Sometimes, a man doesn't want to have an erection. Either it's potentially physically hazardous, or there's a beautiful woman who he actually wants to spend time with and turning up with an obvious case of wood might not help (or both). It could be that he's just embarrassed to be seen in public that way. And sometimes, a man might be in the act, so to speak, and in need of some way to delay the inevitable.
Either way, the solution is the same: to conjure up some image in the brain that draws attention away from the contents of the pants. Such an image is either hilariously mundane or hilariously horrific. In American media, the former option often takes the form "think about baseball!"note
Someone in a Transparent Closet might try thinking of someone of the same gender; because of course thinking about the same gender would not result in a positive reaction for a heterosexual person like themselves. For some reason, this doesn't work.
- In Infinite Stratos, Ichika finds himself in a changing room with Charlotte, after she pulled him in both to hide from the other girls following them, as well as to show him the outfit she planned to wear at the beach. With his back turned to her, as he hears her undressing, he forces himself to recite Pi in order to get his mind off thinking about her naked body. It eventually works, but a few moments later they get caught...by his older sister and homeroom teacher.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed is with Winry and trying not to think of the time Hawkeye teased him about being in love with her, and starts spouting out the periodic table.
- In one chapter of A.I. Love You, Hitoshi has been forced into a pair of underwear that will slap him in the crotch whenever he stirs and will explode if it reaches thirty slaps. He tries to avoid getting whacked by thinking about male bodybuilders... while peeking in on the girls' locker room. (Un)fortunately, he loses focus for a second, the underwear slaps him, and the sound alerts the girls, who beat him up.
- In the dub of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, when Brief has to avoid ejaculating or he'll unleash the Sealed Evil in a Can, he starts yelling "Dead puppies and grandma! Dead puppies and grandma!"
- Early in his career, Woody Allen told a story in a stand-up routine where he thought about baseball to "prolong the moment of ecstasy". He got so caught up in his imaginary baseball game that he didn't even realize for a while that the woman already left.
- Rudi: Rudi does this one time at a nude beach. Problem is that everything he tries to think of only makes him hornier. ("Square root of 4761 makes... 69! Shit, maths is too perverted!") Then, when he finally manages to get his Raging Stiffie under control (by thinking about cancer) — a pissed-off wasp stings him several times in a male body part, making things even worse.
- In a Batman story, Robin and Batgirl get trapped inside a safe together, and with the characters so tightly packed in with each other, Batgirl's Sensual Spandex is giving Robin a boner and he is repeating to himself "think clean thoughts, think clean thoughts..." while Batman uses a metal cutting beam to get them out.
- Axis Powers Hetalia fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Let's just say Germany and Japan were really trying to think unsexy thoughts when Italy was showing them the David statue; they didn't want to reveal they were thinking of Italy as the youth in the nude!
- Neon Genesis Evangelion fics:
- Evangelion 303: Female variant. In chapter 17 the female cast is holding a bachelorette party in a male strip club, and Asuka is trying to think of something else in order to not get too horny and do something stupid... so she starts thinking of her best friend getting married to "that monkey-faced brute" Touji Suzuhara (whom she cannot stand).
- It Can't Get Worse: Shinji tries to summon this. He then decides he went too far with it and stops. What did he think of? His father in a thong.
- Once More with Feeling: Invoked by Shinji during the fight against Gaghiel. To distract himself from Asuka's chest touching his back, he conjures up the picture of Gendo in a one-piece and instantly regrets it.
- In chapter 23 of Children of an Elder God, Shinji is trying to keep his hormones under control, so he makes himself think of his father, hoping that the mental image will turn him off.
- A Pirates of the Caribbean fanfic has Will using the "Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day" version after a Parody Sue gives him a love potion. He has to spend a lot of time chanting, but it works. Jack, his fellow captive, has no idea who he's talking about but is impressed all the same.
- Ranma ½ fics:
- A fanfic has a bit more of a PG version. After being challenged by Akane to not blush no matter what she does to him, Ranma tries to prevent himself from blushing by imagining Cologne in a string bikini.
- A lemon has Ranma think about martial arts and mentally go through several katas in order to not come before Akane.
- A comedy fic of The X-Files has Mulder in the middle of a meeting and daydreaming when he sees Scully eating a banana and his imagination starts generating some very NSFW daydreams. He excuses himself to the bathroom and goes through a variety of possibilities (baseball, some of the cases he worked), until his thought process stumbles on the idea of the Cigarette Smoking Man naked. Mulder is relieved not be turned on anymore, but really wants to wash the mental image away with a beer.
- In Fever Dreams when L lets Light back into his presence, Light has to work hard on focusing on the murder case L has given him instead of on L.
- Harry Potter fics:
Dean: Think unsexy thoughts! Think unsexy thoughts! Um, crap. Uh, McGonagall getting it on with Dumbledore.
- There is an old fanfic called How to Warm up a Frigid Valentine where Harry and Ginny get stranded with wet clothes and no wands in a rickety old cabin in the middle of a snowstorm and have to share a bed naked to keep each other warm. When Harry wakes up at one point to find that Ginny has unconsciously cuddled up to him in her sleep, he starts rather desperately trying to think of a potions recipe to recite, in order to keep his mind off their situation. The first potion that finally pops into his head? The Shrinking Solution.
- In Heart and Soul Hermione's father uses the Margaret Thatcher version to curb his reaction to an over-intimate Veela on a nude beach.
- In Haunted Jaded Eyes Snape thinks of disgusting potion ingredients when he starts lusting after Harry.
- In Still I Rise Harry thinks of a naked Snape, Filch, and Dumbledore after seeing Hermione in a wet school blouse.
- In Harry Potter - Three to Backstep Harry deals with fantasies of Hermione and Daphne naked by thinking of a naked Dolores Umbridge.
- In Harry Potter and Grief's Wisdom Harry banishes fantasies of a threesome with Hermione and Luna by thinking of his aunt in a towel.
- In Arx Domus Nigrae Sirius tries to banish thoughts of Hermione in lingerie by mentally reciting Arithmancy tables.
- In Better Late Than Never Harry deals with a wet dream about Draco by thinking of Mrs. Weasley in a bikini.
- The Artist and the Savior:
Harry: Umbridge naked dancing. Dumbledore shagging a troll. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Ver- oh, that's just sick.Harry: No! Stop it. Think about something else. Think about Snape. Eurgh. Snape and Umbridge; in tutus. Hrrk.
- In Grey Is Better Harry thinks of Snape having sex with Umbridge after walking in on a partially-dressed Hermione.
- Violence Inherent in the System:
Harry felt a slight stirring in his crotch, but concentrated on images of Umbridge in a bikini... with a riding crop... spanking Mr. Filch... yeah, that worked.Shit, fuck, god-dammit, son of a—he was going to come in his pants and embarrass himself completely. Shit. Hagrid's pajamas, Flobberworms, Cornelius Fudge, Aunt Petunia's knickers.[Blaise] wracked his brain to think of something disgusting enough to get his erection to go down...ah, he had it...Snape and Dumbledore, together and naked. Ugh!He supposed another reason it was so strange was because of how arousing he found the image. Regulus looked poised and focused, holding a deadly weapon and standing proud and dangerous. Harry kept having to think of dead puppies to stop his body from reacting. Getting an erection while wearing thin trousers was not going to go down well.
- In A Collection of Harmonious OneShots Hermione, fed up with Harry's comment that he loves her like a sister, ties him to a bed and then strips.
Harry turned his head and looked at her over his shoulder. "Sorry," he said again, his voice sounding gruff and deep. He tried to think of the least arousing thing in the world...Snape in his underpants...Snape in a dress...Mundungus Fletcher kissing Snape in a dress...
- In 17, Clumsy and Shy Harry gets an erection when Ginny lands on him after falling off a ladder.
- Happens a couple of times in Serendipitous Fate with Adrien, with thoughts such as his father in a Speedo and kittens which may or may not be dead. Results in a hilarious Digging Yourself Deeper exchange with Marinette when she asks what he's thinking about.
- In Captain Proton and the Planet of Lesbians, Buster Kincaid is faced with twin scantily-dressed Hot Scientists intent on using him as a Glorified Sperm Donor for their Lady Land society. He tries a Survival Mantra ("I must drink beer, beer is the mind killer..."), the procedure for assembling a Class IV Rocket Engine ("Insert the long tribanium rod into the moist cunt...I mean the Moise-Carver termination socket. Do not attempt to force the rod if it becomes stuck, but instead come, I mean coat the rod in ejaculate...ejection lubricant in order to ease its passage into the tight hole...") and then:
"The President of Earth naked!" babbled Buster. "The cold depths of space, ahhh...the Giant Toothed Vagina of Freudian Nightmares! The Slime-Dripping Sludge Monster of Stenchia III!"
- In My Huntsman Academia, Izuku accidentally ropes himself into a game of romantic chicken with Yang. She uses every trick in the book to get him to fold, including leaning forward so he could stare straight at her Cleavage Window. He desperately tries to think of everything cold he can to keep it down.
Yang: [leaning on a restaurant table seductively] Don't be so stressed Iz-u-ku~ After all, you've taken me out to someplace fancy... you're allowed to look~.
Izuku: [looking anywhere but at her] Cold thoughts Izuku, cold thoughts. Ice cubes, cold showers, Mountain Glenn winter. Going skiing on the top of the mountain and then tumbling down a good way through all that snow. Cold thoughts, cold thoughts, cold thoughts...
- Austin Powers combines this with a Survival Mantra: "Baseball, cold showers. Baseball, cold showers." Then, after things escalate a bit: "MARGARET THATCHER NAKED ON A COLD DAY! MARGARET THATCHER NAKED ON A COLD DAY!"
- In Closely Watched Trains, a Czech film that oscillates between sex comedy and La Résistance thriller, the protagonist is a young man who is suicidally depressed after he prematurely ejaculated on the big night with his girlfriend. The doctor advises him to think about football to slow things down.
- In the Steve Martin movie All of Me, a woman is stuck in the body of the main character. He wants to sleep with another female character, but his "roommate" objects and starts filling his head with images of dead kittens and old nuns.
- The title character of Blankman routinely goes into... convulsions... when kissed or otherwise aroused. "Think about math..."
- Margaret Thatcher again serves as anti-erection fodder in Bedrooms and Hallways, where Leo, a gay man, is convinced to sit in a sauna with the fellow (straight) members of his support group.
- In the movie The Couch Trip John Burns, who is posing as a psychiatrist, recommends thinking of transmission repair for this purpose. Unfortunately, his description of taking apart a transmission, though he doesn't seem to realize or intend it, does not exactly qualify as unsexy. Observe.
- Night Moves: When main character Harry Moseby is asked why he doesn't respond to a teenager's clumsy attempts to be sexy, he jokingly responds that he thinks about things like "George Washington's teeth."
- In The Mansion, Djamal encounters a vintage porno mag and then attempts to think of unsexy things because he knows his erection will keep him from being able to move quickly. He fails.
- A Running Gag in Bubble Boy is Jimmy reciting the Pledge of Allegiance any time he gets an erection and repeating it until it goes away, as his hyper-fundamentalist mother had taught him to do. This includes when his crush gets a little too close to him while teaching him to play guitar and, much later, when mud wrestling two bikini-clad women.
- Dave Barry:
- In Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys, Barry includes advice for men on how to delay their orgasms and suggests thinking of Margaret Thatcher, or, in extreme cases, Rush Limbaugh in a thong.
- In another, he mentions a technique devised by a friend of his, wherein the man and the woman are having sex, and the guy's dog comes to investigate, and cheerfully shoves its subzero nose in an area the guy would really not like to feel cold in.
- In the novel Choke, the protagonist thinks of corpses and other disgusting things to avoid early ejaculation.
- Discworld: In Going Postal, Moist von Lipwig finds himself in this mindset regarding Adora Belle Dearheart. "He'd get another chance to be smiled at by Miss Dearheart — think about Golems! Golems, golems, golems!"
- Heralds of Valdemar: Early in the Mage Winds trilogy, Darkwind rescues a woman who he finds sexually attractive, but who he thinks may be a Honey Trap. (She is.) To counter his physical response to her, he concentrates on the monthly chore of scrubbing out the reservoir in his privy.
- In Stephen King's It, Tom Rogan thinks of "White Sox batting averages or who was trying to undercut him for the Chesley account at work" for the same reason.
- The Parasol Protectorate: Soulless has two instances:
- Lord Maccon tries to get himself under control regarding Alexia.
He was sure his control was around somewhere if he could simply find it. He tore his eyes away from the tops of those remarkable breasts of hers and tried to think unpleasant thoughts of particularly horrible things, like overcooked vegetables and cut-rate wine.
- Later, Alexia is locked in a cell with Lord Maccon by the villains, and due to her status as a Power Nullifier and it being full Moon, she has to hold on to him so he stays in human form, and when she really notices that he's naked...
He did not seem particularly perturbed by this fact, but Miss Tarabotti felt the sudden need to close her eyes tight and think about asparagus or something equally mundane.
- Lord Maccon tries to get himself under control regarding Alexia.
- In Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball, author Joe Peta recalls a college friend who pictured baseball star Roberto Clemente when he wanted to slow himself down. Peta mortified him in a social setting by saying his pal had to imagine Clemente while having sex, to which another fellow asked "Batting or fielding?"
- Boy Meets World: In "The Last Temptation of Cory", Cory mutters the words "lunchroom lady" to get him to stop thinking about a pretty girl who is trying to seduce him away from Topanga.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "Earshot" had Buffy acquiring uncontrollable telepathy after killing a demon who has the power. Xander freaks out when he learns about this, because of his usual train of thought, and tries desperately to deter it:
Xander: 4 times 5 is 30. 5 times 6 is 32. Naked women. Naked Buffy. Help!
- Dollhouse: In "Needs", several Actives wake up in their sleeping chambers with their original personalities before they were mind-wiped, but no memory of how they got there. So they have to pretend to be the mind-wiped Actives while they work out how to escape; unfortunately, this means going into the co-ed showers. Victor plays the baseball flavor of this trope straight and out loud, reciting the Mets roster by fielding position after catching a glimpse of incredibly hot Sierra all wet and naked.
- Farscape: In "Coup By Clam", D'Argo becomes mentally linked to Noranti, who starts stimulating herself, causing an identical reaction in D'Argo, who doesn't enjoy it as much as you'd think.
Aeryn: Come on D'Argo. Just fight it.
John: Dee, think about baseball. Math. Isosceles triangle. Rusty... razor blades. Gravel. [hint: it doesn't work]
- The Flash (2014): In "The Nuclear Man", Barry Allen is advised to think about dead puppies and baseball in order to avoid being the Fastest Man Alive during his date with Linda Park.
- Frasier and Kate Costas are trying to get over their mutual lust after their affair nearly loses them their jobs. Attempting to avoid the press by taking a service elevator, they get stuck and soon discover the elevator is full of the belongings of a romance novelist who's moving house, and a few accidents later they're in a mood-lit compartment with sultry posters on the walls, reeking of spilt musk oil, and with a double mattress taking up most of the floor.
- Niles' advice to Frasier when he's trying to resist Lilith;
Niles: Remember the summer we were at Uncle Henry's farm, we found that dead horse, lying in the hot sun, crawling with maggots? Hold on to that picture! You can ride that horse to safety!
Frasier: Thank you, Niles. You know, that might just do the trick. When it comes to an ugly image, you can't beat a dead horse.
- In an episode when Niles was desperate for sex, Daphne makes one of her typical Innocent Innuendo remarks that sends Niles' mind off to fantasy land. Frasier brings him back down to Earth with the phrase "Grandma in a teddy."
- In an episode, Joey mentions "baseball, or sandwiches, or... Chandler" as things he thinks of to keep himself from getting too "excited". Phoebe tries to follow his advice when she has to massage an incredibly hot client, but finds even baseball and sandwiches too sexy... thinking about Chandler, on the other hand, works fine.
- In another episode Ross gets rid of an erection by thinking about his grandmother.
- Glee: A Running Gag is Finn thinking of the time he ran over a mailman in order to prevent himself... arriving early. It's made a plot point on "Never Been Kissed" when Sam needs to find his "mailman" and decides to think of Coach Bieste in various unflattering positions. It's so effective that the method spreads-in fact, it's too effective, soon the boys (and Tina) actually start saying Bieste's name during makeout sessions, causing their partners to become suspicious. And then Bieste finds out, and things get very unfunny. That's right, Glee actually deconstructed the trope.
- How I Met Your Mother:
- Marshall tries to prolong sex with Lily to avoid a big fight they agreed that they wouldn't have until after they'd had sex. To slow things down, he starts thinking of unsexy things, such as roadkill, clipping toenails, and bugs. But then he finds he's taken it too far and needs to rearouse himself, so he starts thinking of sexy things, such as bugs with boobs.
- Inverted with Barney's brother James before he came out as gay: while having sex with his girlfriend, he'd think about baseball (and, more specifically, the men playing baseball) to make it go faster.
- Kyle XY: Josh explains to Kyle that when he doesn't want to have an erection, he thinks of "disgusting things" (for him, zits and old people). Kyle responds that he finds grapefruit disgusting (Josh: "Huh."). Later in the episode, he repeated that phrase while escaping naked from the parents of the girl he was with.
Josh: Zits. Old people. Zits. Old people. GRAPEFRUIT!
- LazyTown has Bill Thompson captured by the "Evil Dudette"(who is the brother of the "Evil Dude") shouting out "You're an ugly girl!" & what Austin Powers said about Margret Thatcher without clothes on a cold day.
- Married... with Children:
- In "What I Did for Love", Jefferson mentions that there was a time when he had to think about baseball to slow things down during sex; nowadays, he just wants to think about baseball.
- In another episode Steve thanks Al, because wondering why Steve Guttenberg is a star works like this.
- In "Dial B for Virgin", Bud thinks out loud "Zima Guy, Zima Guy. No, no, I mean, I mean, Roseanne, Roseanne..."
- Melissa & Joey: In one episode, Joey has to constantly call his mom in order to distract him from having sexual thoughts about a friend of Melissa.
- Parkinson has this beauty:
Billy Connolly: Men have many methods. Some people think of the FA Cup team of 1953. You mustn't think of sex or poof! it's all over. I do the nine times table. I got to 81 once.
- Parks and Recreation: Leslie takes this to a different level in "Road Trip" when she is forced to go on a trip for work with Ben, who has a lot of UST with her, but can't date her because he is technically her superior. She compiles a list of un-sexy conversation topics, such as university bed-lofting rules and the history of the ladder. She even goes as far as making an unsexy CD mix, which included whale noises and Jimmy Carter's "Crisis of Confidence" speech.
- Scrubs: In "My Student", Elliot orders a med student to shave a patient's pubes. The med student tries to fight it, but Elliot threatens him with more stuff. The med student shortly instructs the patient to "think about baseball".
- The Singing Detective has an unusual variant: the protagonist is having ointment rubbed into his body - all of his body - by an attractive nurse and is desperately trying not to become aroused. (Most of the "unsexy" thoughts were about people the screenwriter hated.)
- Skins: Anwar recites Hugh Grant's filmography in order to slow himself down.
- That '70s Show: In "Thanksgiving", Eric has to do this after making out with an attractive girl. His inner monologue goes: "Okay, baseball, Vietnam, Richard Nixon, Pat Nixon, Pat Boone, the girl that gives the weather, no, no! Okay, jellyfish, really big spiders, come on, dig deep, dig deep, okay, the day we backed over Skipper in the driveway, instead of going to the county fair, I had to bury him in the backyard." Inverted later with Donna who thinks of sexy things.
- True Blood: Inverted. When Sookie, a mind-reader, questions Sam on Tara's whereabouts after she'd been turned to a vampire, Sam forces himself to think sexy thoughts to distract himself. It doesn't work.
- Two and a Half Men discusses it:
Charlie: When you're making love, the way to slow yourself down is to think of something completely non-sexual.
Alan: What do you think of?
- Wonder Woman: After immortal Princess Diana of Paradise Island invokes What Is This Thing You Call "Love"? when she sees a man for the first time, her mother hilariously invokes this:
Queen Hippolyte: There are some things that are better not known. Young Amazon minds are best occupied with athletic discipline, higher learning.
- Slick from Sinfest has to work really hard at this when he gets a hug from Monique.
- S.S.D.D has this, when a guy has to go without sex for a while. Being around computer nerds, unsexy thoughts aren't hard to come by.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
- The Pain - When Will It End has one comic, "Silver Linings of the Holocaust". The first example is "Excellent Sexual Endurance Aid", where the man is thinking of the atrocities committed in concentration camps to keep from going off early. Then his thoughts stumble across Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, and, well...
"ARBEIT MACHT FREI!"
- Alan of Sunstone, after being called by Ally to deal with the problem of her two subs, Lisa and Anne, being stuck in a harness with a vibrating egg between them without the key to the padlocks, tries without success to Think Unsexy Thoughts as he tries to work through the increasingly louder moaning, culminating in him having to head to the bathroom.
"Math...um...dead pets...politics...ugh...iiit's official. I'm never wearing jeans in this house again..."
- El Goonish Shive: inverted, when Tedd needs to distract himself from science in order to pay attention to his date.
Tedd: Think sexy thoughts, think sexy thoughts...
- One page of Original Life has Fisk wake up with morning wood and a desperate need to pee. He tries to get rid of his Raging Stiffie by doing this, but then his sleeping wife cuddles up to him...
- In Dumbing of Age, when Joe gets accused of having a one-track mind :
- Joe: I don't always think about sex. During sex, I try to think about somebody's grandma.
- The Simpsons:
- While stuck in an elevator with Mindy Simmons, a sexy new coworker, Homer Simpson imagines his sisters-in-law, Patty and Selma, wearing towels and shaving their legs in the bathroom, as well as his best friend Barney in a polka dot bikini drunkenly humming the theme to I Dream of Jeannie. It doesn't work, as Barney morphs into Mindy. His mantra is the Trope Namer. Ironically, Mindy also had the same mantra as Homer.
- Ned Flanders is also tempted with dangerous ideas about a woman that he is not married with. He urges himself to think about the Holy Bible. He fails: the Bible gets some legs and began to play with the ribbon and "open" as a strip-tease dancer.
- Family Guy's Quagmire was subjected to "aversion therapy" to try and discourage him from being such a pervert, which involved a ceiling fan perched right above his groin and a Victoria's Secret catalogue. His attempts to contain himself involved thinking of dead kittens, old nuns, really old nuns, and Renée Zellweger.
- An episode of John Callahan's Quads! had the main character think about his ugly nun teacher in order to help him maintain an erection... because the unsexy thoughts would help him with premature ejaculation.
- Zigzagged in Metalocalypse. Murderface at first tries to think of sexy thoughts so he doesn't think about how a male doctor is examining his junk, then when he realizes he's getting hard, tries desperately to think of unsexy thoughts because jerking off in a doctor's face 'makes you gay'.
- In one episode of Big Mouth, Andrew tries to repress his sexual urges while out on a date with his crush, but Maurice, his hormone monster, won't leave him alone, so Andrew tries to ward him off with pictures of his grandmother and a mezuzah (he thinks it works like a cross). When neither of those work, he subjects Maurice to Garrison Keillor jokes, causing Maurice to convulse in pain.