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"I shouldn't be around him, I might do something I regret. I mean, I'd enjoy it, but... I'd regret it. I mean, I'd really enjoy it, but, oh, I really would-"—Kerry Hennessy, 8 Simple Rules, "Closure"
Perhaps a character doesn't want to change her relationship. Maybe she's trying to force her partner into doing something. It might be illegal. Or possibly she's Genre Savvy enough to know the consequences. In any case, there's a reason why this character doesn't want to have sex with somebody.
Oddly, when the character isn't in a relationship, this trope is almost exclusively applied to females. Apparently, men wouldn't even think about refusing sex in the first place. When the character is in a relationship, it can apply to both genders - although if sex follows, expect another double standard.
Compare Unresolved Sexual Tension, which is when the circumstances keep the two apart. May be a result of Can't Have Sex Ever and Virgin Power. Often ends in Above the Influence. Can overlap with Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?. Expect An Aesop about how Sex Is Evil or You Need to Get Laid, depending on the show's views on the matter.
Anime and Manga Edit
- This trope is at the heart of the relationship drama in Hyakujitsu no Bara, where Taki is supposed to remain physically and spiritually pure, but is in love with Klaus, who doesn't know about this. When he does give in, it's just before he's deported and is unlikely to see Klaus again. Of course, when Klaus announces that he intends to give up his own life to follow Taki the shit really hits the fan.
- Dwight from Sin City is revisited by his ex-wife, Ava Lord who wants his help. He refuses at first, but he eventually gives in when the temptation grows.
- After Magneto came to live on Utopia as the X-Men's ally, he started to express an interest in Rogue, trying to rekindle the romantic spark that had briefly flared up during their time together in the Savage Land. Rogue rebuffed all such real and imagined advances because of the many terrible things he had done to her and her friends while in world-conquering villain mode, and in X-Men Legacy #249 he himself had a change of heart and told her that becoming involved with him was a bad idea and that she should return to Gambit. It was after this that Rogue had a change of heart of her own and decided to go with her feelings for one night of passion with Magneto at any rate, noting
"Most people want the things they know are gonna turn out to be bad for them."
- Ridiculously common in Harry Potter fanfiction, as someone (usually Harry) tells himself why having sex with his enemy (usually Draco or Snape) would be a very bad idea.
- Brave New World: Pikachu, at first, has this sort of relationship with Dawn. He likes her and finds her facinating, but is convinced that, because she has declared herself his vassal, she feels she has no choice in the matter and would sleep with him purely out of duty. Dawn later assures him that she likes him too, and while she she would sleep with him out of duty if he demanded it of her, if he asked, she would do it out of love.
- Part of Frollo's motivation in The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, best illustrated in his Villain Song "Hellfire". A Rare Male Example, justified by the fact that Frollo considers himself a very pious man (even though what he does to people throughout the movie indicates otherwise).
- The original Wicker Man has another Rare Male Example. The main character, Howie, a prudish virgin who firmly believes that sex should take only place after marriage, is at one point attempted seduced by Willow, who dances and slaps the wall in the room next to his. He manages to resist it, but is trembling with desire the whole time. Considering what happens to him, maybe he should have.
- In Mr. Mom, Joan (Ann Jillian) comes over with the intention seducing Jack (Michael Keaton) while his wife is at work. He excuses himself to the bathroom and tries to talk himself out of giving in to her by rattling off reasons why he shouldn't do it. It takes him a good while to convince himself that it would be wrong, but he eventually does.
- In the first Ghostbusters, Venkman comes to visit Dana and finds she is possessed by Zuul, which makes her want to sleep with the Keymaster. He refuses, since she isn't in her right mind, but he's tempted.
- "I want you inside me." "Go ahead - no, I can't. Sounds like you got at least at least two people in there already. Might be a little crowded."
- In The Hollows, Rachel finds herself in an elevator with Kisten. On one hand, she has a boyfriend, and Kisten hasn't exactly been nice to her so far. On the other hand, she has accepted that she's probably about to die and is highly vulnerable to vampire pheromones. She gives into him, but is pulled back into reality when the elevator doors open.
- Callista in the Darkover series previously had a job that required her to be a virgin, and her mentor pretty much brainwashed her to not only not be sexual, but to forcibly fight off anyone who tried. Now that she's quit her job and gotten married, well... things are awkward when it comes to deprogramming.
- A Rare Male Example is found in Cate Tiernan's Sweep series, where Hunter decides not to sleep with his girlfriend Morgan (who is naked and in his bed) because he's about to leave on a long trip and didn't want their first sexual encounter to resemble anything that might be construed as him "loving and leaving" her.
- Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
- Liquidon and Cindy in Stationery Voyagers both want a Relationship Upgrade, but realize that Liquidon would probably kill her if he tried. Or the kid would. She finally agrees that they can never have a real marriage, but kisses him anyway to release his uncontrollable power when the situation of rescuing the other Voyagers grows dire.
- Nearly half a chapter in Wizard's First Rule is about Kahlan deciding she should sleep with Richard despite the fact it would destroy his mind, with her inner monologue going through rationalizations such as maybe he'll be more devoted to his quest if it does happen. She actually tries, with him stopping her at the last moment--by this point he's worked out there's something dangerous about her, but he's not sure what. She still hates herself for trying.
- Inverted in The Last Dragon Lord, where Linden, a man who can turn into a dragon, finds his soulmate. Unfortunately, if he gives into his urges and has sex with her, he might kill her.
- It's mentioned in Splinter of the Minds Eye, which came out years before Return of the Jedi. There are many instances in this book and Marvel Star Wars where Luke and Leia very nearly have a Relationship Upgrade and then decline or are interrupted, then drop the idea for a while, not sure why they're reluctant. But it always comes back.
The Princess grew aware of how tightly she was clinging to him. Their proximity engendered a wash of confused emotion. It would be proper to disengage, to move away a little. Proper, but not nearly so satisfying.
It did not matter what a woman's stance was on fidelity, that she had been a faithful partner to another for years or decades. Falleen pheromones were more potent than the strongest spice. Leia might want to resist him with her mind, but her body would ache for him. There was no antidote save one.
Xizor smiled. He would enjoy administering the single antidote to Leia. He would enjoy it very much indeed...
- An episode of Just Shoot Me does this with Nina, who takes Elliot's advice and abstains from sex for a while. Of course, she's then visited by a former lover. In the end, she manages to restrain herself - if just barely.
- Trope Namer is Kerry of 8 Simple Rules, who is visited by the boy she had a fling with while in France.
- That 70s Show does this to Jackie, in response to Kelso growing a beard. Donna has to remind her that he cheated on her, lest she "throw herself at him."
- Capt. Picard and Dr. Crusher in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Naked Now".
- Legend of the Seeker has this with Richard and Kahlan.
- A Rare Male Example in Dollhouse, with Echo trying to convince Paul they should have sex.
- Garrows Law has a mutual version of this with Garrow and Lady Sarah.
- In the Friends episode "The One With the Memorial Service", after Phoebe broke up with Mike because he said he never wants to get married, she asked Monica to keep her away from him. In the end of the episode, it turns out that Mike also asked a friend to do the same.
- In The Good Wife, Alicia in regards to Will. Although, she's married, so she resists the urge to hit that. However, they finally hook up in the season 2 finale after Alicia separates with Peter.
- The remake of Persona 3 gives us a Rare Male Example of Shinjiro Aragaki. Maxing out his Social Link with the female protagonist leads him to fall in love with her, but he stubbornly resists admitting it because he knows that, with three different death threats hanging over him, he doesn't have long to live and starting a romance would only cause her pain later. It's only in the face of repeated persistence from the protagonist that he finally gives in to his feelings. It still doesn't end well, although he does end up comatose rather than dead. And he does wake up on the last day... just in time to see her die. Yeah, it kind of sucks to be Shinjiro.
- Since Tali is romanceable in Mass Effect 2, she has concerns about sleeping with Shepard (because her species have, basically, no immune systems). But she really would -- oh, you get it. In the end, she takes a bunch of herbal supplements, still gets a cold, and admits that it was totally worth it.
- Not only do they have a shitty immune system, but their Amino Acids are a different kind. As Mordin puts it (though for a different pairing which has the same Amino Acid problem), "Don't ingest."
- Garrus has the same basic reaction to the prospect of being with Shepard. He has no idea how the sex part of a romantic relationship would work between their species, and expresses quite a bit of hesitance due to nervousness about the prospect, but is ultimately all for it. Assuming they can figure out how to work out the particulars. It worth noting that turians, Garrus' race, are the other species in the galaxy whose biological makeup is based on dextro-amino acids. This pairing is the recipient of the above-mentioned "don't ingest" advice.
- In a Questionable Content strip, Faye wakes up horny and considers calling Sven for... services. In the end, she decides against it. The idea lingers until Dora buys her a vibrator.
- Their conflicting desires and constant invoking of this trope nearly lead Candi and Donte in the Ciem Webcomic Series to schizophrenic levels of indecisiveness, before both of them decide to simply get it over with. They feel like dirt for it, but at least they know their limits.
- Also one reason Candi agrees to marry Denny in spite the war going on all around them. She gets bored with taking most of her clothes off, only for them to "stop at third."
- Out There: Miriam has this dilemma all the damn time. ALL the damn time.
- Used in Treading Ground at the start of the Jail Bait Wait.
- Dept Heaven Apocrypha has Fia's demon. He and Meria Can't Have Sex Ever because Fia--whose body he's using to carry out his side of their relationship--is straight and can barely tolerate them kissing. Would he do more if he could? Probably, but given the circumstances...