carpenter. He doesn't reciprocate her feelings towards him (partly because he feels it would be creepy to do so, given that he's known Molly since she was a child, partly because her father is the big brother/cool uncle he never had), but still finds her physically attractive. She, on the other hand, is carrying a torch for him the rough size of an apartment building (though granted, a later short story implies that she's finally developed more of a Like Brother and Sister-style dynamic with him). Understandably, awkwardness ensues.
    • Something similar exists between Harry and Karrin Murphy, as they have been close colleagues since the first book and gradually getting closer in other ways, while both are aware that the complications of a relationship would be dangerous for both of them. At the end of Skin Game, Harry and Murphy get together.
  • A tragic sibling example in Flowers in the Attic. Chris and Cathy Dollanganger might be brother and sister, but for plot-driven reasons each is the only teenager the other ever sees. Puberty and the stresses of their ongoing forced confinement do the rest, and the result is a torrid scene in which he takes her forcibly with a highly questionable degree of consent. He explicitly apologizes afterwards for raping her and is devastated by what he's just done; she rationalizes it even while it's happening ("I wanted what he wanted, right or wrong.") and tells him she could have stopped him if she'd wanted to.
  • The Kharkanas Trilogy: invoked The cousin version. Faror Hend struggles with her lustful feelings towards her younger cousin Spinnock Durav, who in turn thinks he can act freely around her as she is his cousin and thus in no danger of misunderstanding his smiles and flirty remarks. He is suitably squicked when she confronts him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • For a brief period Angel's feelings towards Cordelia are this, with him sort of horrified that he does feel something romantic for her when previously they were like family. By the time he gets over it there's other issues preventing them getting together... not that there weren't already.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • This is pretty much how Xander feels about Buffy after he gets past being outright attracted to her and too inept to say so.
    • Willow finally gets together with Xander... when they're both with other people.
  • In Community, Jeff and Annie often fall into this territory. They're pretty much the Official Couple by this point, but the age difference and nature of the relationship so far has made them both feel somewhat squicky about the idea of hooking up, despite how much they both seem to want to hook up.
  • In Doctor Who, the Eleventh Doctor and Clara have problems with this towards each other, due to some minor Unresolved Sexual Tension between both of them. (They both insist on only being friends, as much as they like each other.) The trope is more prominent on the Doctor's side and usually Played for Laughs, while Clara off-handedly mentions once (while alone) that she has to keep herself in check and not develop a crush on him. Later, though she's not attracted to the older-looking Twelfth Doctor, she still makes a cheeky compliment about his handsome looks and charismatic voice, much to his annoyance.
  • The Good Place: Eleanor has this kind of relationship with Jason. While she's repeatedly noted that he's quite easy on the eyes, she also makes sure to squash her lusty thoughts as soon as they pop up since they're otherwise Like Brother and Sister along with both of them being seriously involved with other people (Chidi & Eleanor and Jason & Tahani/Janet).
  • All three of the male roommates on New Girl have had moments like this with their female roommate Jess. This is especially the case for Nick, who has some serious Unresolved Sexual Tension with her.
  • On NCIS: Los Angeles: It's a quick moment, but it's there. When Kensi is compelled to do a quick change in clothes in the middle of an undercover op, Callen's eyes widen. Then he politely looks away.
  • Schitt's Creek: This becomes a thing for David and Stevie after their Friends with Benefits arrangement ends. In early seasons, David takes notice of her when she dresses up, and they even try a kiss to rekindle the relationship, which turns out badly. Any residual tension pretty much ends when David meets Patrick, but the pair have a few wistful moments of what might have been in the episode where Stevie learns of David and Patrick's engagement.
  • Stranger Things: Robin comes out as a lesbian to Steve, who has feelings for her but nevertheless reaffirms their friendship. Eight months later, while trying to explain their relationship to Nancy, Steve admits that he would still date Robin, while stopping short of elaborating that he can't because of their Incompatible Orientation and not necessarily from a lack of feelings on his part.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Little Busters!, if you choose to stay with the guys rather than go with the girls on their sleepover, they end up conversing about love and when Riki is evasive, Masato jokes that he has a crush on Kyousuke. If you choose to lie, Riki admits mentally that he does, but denies it because he doesn't want to ruin their friendship. Then when he asks Kyousuke who he likes, Kyousuke replies 'right now, Riki is my number one', causing Riki to blush heavily. However, he berates himself for thinking that way, stating that indecent thoughts like that are desecrating their friendship. Immediately afterwards Kyousuke asks him "Wanna do it?" referring, of course, to playing tabletop baseball.
    Riki: Uooooh, what a misunderstanding I just had!! It's a desecration of our friendship... God of friendship, forgive me...
  • In Morenatsu, it's revealed that Shin feels this way about you, which makes his self-conscious issues even more frustrating for him.

    Web Comics 
  • In All New Issues, Todd and Robyn look like they're almost going to kiss, and then this trope kicks in. In fact, they're the trope image.
  • In Sunstone, Anne reading Lisa's bibliography of self-starring kinky erotica served as a good way to explore her interest in BDSM, but also, to Anne's annoyance, a good way to explore an interest in Lisa.
  • El Goonish Shive: Outside the actual romantic relationships, the main characters feel physical attraction to each other and generally consider such attraction an inconvenience, if they manage to acknowledge them to begin with:
    • A common occurrence with Elliot and Tedd is that they feel attracted to each other when one or both are female, more rarely when both are male.
    • Susan is attracted to both Justin and Elliot, and acknowledges this, but doesn't want to even consider acting on it.
    • Justin once demonstrated an attraction to Tedd when he showed up at the comic shop with a new look, which made him decide he really needs to find a boyfriend.
    • Sarah is attracted to Grace but vehemently calls herself at most a 1 on the Kinsey scale and is in denial about her attraction.
    • Sarah still lusts after Elliot even though she's no longer interested in being Elliot's girlfriend anymore.
    • Ashley struggles with attraction to Grace after a discussion about semi-erotic fiction Ashley was writing. Ashley gets so wound-up that she immediately and enthusiastically kisses her boyfriend as soon as he shows himself to deal with the attraction.

    Western Animation 
  • Linda to Francine in American Dad! What makes this more tragic is Linda is unaware that Francine is bi and doesn't seem to consider lesbian affairs as cheating.
  • Fish Police:
    • Detective Gil is happily in a relationship with diner waitress Pearl and doesn't want to be anything but good friends with Angel. The problem is that Angel is a blonde bombshell who is widely regarded as the most beautiful woman in town, who unlike Gil 'does' want to be something more with him. Despite his insistence that they're just friends, Gil can't help but make frequent inner monologues about how beautiful Angel is.
    • Pearl also counts Angel as a friend. Though Angel seems more invested in being Pearl's friend than the other way around. The problem is that Pearl is aware that her boyfriend is physically attracted to Angel (because most guys in the city are) and that Angel has feelings for Gil. She swings between jealousy towards Angel and anger at Gil.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Despite canonically having crushes on other people, both Star and Marco each show an awkward physical attraction to the other at different points. Perhaps inevitably, Season 2 has Star develop a complicated crush on Marco that even she isn't really aware of at first. Then in Season 3, just as Star is trying to get over Marco, Marco realizes he's got a crush on Star. In Season 4, they finally step aside and talk to each other openly about their feelings, and officially become a couple just before the series finale.


Video Example(s):


Is it my voice?

Yosuke has a... moment... during the school festival group date.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / StupidSexyFlanders

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