Celibate Hero

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Sasuke really doesn't appreciate his gift for attracting girls.

Oh, I see. No dating for the Batman -- it might cut into your brooding time.

Wonder Woman, Justice League Unlimited

A protagonist who doesn't do the romance thing. Unlike the clueless Chaste Hero, who just doesn't get romance, the Celibate Hero consciously and actively shuns and avoids it. He turns away every potential Girl of the Week and shuts out the pleas of his official love interest.

Naturally this results in far more opportunities for romantic encounters (particularly The Vamp) than if they were looking for them. This is not to say that the Celibate Hero is unable to be affected by the force of a Dulcinea Effect, only that he either is acting on a higher ideal (chivalry) or resists its power later on.

There are a variety of potential motives for this behavior:

  • "Love is A Distraction" - The Hero has a job to do and can't risk being distracted by something as petty as a love life.
  • "Love is Beneath Me," related to the above - The Hero believes that to be someone the squad/city/world/universe can depend on, he or she has to be more powerful and more resolved than the average human and above the basest human instincts, especially if he or she is a Badass Normal. See also Love Is a Weakness.
  • "I'm A Danger Magnet" - The Hero is Genre Savvy, and realizes anyone he or she gets close to or they let get close to them is very likely to shortly end up dead.
  • The Hero is maintaining a Secret Identity, and fears exposure if he or she gets too close to anyone. A Cape will frequently combine this reason with the "danger magnet" excuse, and settle for pining for their love interest from afar.
  • Bad romantic experiences in the past:
  • He is faithful to a beloved spouse or partner, from whom he is separated (and prevented from returning to) by his circumstances.
  • Rare today is the idea that the hero's powers rely on him or her remaining celibate, or that he is celibate out of religious or moral conviction. Most commonly this is found in fantasy settings, which may feature religious orders or mystical powers that may be influenced by sexual activity. Male examples, of course, are never in a setting based in the real world, because a man is never, ever a virgin, and don't you dare claim otherwise!
  • He or she simply does not like the opposite sex (more common among Anti-Heroes, particularly male examples).
  • He or she does not feel that he or she is worthy of being loved (for any number of reasons).
  • He or she carries some sort of curse that is passed down from parent to child, so he/she is simply trying to end the curse.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay surrounded by an Unwanted Harem.
  • Rarely used in any notable works today in any media for reasons other than religious beliefs or medical disability. If for religious reasons, it is often depicted by bringing attention to the fact, usually in the form of temptation. Expect Buddhist (or any other celibate or abstinence associated religion) characters seeking to abstain from physical distractions to fit in here often. Such examples are often the case with a Badass Preacher or Church Militant and overlaps with Heroic Vow.
  • Occasionally a case of a Hero everyone thinks is male actually being female, and pretending to be celibate, asexual or otherwise uninterested in physical relationships (and may be a case of panicking whenever touched at all for this very reason) in order to avoid discovery. You can pretty much guarantee that someone is going to try and pounce her anyway, and discover their true identity. If it's an ally, they'll probably be sworn to secrecy, but let it get out somehow anyway. If they're an enemy, you can be assured they'll use it against the Hero, especially if she continues to keep it a secret from her fellow teammates.

Expect more than one reason to come into play, usually reinforcing one another; rarely do any of these show up alone.

Often a type of Heroic Vow.

Compare Asexuality, Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date, Courtly Love.

Contrast Duty First, Love Second.

Examples of Celibate Hero include:

Anime and Manga

  • Van and Ray Lundgren are both this, due to being loyal to their dead (would be) wives.
  • Of course there is Lelouch Lamperouge, who has many characters, such as Shirley, Kallen, and Milly vying for his affection, along with pretty much every girl in his school. Lelouch, however, is a Celibate Hero who doesn't have the time for romance. Instead, he focuses on winning a war for his little sister. The only reason we know he's not a Chaste Hero is because of that one time he asked Kallen to "comfort" him.
  • Vegeta from Dragonball Z seems a lot like this. We know he's not completely celibate because he fathered two children over the course of the series, but he otherwise comes across as someone who wouldn't be particularly interested in sex, his fixation being primarily on being stronger than Goku.
    • The guy is the last pure blooded Saiyan of his race aside from Goku. He is the former ruler's progeny, considered to be the pride of his race, yet he was constantly upstaged by a "weakling" Kind of justified. Hell he even let himself get possessed to gain more power. It's his pride more than anything that makes him oblivious to romance or any reason at all for that matter.
  • Played with in Slayers in regards to Zelgadis Graywords; in the anime, due to some Flanderization, he possibly falls under the "love is a distraction" excuse (as ship teasing with Princess Amelia demonstrates, he feels awkward around her at times). In the original novels, however, it's a completely different matter, as Zel mentions at one point that if he ever were to become intimate with a woman, he would hurt her severely because of his rock skin (which also implies that he may not be a virgin). He opposes raping Lina Inverse in the first novel because of this, as opposed to a more awkward reaction that his anime counterpart would probably have. Word of God mentions his intimacy issues in an interview.
  • Train Hartnett of Black Cat has a severe tendency toward this: he gets grossed out by the idea of posing as the pretty Rinslet's husband, whacks Kyoko when she tries to kiss him, and in the anime he puts a cat in front of his face so Kyoko kisses the kitty instead of him. Even with Saya, it's made clear that he only thought of her as a very close friend. He's also totally uninterested in men, much to Creed's dismay.
  • Shinji Ikari of Neon Genesis Evangelion shrinks from any and all potential relationships, romantic or not, because it's just too painful and frightening for him. This eventually makes him snap in End of Evangelion.
    • It's not like he has any good choices in the relationship department - while he has mutual chemistry with both the girls he works with, they both are bags of issues potentially even worse than him.
  • Light, the Anti-Hero / Villain Protagonist of Death Note doesn't seem to desire sex or romance (though he fits both "Love is a Distraction," given his obsession with the Death Note and "Love is Beneath Me," due to blatant narcissism), and treats his Love Interest Misa quite coldly. He is fully aware of such matters, and uses the very idea of sexuality for his own benefit -- pretending to read porn, supposedly unaware, in front of many security cameras designed to determine his likelihood of being Kira to ward off suspicion. Basically, Light only has sex if it benefits him. Would he have sex with a man if it would benefit him? Maybe not probable, but at least possible. Still, he would feel absolutely no passion about it, and wouldn't hesitate to burn the guy alive if it helps to further his goals. To him, his sex appeal is a tactic—he's quite possibly incapable of feeling 'love' or 'desire' in a romantic sense.
    • Even when Light plays a truly spectacular Memory Gambit and temporarily turns good, his feelings for Misa are still unclear. He is clearly concerned for her safety, and treats her much more warmly, but since this change applies to the way he treats everyone, it need not suggest real "love". Of course, even if he wanted to progress their relationship further, being handcuffed to L 24/7 would make it somewhat difficult.
    • L also deserves mention. Although he reacts more positively to Misa's kiss on the cheek than Light does, he probably views love and even meaningful friendship as something of a distraction. This is complicated further by his awkwardness. Word of God notes that Near and Mello were originally intended to be L's sons—but there's nothing in the plotline or the interviews with the creators that suggest they stuck with the idea.
    • Despite not being "heroes" per se, Shinigami are indispensable to the plot; they are neither permitted nor capable of sexual relationships with one another or with humans, so their celibacy is somewhat mandatory. Woe betide the shinigami that develops feelings for a human, no matter how platonic...
  • Kagemori Mamoru of Kage Kara Mamoru!, he believes that "Love is A Distraction" mainly because the girl that he is assigned to is so dimwitted at times that she would not survive without his constant protection and that going out with a girl would detract from his duty. His parents, on the other hand would argue, that Mamoru also has a special duty to find a girlfriend so he can get married and give them some grandchildren so the family tradition can be carried on.
  • Female examples: Both Mai and Natsuki from the My-HiME anime fall under the "Love is a Distraction" header (Mai because she's got a part-time job and has to take care of her younger brother Takumi, and Natsuki because she's consumed with thoughts of Revenge against The Organization that indirectly killed her mother), so they spend much of their time ignoring or otherwise actively avoiding their love interests. After the audience finds out what happens to the first couple who openly declares their love, you can't really blame 'em.
    • Of course, Mai stubbornly denying her feelings leads to some vicious enmity and painful loss for her later on.
    • And Mai gets the guy in the end, while Word of God says that Natsuki and Shizuru also get together eventually.
  • Gai Shishioh/Cyborg Guy from GaoGaiGar arguably qualifies. On the one hand, he has a girlfriend, on the other, he's just a head attached to a walking weapon, so it's not like they could do much.
    • Well, who knows what the cyborg body can do.
    • Note that at the end of the TV series Guy gets a body after purifying Zonuda/Mikoto, something which she seems very, very happy about. Take that as you will.
  • Allen Walker from D.Gray-man: He is kissed (on the lips, even!) and hugged by Road Kamelot, who makes it very clear she has a crush on him, but he seems to only regard it as a nuisance, choosing to ignore it (the fact that Road stabbed him in the eye the last time he saw her might have something to do with it). He also chooses to ignore Rohfa's feelings for him, and in numerous occasions, even shows skepticism and signs of being unnerved by it. And in a "character interview" omake, his status as being a Celibate Hero is pretty much confirmed by Word of God, as he vehemently denies having a girlfriend or liking anyone, and that he's too focused and busy with his work to do anything like that.
    • Considering his past it's not hard to find out why he is chaste.
  • Taikoubou AKA Fukki from Houshin Engi: He never shows any romantic interest in any of the female (or male) characters. It probably didn't help that the only female character that was chasing him was an incredibly hideous monster. And it probably didn't help that he was actually an ancient alien.
  • Another female: Rei Hino/Mars from the Sailor Moon manga. This actually comes both from her Defrosting Ice Queen background and her past life in the Silver Millennium, where her past self made an oath of chastity to Princess Serenity.
    • In a way, it could also be said for all of Serenity's guardians, as they all promised total dedication to her, that not even love would separate them. In the manga at least...
  • Vash from Trigun is. Especially in the manga. He fakes being passed out in order to avoid the "favors" of prostitutes, spends an inordinate amount of his free time thinking about his dead mother figure, doesn't want any woman to see his scars and avoids any kind of romantic or sexual relationship, be it with Luida, Meryl or Jessica.
  • Mikuru Asahina from Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. It's not just about Haruhi unconsciously using her powers out of jealousy if Mikuru gets close to Kyon, but Mikuru is actually a Time Traveler who is not allowed to have a relationship with someone outside of her own time frame, per obvious work reasons.
    • In the first book, Haruhi says that while she is a "healthy young woman, after all," she doesn't have time for sex, what with trying to find the people right in front of her.
  • Sanzo in Saiyuki displays no sexual interest or preferences, despite both the anime and manga going out of the way to show that he breaks every other vow he had to take as a Buddhist priest. Word of God says that he does, indeed, maintain his vow of celibacy, not out of consideration for his Buddhist beliefs (he has none, despite his job) but because he dislikes being touched in "that way". In the Burial arc of the manga, it's shown that the first people he ever killed intended to rape him, and it's implied this wasn't an uncommon occurrence in his life, with his physical attractiveness inviting a lot of creepy attention. Sanzo rarely allows anyone to touch him at all, with varying levels of exception for his traveling companions, especially Goku.
  • Samurai Gun. Ichimatsu is a regular customer of local Hooker with a Heart of Gold Ohana, but his "business" with her is strictly the non-sexual services provided. He's not unaware of her own romantic attraction to him, and isn't exactly unattracted to her himself, but he has ...issues with sex, due to the fact that, as a child, he was forced to watch his elder sister be raped and then murdered. He later learns that the one who did the deed was actually a servant of the same council of freedom fighters that he serves as a Samurai Gun; apparently, deliberately traumatising children so as to create recruits for the project was a deliberate tactic of theirs, to both make them "availible", give them a way to control them, and to start their Training from Hell.
  • Zoro from One Piece could be argued to adhere to this trope; he seems to have little interest in the opposite sex and was the only Strawhat not to succumb to Nami's infamous Happiness Punch—because he didn't even bother to look. Probably a case of Love is a Distraction, as he's pretty simplemindedly focused on swordfighting, but could have a little bit of Dead Little Sister (Kuina) mixed in.
    • Is it really that hard to believe he's just got a case of Unlucky Childhood Friend he hasn't recovered from? It's the simplest, most straight forward explanation, and it makes sense for OP's genre.
    • Luffy was retconned into this for plot convenience and possibly previous oversight. His very brief past examples of lechery were explained to be him imitating Usopp.
    • Word of God says that this trope is enforced for the entire cast. Why? Because Oda is bad at writing romance (except for a quick laugh) and feels it would clutter up the narrative anyway. More importantly, he says the crew can't fall in love, because "they're already in love with adventure!"
      • Except for Sanji, who would gladly romance every attractive woman he comes across... too bad none of them are ever interested.
      • ...except of course when Nami wants him to do something for her.
  • Former Chaste Hero Setsuna F. Seiei from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 evolves into this in the second season. He's more aware of what romance is, but he considers that he and Rebellious Princess Marina are Platonic Life Partners more than anything else, and denies twice that she's his lover. The fact that she looks a lot like his Missing Mom doesn't help either.
  • Dr. Kenzo Tenma of Monster, after he saves the life of a boy over the city mayor - in defiance of the hospital director's orders. It's a mixture of Love Is A Distraction and I'm A Danger Magnet, as his life takes a very different turn after that fateful decision.
  • Sasuke Uchiha of Naruto is a total Chick Magnet, but shows no interest whatsoever in romance. He most likely falls under "Love is a Distraction" and "Genre Savvy". He might also be a Chaste Hero, as he never addresses the issue (not even after Sakura's Anguished Declaration of Love). A logical explanation could be that he became obsessed with revenge before he was old enough to care about such things, and also fears that Itachi or his own "inner darkness" might destroy anyone he's close to. What makes this particularly odd is that his other stated goal is to rebuild his clan.
  • The Alternate Character Interpretation of Fatal Fury's Terry Bogard during The Movie of The Anime of the Game. Having failed to protect his now-dead girlfriend during the first OVA, he becomes incredibly wary about letting women get close to him. However, he eventually succumbs to Plucky Girl Sulia's crush on him unfortunately, as he's considering reciprocating her feelings, Sulia gets kidnapped by her crazed brother, who uses her to find an Artifact of Doom that transforms him into a godlike being that Terry and his True Companions cannot defeat... Until Sulia performs a Heroic Sacrifice, that is. Poor guy.
  • Taito Magatsu from Blade of the Immortal, despite being attractive and having several female characters display an interest in him, makes a point to avoid any kind of relationship. The girl he shares a bed with even comes out and asks him why he's never tried anything with her, and others have teased him about his lacking sex life. Most put it down to his Dead Little Sister.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, the priestesses are required to maintain their virginity in order to summon the gods.
  • Kyouko from Skip Beat!!, of the "bad past experiences" variety. She not only avoids love, she even convinces herself she's incapable of it. When confronted by romantic hints, she doesn't see the romance at all, but usually interprets it as some interestingly twisted scenario completely unrelated to love.
  • The titular character of Vampire Hunter D, particularly pronounced in the old 1985 OAV. In the novel it was based on he and the Girl of the Week actually get to first base but are interrupted, and at the end of the book he very pointedly moves on before things go any farther. In subsequent novels girls throw themselves at him right and left, but he pretty much ignores them. This is presumably due to a combination of his need for blood as a dhampir (half vampire) and "Love is A Distraction".
  • While Hayate the Combat Butler Hayate falls more on the Chaste Hero side of the line, when he is approached by Ayumu about her crush, or rather, later when approached by the student trio, he thinks he's unworthy of her love because of Athena's teaching him that he had to be financially able to support a girlfriend.
  • Toward the Terra takes this trope to its extreme conclusion. Even the thought of intimate relationships doesn't seem to exist in the same universe as Soldier Blue or the next Soldier (title for the leader of the Mu), Jomy. Interestingly, Tony has a girlfriend... but she obligatorily dies a few episodes before he becomes Jomy's replacement. Odd considering that they need all the psionic power they can get, Authority Equals Asskicking, and power is a function of genetics.
  • Edward Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist, for "distraction" reasons, since he has to get his brother's body back first until the very end, that is.
    • He stays like that throughout the 2003 anime adaptation though. Several potential love interests appear but, Ship Tease aside, his main focus is always his brother.
  • Bleed Kaga from Future GPX Cyber Formula, who in SIN, while he does care for the show's resident Defrosting Ice Queen Kyoko, he seems to be too focused on his rivalry with his one-time friend Hayato.
  • In the light novels, it is implied that Firo Prochainezo from Baccano! is one temporarily, although it is because the woman he is in love with is asexual. They do eventually get married... fifty years later.
  • In Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight, we have not just one but two Celibate Heroes. Both Spark and Neese care very much for each other and Leaf and Ryna start some serious shipping of them, but it doesn't seem to go anywhere.
    • Which in a case of Fridge Logic would have solved the entire quest: Knowing that she's everything Wagnard still lacks to perform his ritual to end the world and that she can't hide and run from him forever, Neese instead tries to stop him before he captures her. However, she's only the substitute sacrifice since her mother isn't a virgin anymore. If they got together, all problems would have been solved.
      • Actually, that would have only been a temporary solution. If Neese lost her virginity then the soul of Naneel would have simply been passed to any daughter or granddaughter she had in the future. The way things played out in the series turned out to be the better option, because it led to Naneel's final destruction.
  • In Mai-Otome, Otomes are required to abstain from heterosexual romance, as semen will render their bodies unable to use the nanomachines. Arika in particular starts out as ignorant of how love works, but while she develops feelings for Sergay over time, in the end, she fully commits to being an Otome.
  • Keima from The World God Only Knows, despite being known all over the Internet for being "The Capturing God" for his incredible skills at Dating Sim games. He didn't even raise an eyebrow when he accidentally saw Haqua changing in front of him, and during his Freaky Friday Flip with a girl, he doesn't take advantage of the fact, preferring to play his games.
  • Ikuto from Nagasarete Airantou.
  • Barnaby from Tiger and Bunny. A natural when it comes to playing The Charmer, he has no problem with acting cool for the sake of the fangirls in order to stay true to his position as HeroTV's no.1 Mr. Fanservice; but in private he has displayed zero interest in romance. He's said to have had a huge fan club back when he was at school, and apparently ignored all of them. Despite working alongside a cute tomboy (Pao-Lin), an aloof bishoujo (Karina) and a hot career woman (Agnes), he has yet to spare any of them more than a passing glance. This might, of course, be due to the obsession with revenge which has caused him to reject personal relationships almost completely—though that's never stated outright by him or anyone else.
    • But the character questionnaire does have him revealing that he had a crush on a girl prior to the series. Thereby it's likely that he follows the "Love is a Distraction" school of thought. And now that he seems to have lightened up and gotten over the aforementioned obsession...
  • Ginko from Mushishi is very much this; though whether it's of his own volition or not is somewhat questionable. Due to possessing an unusual physiology that attracts mushi to him, he cannot stay in any one place or with a 'normal' person for a long period of time, and is thus forced to wander the country while acting as a mushi exorcist of sorts. His unusual looks and calm, always-in-command personality make him an instant Chick Magnet in-universe—but while he is kinder to most of the female characters than he is to the male ones, he has never displayed any active interest in romance. This might be indicative of supreme self-control or personal preference; despite having its fair share of romantic subplots involving the supporting cast, the story never brings up a serious prospective Love Interest for Ginko.
  • The Medicine Peddler from Mononoke is an enigmatic, mysterious Chick Magnet, and the only good-looking male character in the series. Many of the ladies he encounters develop a crush on him—specifically Kayo, with whom he gets quite a bit of Ship Tease (though it's more 'tease' and less 'ship'). But then again, the women are human while he almost definitely is not, so it might just be that.
  • Count D from Pet Shop of Horrors is strongly implied to be Asexual. He has never displayed the slightest romantic interest in any of the women (or the occasional man) who approach him, and addresses the idea of "human sexual and romantic desires" with either indifference or scorn, depending on the situation.
  • The heroine of Kino no Tabi, is casually but determinedly celibate—at least in the anime. The novel series, which is ongoing, still has a chance of bringing up an Official Love Interest for her—though so far no signs can be seen to that effect.
  • Ranma Saotome of Ranma ½. While most members of his Unwanted Harem practically throw themselves at him, he doesn't reciprocate, unless he needs to manipulate them or he feels unattractive. Not even Akane Tendo is shown affection most of the time. This could be due to his fear of commitment, his discomfort over physical displays of affection, his "love is a distraction" attitude, or all of the above. Take your pick.

Ranma: I'm in the middle of my training. I can't let some girl distract me.

  • Yanagin in Daily Lives of High School Boys hates the idea of dating in general, as she thinks guys are all losers. In fact, acts violently on the idea of any female dating a guy, or trying to make themselves attractive to a guy.

Comic Books

  • Batman, in many incarnations, adheres to a combination of most of the above: love as distraction (his work is his life); love as beneath him (he sees himself as something more); the danger magnet issue (amusingly subverted when, in an episode of Justice League Unlimited, he tried to use that as a reason he couldn't date Wonder Woman; she then demonstrates that he'd be in more danger than she); his Secret Identity, although potential love interests have occasionally discovered the secret anyway; and depending on the actual universe, bad relationships in the past (he maintains that one of his few actual lovers, Talia al Ghul, drugged and raped him).
    • With the Reboot it seems the whole Talia thing was consensual. He still wasn't proud of it though.
  • Tim Drake, Robin III, is celibate. Whether this is an intentional editorial decision or many writers independently not wishing to age the teenage character is a matter of some debate. He's certainly had opportunities, though not as many as Robin I.
  • Catholic-Boy-Scout-type Tintin has it easy when it comes to resisting carnal sins. There are almost no women in the cast of his adventures, and the few that appear are hardly what anyone would consider "appealing". (Well, let's be honest here—Hergé Remi didn't draw noticeably attractive men with any great frequency, either.) He may count as a Chaste Hero too, since the whole issue of romance is never mentioned in relation to him.
  • Lucky Luke, being a lonesone cowboy who keeps moving and rarely stays anywhere more time than it's required to solve a case, has absolutely no interest for women or any relationships, though unlike Tintin, the subject is aborded; in "La Fiancé de Lucky Luke" especially, Luke mentions his opinion about both marriage and love, making it clear he is, not only uninterested, but almost revulsed (to the point he almost refuses a mission that consists in escorting a large group of women, fearing they might attempt advances on him... and they do). Notably, he has a female Platonic Life Partners with Calamity Jane.
  • Oddly enough, Carnage is a Celibate Villain. When Shriek tries to cuddle up to him in the Maximum Carnage fiasco:

Shriek: That's more like it, big guy! Treat me nice and I'll follow you all the way to -
Carnage: Not there!
Shriek: Hoboken. Close enough.

  • Empowered throws out a justified example: Ninjette uses a ninja technique that channels her sexual frustration into fighting prowess.
  • Judge Dredd. Sexual relationships (or "extra-judicial liasons") are illegal for street Judges.
  • The Marvel/ Dynamite comics creation Red Sonja. (As opposed to Robert E. Howard's original Russian sword-maiden of the same name.) Gang-raped to the point of death, Sonja was gifted with revenge by the god Mitra. So long as she "knew no man," Sonja could best almost any man alive in combat. To become her lover - and presumably destroy her gift - a man had to beat her in a fight - a task even Conan the Barbarian found difficult, if not impossible, to do.
  • In Sin City, Wallace, a surprisingly stoic figure in the series, tries his best not to give into the various temptations the city has to offer. At one point, a femme fatale refers to him as a monk when he refuses to be seduced.
  • The Spirit: While a total Chick Magnet, The Spirit spent most of his time being embarrassed by and fending off women's advances, a not-uncommon trope seen in comics and movies of the 30's and 40's.
  • In Marvel Star Wars, most of the time Luke Skywalker is one of these. Pre-ROTJ comics have him interested in Leia and shy about going through with a Relationship Upgrade, but also unwilling to look at someone else because of her. Until very late in the series he actively runs away from Zeltrons, an entire species who think he's the most gorgeous man alive, and he puts up with the attentions of one who becomes an ally only reluctantly. He seems shy and massively taken aback when people express interest in him.

Fan Works

  • Douglas Sangnoir of Drunkard's Walk. A married man ejected from his native timeline by enemy action, he studiously ignores any romantic interest from the women he meets during his travels, remaining faithful to his wife for the entire century-and-a-half he is in exile (except for a single encounter with Misato Katsuragi of Neon Genesis Evangelion, for which he berates himself for literally decades afterwards).


  • The 40-Year-Old Virgin is about one man's quest to defy this trope.
  • Subverted in the 1987 movie version of Dragnet. Although Joe Friday turns down Sylvia Wiss, who practically throws herself at him, and lectures his police partner about how it was the right thing to do, he does eventually end up with [The Virgin] Connie Swail.
    • What ultimately attracts Joe to her is that she's every bit as chaste and wholesome as he is.
  • A parody of this character type can be seen in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail with the hero "Galahad the Pure", who finds himself visiting a castle filled with nubile, eager young virgins whose charms he (unsuccessfully) tries to resist, but much to his dismay he is 'rescued' by Lancelot. Many of the King Arthur stories this movie is based on feature similar scenarios with chaste, chivalrous heroes having to face temptation from virginal and Vampish seductresses.

Zoot: "We are but eight score young blondes and brunettes, all between sixteen and nineteen- and- a- half, cut off in this castle with no one to protect us. Oooh. It is a lonely life: bathing, dressing, undressing, knitting exciting underwear."

    • Again spoofed in "Martyrdom of St. Victor" from Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album: Victor is all too willing to succumb to the temptations of the maidens, but the Lord smites them anyway. Victor calls the Lord a rotten bastard.
  • In Impromptu about the romance between George Sands/Aurore Dudevant (Judy Davis) and Frederic Chopin (Hugh Grant), Chopin's tuberculosis makes him a little hesitant to take things to the next level with Aurore.

Frederic Chopin: Certain acts are... uh, unseemly. They are unsuitable.
George Sand: Chopin... it's an act of love! It's the divine mystery itself!
Frederic Chopin: You must think I'm inexperienced, but I assure you, I was baptized... in the brothels of Paris, when I first arrived. But, um... I'm so ill... and I have been for such a long time, and my body is such a great disappointment to me, that I've already said goodbye to it, I'm... not really * in it* any more, I'm just... happier floating about in music. And if I should come back... inside this miserable collection of bones, then I... am afraid that it would probably collapse altogether. Forgive me. I'm ashamed.
George Sand: No, no. Forgive me. I'm a fraud, you know. "Divine mystery"? I never experienced that with anyone!

  • Rustlers' Rhapsody is a parody of old B-Westerns, so at the start singing cowboy-hero Rex O'Herlihan never does anything more than chastely kiss the girls before riding on to the next town. After a false start or two, he finally "gets better".
  • Parodied in The Librarian where, after another relationship fails because of his job and his co-workers encourage him to think of himself as a "celibate monk", Flynn threatens to kill himself (with Excalibur).
  • Inverted in Milos Forman's Amadeus, where we have a Celibate Antagonist in Salieri, whereas Mozart is portrayed as something of a Casanova.
    • The Director's Cut contains a part where, after Mrs Mozart comes to him for help, he demands that she return to him that night in exchange for his support. However, it's subverted even then; he lets her undress before ringing the bell for the servant to show her out. Whether he planned from the start to humiliate her out of spite, or whether he actually intended to go through with it but found himself unable is unclear; Salieri explicitly states that he was "in love, or at least in lust" with another girl Mozart bedded, so apparently he isn't asexual, but for whatever reason he did not actually blackmail sex from Mozart's wife.
  • The 1967 spoof Casino Royale has David Niven as the original James Bond, a celibate recluse (See Bad Romantic Experience Part 2) who views his namesake's behavior with disdain, and resists almost certain temptation in a scene that anticipates Monty Python's Castle Anthrax.
  • In The Golden Child, the Old Man assigns Chandler Jarrell (Eddie Murphy) a task of purification in order to fully realize his role as The Chosen One. This task involves remaining celibate, which is tough for Jarrell because he's got the hots for his Sidekick Kee Nang, and made even more complicated by the facts that (a) he's not allowed to tell her about it, and (b) once he stops being such a Jerkass, she starts falling for him.
  • The protagonist in The Wicker Man is a virgin due to his strong Christian faith. He's even able to resist the barkeep's daughter stripping naked and doing a magic wall-slapping seduction dance in the next room.
    • Ironically, that's one of the factors that made Lord Summerisle pick him as a prime candidate for sacrifice!
  • The eponymous Mystery Team, mainly because girls are icky. Jason eventually outgrows this.
  • Averted in Black Death. Even though Osmund is a monk, he secretly has a lover.
  • Unforgiven: Though his partners readily accept "advances" from their employers (the town brothel), William Munny considers himself still married to his deceased wife and stays faithful.

"So, what, you just use your hand?"

  • In Unforgiven's Spiritual Successor, The Twilight Samurai, Widower Samurai Seibei rushes home to take care of his mother and daughters after work rather than join his coworkers for drinking and Geisha entertainment. He also refuses his uncle and best friend's offers to arrange a second marriage, though in the latter case he's motivated more by shame of his poverty than genuine disinterest.
  • The Jedi order from Star Wars. The subversion of the rule by Anakin and the forbidden love that ensues is a plot point.


  • Genuine Arthurian example: Sir Gawain shares the bed of the Green Knight's lady night after night, but doesn't take advantage, as that would violate the laws of Chivalry and Hospitality. This display of virtue saves his life.
    • Probably from the same root story: Pwyll, from the First Branch of the Mabinogion, chastely shares a bed with Arawn's wife, despite being flawlessly disguised as Arawn himself, which results in a lasting friendship between the two men.
  • Ged, the protagonist for most of the Earthsea Trilogy, is celibate because he is a mage. This accounts for a complete lack of romance in the first three books, even when a pairing up, first with his friend's sister and then with Tenar, looked to be inevitable. All the mages in Earthsea are celibate by rule, in theory because they will lose their power unless they are chaste, though the truth of this belief is not exactly confirmed. It's implied in Tehanu (by a village witch, who may not be the most reliable source) that wizards use some sort of spell to render themselves asexual, or possibly just make it easier to be completely celibate. She doesn't go into details. Later on Ged mentions he just didn't think of it or feel any urge until he lost his powers.
  • Sherlock Holmes, the eponymous character from the original novel and short story collections, considers "Love is a Distraction" to be his watchwords—so much so that he's obviously both aromantic and Asexual.
    • Irene Adler, who appeared in the short story A Scandal in Bohemia, actually managed to upstage Holmes; this earned her begrudging admiration from the famous detective, Ensemble Darkhorse status in the fandom, and Promotion to Love Interest in many adaptations—though in the original series she never makes an appearance in any other story and is only ever referenced by Holmes once or twice afterwards.
  • Enjolras, from Les Misérables also has "Love is a Distraction" taken to extremes, as evidenced by his introduction and by his reply, when one of the others is commenting on how the others all have mistresses, of Patria.
  • Biggles hardly ever had time for women, except that one time when he fell in love with German spy Marie Janis in the short story Affaire de Coeur. This is an interesting example considering pilots are usually portrayed as babe-magnets.
  • Raistlin Majere, antihero of the Dragonlance books. Actively manipulating the lovesick, annoying Crysania to his advantage, he resists the temptation to actually do anything with her because A) it's beneath a mage of his stature, B) he can't afford to be distracted from his "Overthrow the Gods for No Good Reason" project, and C) he had sex once before and was crap at it. And, though it's not explicitly stated, suspicions are that, were he to actually try anything as physically vigorous as sex with Crysania, he'd probably just wind up coughing blood all over her and collapsing into a heap, which, whatever way you look at it, isn't very romantic. There is possibly some inconsistency over whether Raistlin actually ever had sex or not. The Legends trilogy very strongly implies that he did, with one of Caramon's ex-girlfriends but The Soulforge, which covers the time period it would have happened equally strongly implies he remained a virgin (there is a girl, again a lover of Caramon and there appears to be budding mutual affection but... well read it yourselves).
    • You forgot to mention Crysania had THE hots for him. He could have done anything with her, without even having to resort to magic or anything. For such a brilliant wizard, he's actually quite stupid.
    • There was a short story called "Raistlin's Daughter", which implied he may have had a daughter, in the more or less conventional way and was magically made to forget the experience. Interestingly the entire story is treated as an in-universe rumour and when Raistlin encounters a girl claiming to be his daughter in Dragons of Summer Flame he drolly comments on his bad luck at sleeping with a beautiful woman and not remembering it. For the record the girl in question is not his daughter, much to the relief of his nephew Palin.
  • In Lamb, Joshua was told by an angel that he could never "know" a woman, but never explained exactly was meant by that. Josh and Biff take it in the Biblical sense, and so Joshua remains celibate his whole life (though Biff gets around enough for the both of them).
  • The Obsidian Trilogy, written by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, features a hero who remains chaste and celibate—virginal and unmarried, respectively—for a year and a day in return for his life being saved by a unicorn. The penalty for breaking his vow, since his life was saved, will of course be death by goring. While the first woman he meets is his sister, and the next woman he finds himself intrigued by is the queen of the elves and happily married, the third woman he is attracted to is neither attached nor unattractive nor uninterested in him...
    • This case also gets an interesting treatment in that the unicorn apparently becomes fertile (or non-celibate) because of the hero's year of celibacy. The hero and unicorn's parting at the end of the series states that the hero no longer needs to be celibate, but that the unicorn won't have to be either!
  • According to Harry Turtledove's Honeymouth short story, you can be a cussing, hard-drinking mercenary who rides a unicorn into battle and still be able to satisfy a full whorehouse each night, not to mention being satisfied yourself. Apparently the unicorn's radar can't distinguish between those who are still technically virgins and those who are truly chaste.
  • Doc Savage's unusual upbringing has made him ill-equipped to deal with women on any level other than "save from peril." He's smart enough to foist interaction with women on his companions for the most part, but seems profoundly uncomfortable when this is not possible.
  • Taken way, way to the extreme in the Leo Tolstoy novella The Kreutzer Sonata. Not only does the protagonist kill his wife in a jealous rage, but he makes the argument that one should renounce sex in any circumstance, including marriage, and that the subsequent death of the species would mark humanity's highest moral achievement. The fact that this story is more or less an Author Tract brings it perilously close to Squick. People are already working on this.
  • Harry Dresden from The Dresden Files spends a heck of a lot of the novels not getting any, and being quite bitter about it. Though he's given a few chances, he never takes them because they generally come with a lot of baggage (e.g. she's a lust demon, or his underage apprentice), and he refuses to enter into a relationship which isn't pure and based on love, and he also doesn't want to bring anyone else into his dangerous world if he can help it. The fact that his first girlfriend was brainwashed into trying to kill him, and whom he thought for years he had killed and his second girlfriend got turned into a vampire because of his involvement with her may have something to do with it. Although even with that track record, succubi making fun of how pathetic your sex life is has got to hurt. It gets to the point where it turns out Harry's latest love interest, Anastasia Luccio, was psychically mind-controlled into being attracted to him.
    • Having Carlos, who until that point certainly talked a good game, outed as a virgin by said succubus must have taken some of the sting out of it (or at least given him an ample means of redirecting the mockery). It also makes him another example, though his reason (for that matter, whether it's a conscious choice or just lack of opportunity) isn't explored.
  • Phury of the Black Dagger Brotherhood takes a "Love is a Distraction" vow of chastity when he comes of age and decides to search for his kidnapped twin.
  • Discworld:
    • Every wizard is expected to remain celibate; the official reason is that sex drains magic power. The actual reason is that the eighth son of a wizard will be a sourcerer, assuming the wizard was an eighth son. And you really do not want to meet a sourcerer.
    • Unseen Academicals does admit that celibacy for wizards is less stringent in Genua, where Benito Macarona was involved in at least one divorce petition. He wasn't married, and it was the wife who filed the complaint against his philandering, so in this case there wasn't any risk of sorcery.
    • This seems to be getting glossed over in more recent books: apparently it was okay for Professor Earwig to marry, as long as he retired (see "The Sea And Little Fishes", A Hat Full of Sky and Unseen Academicals), and in Making Money, we're told the students in the Post-Mortem Communication Department view the black robes and skull ring as a "babe magnet". Currently, it seems that wizards are forbidden to marry for the much same reasons as Oxbridge dons were until the 19th century; they're supposed to be Married to the Job.
    • Rincewind, despite being a scruffy abject coward, is propositioned by ladies surprisingly more than one would expect. Or, he at least seems to spend a lot of time around them, including the scantily clad variety. However, as his mind is usually occupied with running away, nothing ever comes of it. Also, he's aware of his status as a Cosmic Plaything and Fate's Butt Monkey, so any time someone is nice to him, he assumes it's to set him up for a bigger fall.
      • Once, while abandoned on a desert island, he is approached by several Hot Amazon-types looking for a man to help them procreate and rebuild their civilization. Unfortunately for him, he was completely obsessed with potatoes at the time and thought that they were offering him some. It was only some time after he was whisked away by magic that he belatedly realized what they had been offering. Talk about missing the ball.
      • However, in The Light Fantastic the narration does mention that Rincewind had had some orgasms in his life, occasionally even with a partner.
    • Also from Discworld, Granny Weatherwax. After all, she tamed that unicorn... which really shocked her friend Nanny Ogg and the revelation made Ridcully, her one time love interest, get rather soppy.
      • Note that Granny's celibacy has nothing to do with magic, as witches aren't subject to the same prohibitions as wizards.
      • Granny comes under the "Love is a distraction" heading, though it's a distraction from the pursuit of magic, so in a way her celibacy does have something to do with magic.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The ideal of both the Night's Watch and the Kingsguard is this. (Technically the vow only states "father no children" with regard to that, but the implications are clear and Martin himself has said that both are supposed to be celibate.) The practice, on the other hand...
    • Jon Snow gave a shot at this, refusing to go to the whorehouses when the other boys on the Wall did, refusing advances (all to obey the rules of the Night Watch). Didn't work out so well for him. Samwell Tarly was likewise forcibly thrown into his Love Interest's bed.
    • Knowing of the faultiness of such a pledge, the slave traders who own The Unsullied castrate the slaves for just this purpose. The slave trader proudly points out that while the Night's Watch and Kingsguard claim celibacy, The Unsullied are the only ones who are truly, well, unsullied.
  • Pretty much every single main character of H.P. Lovecraft's stories is too busy being chased by tentacled monsters and/or slowly losing his sanity to get involved in any kind of romantic and/or sexual relationship.
  • Joscelin Verreuil in the Kushiel's Legacy series is sworn to celibacy as part of his vows as a Cassiline monk. Played up for much angst in the second book, but he and Phedre are finally together for the third book.
  • In the Kate Daniels novels by Ilona Andrews, Kate remains celibate for much of her adult life. Partly because she thinks friends and lovers will distract her from her mission in life, partly because everyone close to her dies violently (her mother, her father, her mentor, and her friend), partly because sex would expose her secrets, partly because any guy powerful enough to protect himself from the skeletons in her closet probably didn't get that kind of power by being ethical, but mostly just because she's afraid of being hurt or rejected.
  • Drizzt in Bob Salvatore's Forgotten Realms novel series followed this trope for some time. He wasn't interested in casual sex. His first contact with sex was witnessing a graduation ritual for female priests, that involves the summoning of a 5-meter-tall demon. His first and so far only girlfriend was once involved with his presumed-dead best friend; and things got complicated when he was rescued from hell. Eventually, Drizzt allowed himself to love, and started getting some regularly. Then she died.
  • Solomon Kane is a devout Puritan and remains celibate because of his religious convictions.
    • Howard Did Not Do the Research, since Puritans believed God wanted everyone to have (marital) sex.
    • Solomon Kane knew the "kisses" of a "deathless queen in a city old as Death," and compares her with Lilith (this refers to the attempted seduction by Nakari, a vampiric—or at least very bloodthirsty—queen of a lost African city). The same poem (Solomon Kane's Homecoming) implies that he had an old lover at home whom he was hoping to return to.
  • David Eddings's character Sir Bevier (from the Elenium and Tamuli novels) is aware that his good looks make him irresistible to women. Because he's the one most likely to abandon the steel for the cloth, he elects not to do anything about it.
  • Prince Rupert is very much a Celibate Hero in Simon R. Green's Blue Moon Rising, so much so that he even rides a Unicorn and is rather defensive about it. The reason for this is that as a second son he isn't allowed to be sexually active in case of Dynastic complications. This is a minor Truth In Literature, as many younger sons of nobility were packed off to the priesthood for much the same reason in the middle ages, and it had about the same level of effectiveness then as it does in the book.
  • John from Manly Wade Wellman's 'Silver John' stories, until he meets and weds his true love Evadare.
    • Given John's strong Christian coloring, this is probably a rare modern example of a hero celibate by belief system.
  • Pinkie Brown of Brighton Rock is a celibate villain, being thoroughly squicked by sexuality and femininity as a result of his childhood. He mentions having considered becoming a priest instead of a crook, and this is entirely plausible given his characterization.
  • Edward Cullen from Twilight won't have sex with Bella until after they're married out of fear that he'll hurt her. Although there's a combination of not worthy of being loved involved, plus his wanting to keep at least one thing that he actually did right according to the moral upbringing he had when he was born in 1901.
  • Sergeant Jean in Seven Men of Gascony doesn't seem to have any interest in such things although it is not said why. One character speculates that he is Asexual though it is more fun to think that he had a lover in the past and never got over her.
  • Emilio Sandoz in The Sparrow. All the Jesuits on the Rakhat mission are.
  • Lord Meren, from Lynda Robinson's ancient Egyptian mysteries, has avoided serious romantic relationships since his wife passed away, having been so deeply in love with her that other women don't measure up. He has casual sex on occasion because it's normal social practice for noblemen, but the only woman he's emotionally attracted to is loaded down with political baggage that would compromise his objectivity as the Eyes of Pharaoh.
  • Word of God has it that after his crush on Gellert Grindelwald caused Dumbledore to lose his moral compass and buy into Grindelwald's beliefs about the subjugation of Muggles, which led indirectly to the death of his sister, he deliberately gave up on romance and focused upon his studies for the rest his life.
    • There's also Snape, though more of an anti-hero, who apparently never has sex due to his unrequited love for Lily.
  • Medicine Cats in Warriors have to take a vow to never have kittens. Not that it stops them.
  • In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet, there is exactly one woman in the fleet that it would not be improper for Geary to have a relationship with. Then she learns her husband might be alive. There is plenty of UST between him and a subordinate, but they aren't even allowed by regulations to talk about it.
  • Orual, the narrator and main character of Till We Have Faces, rather obliquely mentions near the end of the novel that she never lost her virginity. This is partly because as queen regnant, she would have to give up her power to her husband if she ever married, partly because she has a rather negative view of romantic love thanks to one sister's shallowness and the other's being Married to A God, and partly because she's convinced that she's so ugly no man would ever be attracted to her, queen or not.
  • Rao Raghunth in Belisarius Series was not a virgin when he married Shakuntala. But he had abstained for ages waiting for her.
  • In The Hunger Games Katniss is this, not wanting to bring another child into the Crapsack World.
  • In the 1632 universe:
    • Prince Ulrik of Denmark, beginning at the end of 1634: The Baltic War. Not by choice, but simply because of the age of his betrothed (he's old enough to be considered a war hero for almost sinking an ironclad, while her age is still in single digits) and his loyalty to her.
    • Although it isn't explicitly mentioned, functionally, Gustavus Adolphus Vasa, King of Sweden, Emperor of the United States of Europe, and Hereditary Captain-General of the State of Thuringia-Franconia, out of a combination of marital loyalty and absence; his queen lives in Stockholm and doesn't travel, and he's never there, apparently because he can't stand her. They do already have one child at the beginning of the series, but the fact that she is an only child, and universally expected to remain so, is quite frequently mentioned.
    • There are also quite a few important characters who are ordained Catholic priests, though one of them petitions the Pope (successfully) to be released from his vows in order to marry, and another had an illicit secret wife and sons (and was then induced - by another priest - to regularize the situation by marrying her while remaining a priest).
  • Beowulf, possibly, as he has never been married in the 50 years the story covers and does not have an heir by blood, naming Wiglaf his heir right before he dies. Of course, whether that means he's celibate or not is another story.

Live-Action TV

  • Marcus Cole, Ranger extraordinaire, from Babylon 5 tries to save himself for the right woman, only she never gets around to 'boffing' him before his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • FBI agent Paul Ballard in Dollhouse, shortly after he found out his girlfriend's a doll. He even refused to sleep with Echo, whom he's crazy in love with, for a long time, because she was messed up from being a doll and he felt it would be wrong. And since both of these women are ridiculously beautiful, this makes him either incredibly moral or Too Dumb to Live.
  • Supernatural: Unlike his brother Dean, Sam really, really tries to do this since everyone he has sex with winds up dead. But, fortunately for every fangirl out there, that doesn't stop him from having rough, hot, sweaty and completely gratuitous werewolf!sex in Heart.
    • The girl of the week in Monster Movie asked Dean if he was this. He did not reply "HA HA HA!"
  • Secret Agent AKA Danger Man: John Drake was meant to be seen in contrast to the oversexed Bond and Bond clones, per request of the show's star Patrick McGoohan, who found Bond morally reprehensible because of his promiscuity. It was not that John Drake might not have a sex life when outside of his job, but when he was working his attitude towards women was strictly professional.
    • McGoohan stipulated in his contract that he not be seen even kissing a woman. This was not just because he wanted Danger Man to be a contrast to James Bond, though; McGoohan had the same clause put into all his television contracts, for personal reasons.
  • Angel, while definitely not one of those for most of his existence, became one after being cursed with a soul, initially because he was a complete loner. Later it turned out that a "moment of pure happiness" would break the curse, unleashing Angelus, so he had a good reason to avoid sex. Subverted in the second season, when it turns out that this doesn't just mean sex, he actually does have to be happy as well, and abandoned in the fifth when he realized this doesn't mean he can't have what a colleague describes as "acceptable happiness".
    • Oz qualifies as well in two instances. The first is when he declines Willow's advances, thinking it would get to Xander, maybe this was even her intent. Joss Whedon was the Writer on Board in this scene, saying 'Here's Oz, he likes Willow, she really likes him, but he isn't going to be a douche about it.' And again, after Willow cheats on him, she pulls out every stop there is (and some that hadn't been dreamt up) to seduce him. Oz declines, saying she doesn't need to let him into her pants to show how special he is to her.
  • In Carnivale, it's strongly implied that Ben is a virgin, and he actively shuns sexual advances. This is related to the fact that he grew up with strict religious values pounded into him by an uncaring mother. When he does have sex with Ruthie he tells her that it was "a sin" and that it won't happen again. He also tends to freak out when others try to touch him. He does seem to change his mind later in the series regarding Sophie. It doesn't work out too well, though.
  • Daniel Jackson in Stargate SG-1. At first it's because his wife is being held prisoner, but then, even years after his wife has died, he still remains remarkably celibate. Although, nobody in this show tends to get a whole lot of action, except maybe Teal'c.
    • However, there are some exceptions. When devolved by a virus, Daniel shacked up with a woman from another planet. When made evil by a sarcophagus, he had a fling with the princess of that planet (Jack even lampshades him ending up with a girl on every planet). He also hooked up with Vala when they were stuck in a time bubble in the final episode (that was undone). Jack himself has had relationships (or at least a quick fling) at least three times, and Sam at least one.
    • All subverted. Jack didn't actually have any say in the first of his three 'flings', and it caused him to get the granddaddy of all STD's. The second one was when he'd already been stranded on her planet for three months and thought he was never going to get home. The third was the only one that qualified as a relationship, and it was peripheral and with a nice, normal CIA agent. Before the show he was married for at least ten years. The guys Sam have been involved with tally up as follows: Jonas Hanson, Martouf, Narim, Joe Faxon, Pete Shanahan. And all but Shanahan and possibly Faxon are dead, though one of them (Hanson) deserved it. One of Daniel's 'relationships' also fell under that first category, but firstly, his wife was an alien who was given to him as a gift. There was the previously alluded-to Hathor, then the woman with the Sarcophagus, then his ex-girlfriend who was taken as a host by the Goa'uld Osiris, then there was the very, very charged relationship between him and Vala in later seasons. Teal'c's current tally is up to four. It's possible that adultery is not a particularly big deal in Jaffa culture, otherwise we've just stumbled upon a less than honorable personality trait.
  • Captain Janeway, despite flirting with Chakotay in early seasons of Star Trek: Voyager, only ever did it with a holographic boyfriend after six years trapped in the Delta Quadrant. This was an eternal frustration to fans given Janeway's touchy-feely body language and frequent use of the Big Gooey Look. There are differing opinions why this had to be the case: the writers wanted to play up Janeway's noble suffering, or they didn't like relationships in a series with few long-term plot arcs, or they simply believed a female captain couldn't (or shouldn't) have a relationship with a subordinate.
    • Though it was an episode many fans would rather forget, in "Threshold" a hyperevolved lizard version of Janeway had baby lizards with a hyperevolved lizard version of Paris.
    • Seven of Nine was never in the chain of command, but then, according to Paramount, there was nothing going there, either.
      • No, she just wasn't a member of Starfleet. Seven was still a member of her crew and therefore under Janeway's command. But anyway, homosexuality is only practiced in the evil Mirror Universe.
    • It gets worse. According to the books, about a year and a half after they get home, she and Chakotay get together for real. They spend one night together, he leaves on a mission, and she is killed on a separate mission before he gets home. It's not like she is being punished for having sex finally or anything.
    • In fairness, other captains on Star Trek tended to not have much truck when they try something with a subordinate.
      • Indeed, Archer's only real relationship in the four years Enterprise was on the air was with another Starfleet Captain, Kirk's reputation for womanising is largely undeserved, Picard only had relationships with women he could barely tolerate (Vash and Lwaxana). Sisko was largely damaged goods until his son of all people set him up on a date, whom he ended up marrying.
  • Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. He seems to be asexual, but also sees love as a distraction from scientific work.
  • Shepherd Book in Firefly
    • Simon Tam almost manages this. He slips only twice (in the Pilot and in the Movie) and both times he is tired and slightly shell-shocked. In eight months. Cooped up in a ship with Kaylee. This is because "he has a job to do," he considers it ungentlemanly to press (and because he is a control-freak over himself) which makes it "beneath him" as well, and there's his role as The Caretaker for his sister River to take into consideration. Book does it for religious reasons; we don't know what Simon's beliefs (if any) are other than looking after his sister.
      • Looking at the Pilot, it's hard to tell. He was as matter of fact in demeanor about the matter as Inara which is hard to believe of an inexperienced young man. Inara said she was giving a medicine pack (probably an anti STD kit), and I wondered if Simon was simply stocking up on medical supplies. Both were rather mysterious about it though.
        • Perhaps Simon was afraid River had been abused sexually at the Academy and that there might be good reason for her to need the sort of medical supplies a Companion might have. If so that might explain well enough why he wouldn't want to talk about it, but also why he was not acting like a normal customer.
        • Simon might've just needed painkillers and anti-biotics, which Inara might also have good reason to possess, and her comments could have just been to put Mal off for barging in and disrespecting her privacy.
    • There's also Mal, who pretty bluntly admits in "Our Mrs. Reynolds" that he hasn't gotten laid in a long, long time. Though he does eventually manage to get somewhere with Nandi in "Heart of Gold."
      • Though this is clearly due to the dynamics of the ship rather than an objection to sex. Zoe's married and they have too much history as war comrades, River's nuts and technically underage, Kaylee's basically his surrogate daughter, and he's trapped in eternal UST with Inara.
      • On the other hand, he does disapprove of shipboard romances and might be trying to hold himself to his own standards. Considering how both of his shown dalliances ended, he might think that a relationship would only distract him, and he might not be wrong.
  • Michael Westen on Burn Notice has rebuffed Fiona multiple times, citing his personal history, their problematic past history, her enjoyment of violence, the danger to everyone around him (which of course doesn't stop him from calling them to help with cases), the distraction, his higher purpose of finding out who burned him, and his patriotism.
  • Patrick Jane on The Mentalist has apparently made a Heroic Vow to avenge his wife before indulging in pleasures of the flesh. He turned down two attractive ladies at a bar who made a pass at him, flashing his wedding ring and telling them he was married. Jane sometimes flirts with women, but it usually ends with the outing of a suspect.
  • Cmdr. Ed Straker of UFO is manifestly celibate after an acrimonious divorce, after the loss of his son to his successor, and the death of his son, even thought a variety of attractive and eligible women have a go at him (e.g. Lt. Barry). His reaction to the rampant libido shown by the rest of his staff ranges from cold disregard to amusement.


  • Lady Gaga came out as celibate.
  • Morrissey was very publicly celibate during the 1980s
  • Emilie Autumn has shunned romantic and sexual relationships after the situations which caused her to right the Woman Scorned part of her Opheliac album (Bad situations in the past). Just her crumpets and her plague rats/muffins now....also falls into "Love is A distraction" excuse. She makes all her music on her own and sets up her own tours. Does not have the time, does not want the time.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

  • Roman Catholic Priests, by policy, in imitation of Jesus (though an exception exists for married Anglican priests who then convert).
    • Nuns as well. Mother Teresa counts as a hero.
    • Note that in both cases, virginity is not required, though is often the case (and assumed to be the case), since the Catholic Church disapproves of sex outside of marriage. The commonly overlooked detail is that previously-married Catholics can become priests or nuns after their spouse's death, and while this has become rather rare, it used to be quite common (for noble widows, in particular).
  • Eastern Rite Catholic Priests (the one in communion with Rome) are a double subversion—they can be married men, but only if the marriage takes place prior to ordination. In both Eastern and Western (read: Roman) Rites, once you are ordained, you can no longer marry.
    • Same rules apply to Eastern Orthodox Priests, as well as deacons in all rites. A man under Holy Orders is not permitted to take a wife unless given express permission to do so (which in the case of deacons is usually only given if his first wife dies and leaves him to raise minor children as a single father, and in the case of priests is extremely rare; it is unheard of in the case of bishops).
  • For the matter of that, even laymen who can't marry are expected to be this. And they don't even get to wear cool robes to make up for it.
  • Theseus' son Hippolytus was one of these, and it got him killed. There are risks to swearing off love forever when the goddess of love is very real and very petty. It's also a bad idea to mock said goddess in the process.
  • Hanuman of the Hindu Mythology is known to be a celibate god, though there are many versions which depict Hanuman having lovers depending on the country.
  • Greek Mythology; the goddesses Hestia and Athena swore themselves to eternal chastity; Artemis more then them, being the Goddess of Chastity, despite also being revered as a Goddess of Childbirth.


  • The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet
    • Averted to various degrees in later adaptations of The Green Hornet; in the TV series Britt Reid was cast more as a rich playboy/publisher, and given the occasional Love Interest while Kato remained a celibate sidekick. This was probably an artifact of the series format; as a half hour series it would be difficult to shoehorn a romantic subplot into a show which could barely fit the action/adventure main plot within its runtime. Totally averted in the NOW Comics adaptation of The Green Hornet, which pretty well paired off almost all of the various Green Hornets and Katos with more-or-less permanent Love Interests.

Tabletop Games

  • GURPS gives us the Chastity disadvantage, giving your Celibate Hero functional rules for what that entails.
  • Paranoia doesn't have heroes, but does have universal celibacy due to hormone suppressants in the food supply. Some citizens do get off the suppressants, mostly either (a) High Programmers or (b) Troubleshooters stuck Outdoors during a mission and forced to eat natural food long enough for them to wear off. Some of these citizens end up going back on them voluntarily so they can concentrate on not getting killed. It's that kind of game.
  • The 2nd Edition of Dungeons and Dragons has an interesting variation with the clergy of Nut, the Egyptian Goddess of the Sky. Her clerics are allowed to have lovers and expected to be faithful to them, but can never legally marry. In addition, they must always aid couples who are in love but forcibly kept apart. This is due to Nut herself being separated from her own lover, the Earth god Geb; to devote oneself to Nut, one must symbolically be separate from the one they love.


  • The title character of Richard Wagner's Parsifal, based on the old legend.
    • Well, yes and no. In his own opera, he is, but in the later-set though earlier-written Lohengrin, the title character is Parsifal's son.

Video Games

  • Leon S. Kennedy from Resident Evil 4: He spends the entire game going through hell to try to rescue the president's very busty teenage daughter, who keeps hitting on him and pretty much throws herself at him at the end of the game, and he reacts to this with great awkwardness, rejecting her very quickly when he notices her advances. Not to mention that the game's Action Girl, who also has feelings for him, is mainly regarded by him with suspicion. He doesn't even seem to notice all the leg she's showing. Seems to be more of an example of the "Love is A Distraction" type.
    • Perhaps not too surprising. Ashley quite a bit younger than Leon (the RE wiki puts their ages at 20 and 27 during RE 4), and is experiencing a series of highly traumatic events. There's also many ways hooking-up with the president's daughter could end poorly. Also, you can't blame him for being suspicious of Ada. In RE 2 she left him to die after the poor, lovesick boy took a bullet for her, and in 4 she is clearly up to something, so his wariness is pretty justified.
      • Directly after rejecting Ashley, though, he tries to grab a date with Hunnigan (and gets promptly shot down).
  • Japanese fighting games are riddled with this archetype, exemplified by Ryu ("The Fight Is All") of Street Fighter. Strangely enough, SNK largely averts this - the Bogard boys are both attached (Terry Bogard/"Blue" Mary Ryan, Andy Bogard/Mai Shiranui), Kim Kaphwan is married with two sons, and there are a number of others. Although Andy Bogard tries to project this, much to Mai's dismay.
    • How much does SNK not like the trope? Even their original answer to Ryu, Ryo Sakazaki, is in a relationship - with resident Bifauxnen King, no less.
      • Could be a case of Character Development or as the anime section above showed, Alternate Character Interpretation on SNK's part as the fighters are never shown to be at their peak when in a relationship and all characters lost their Ryu-level invincibility once they have officially confirmed to be in a relationship with the exception of Andy Bogard who never surpassed Terry despite shunning Mai away. Robert Garcia could be a possible aversion as he teamed up with Ryo in the AoF games Terry lost to Rock Howard and Kyo Kusanagi by the time he and Mary fought/talked together indefinitely. Ryo never got back to his AoF days in KOF after he and King were recognized as a couple. Incidentally happened to Ken Masters too who was champion of SFII.
      • Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury are one continuity; The King of Fighters is another. They share the same basic backstory, but that is where similarities in terms of plot elements end.
    • Played with in SamuraiShodown, though. Haohmaru has a girlfriend, yes, his priority is fighting and Oshizu knows that very well; Nakoruru has Galford as her Dogged Nice Guy, but her own priority is being a Nature Warrior; Charlotte also adheres to the trope after she finds out her affections for Haohmaru won't be returned... OTOH, Hattori Hanzou is married to a fellow Ninja named Kaede (and later was widowed) and Sieger got to tie the knot with his lady in liege, Princess Elizabeth.
  • Adell from Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories spends most of the game loudly proclaiming that he can't stand women. This turns out to be due to a traumatic run-in with a succubus years before.
    • Laharl from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is already 1313 years old, but can't stand sexy women, and doesn't appear to be attracted to non-sexy women either. This might also have something to do with the fact that he is Allergic to Love. He is a perfect example of the "Love is Beneath Me" type. Of course, we should point out that, centuries-old or no, Laharl has yet to complete puberty and is still considered Just a Kid by demon standards - he acts confused/horrified when an older character tries to give him The Talk.
      • In the novels, he's an Unwanted Harem, attracting both young girls (such as Etna, Flonne, her younger sister Ozonne, Gordon's 13-year-old daughter Jane,) and Sakura, an adult woman.
  • Ike from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn is one of these. Alternate explanations exist, of course.
  • Flik from Suikoden has refused a lot of suitors who flirt with him, especially Nina, because he has made a vow to be loyal to his first lover Odessa... even though she's already dead.
  • Ivy from the Soul Series series, amazingly, is strictly celibate despite being Fetish Fuel incarnate. This is due to her cursed lineage, which she doesn't want to risk passing on to a child.
  • As much as the Shippers want to deny it, Link from The Legend of Zelda typically just rescues the princess and leaves it at that. Of course, in a series with humungous amounts of Ship Tease, one can't help but think it's because the developers couldn't decide on which girl to pair him up with.
    • Especially blatant in The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time: Despite being 12 years old, Link is Chick Magnet incarnate. Let's count them: Kokiri Sage Saria, Farmer Girl Malon, Zora Princess Ruto, Probably Princess Zelda and even Gerudo sage Nabooru makes a comment in that direction! Still, he manages to avoid all of them, even the one who tried to get him engaged with her. The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker mostly tried to avoid giving Link such an Unwanted Harem, with Medli instead being slightly attracted to Prince Komali, the two girls on Windfall island either having different problems or already being in love, and Aryll being, well, his sister. Only the creepy fairy-queen is seen flirting with him and she's never seen again after that.
    • Meanwhile, Link and Zelda broke their years long No Hugging, No Kissing agenda in The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks. But it doesn't go beyond the hugging part. (And Link had a rather uncomfortable look on his face when Zelda hugged him; then again, his hat's tip rose.) Also, the game features absolutely no other female characters that could paired up with Link, except if you are a fan of Granny-Shotacon.
    • This is technically subverted if you count The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. The character of the Hero's Shade is heavily implied to have been a previous Link, most likely the one from Ocarnia of Time, and even tells the titular Link of that game that the techniques he is teaching him are not to leave their bloodline confirming that they are of the same family line. So it seems that at least one Link got busy at one point.
    • Subverted in Skyward Sword. At the opening of the game, it is clear Link and Zelda are at least extremely close childhood friends, but no romantic interactions go through between them. There is almost one before a tornado sent by Ghirahim drags Zelda to the surface and Link goes on a quest to save her. By the end of the game, however, Zelda and Link decide to stay on the surface, and the Royal Family in future games has to be built somehow...
  • In Maple Story, the Player Character is this for the "Story' aspect of Gameplay and Story Segregation. Several female NPCs will flirt with the character (even female characters) - including Jenny, Violeta, Cygnus, and most female students at Red Leaf High - but the player seems uninterested. Gameplay wise, however, the game gives two players the option of marrying their characters.
  • Zero, after his tragic first girlfriend, Iris, who he killed, accidentally, by his own hands, likes to keep things merely professional with future female co-workers from now on, as seen with X8's Layer (although he's also oblivious to her feelings)
  • It's possible to play Shepard this way in both Mass Effect games, usually of the "love is a distraction" variety.
    • Samara is a Double Subversion. While her Code does not restrict romance, she merely chooses not to engage in it. It turns out this is because her three daughters all suffer a rare asari condition that basically makes them sexual vampires, and have to live in isolation - except for the one who went on the run and became a serial killer.
  • The Master Chief in Halo, like all SPARTAN-II members, underwent extensive surgeries and procedures to maximize performance. One side effect of his condition is a loss of...er...interest.
    • Although this is only mostly the case. Two members of Black Team were into each other, going so far as to make out in the showers (they were clothed, but it was pretty intense and it's possible they might have gone farther). As luck would have it, another member of their team happened to be an exception as well, apparent from his ratting them out in jealousy.
    • Another Spartan, Maria, appears to have become married and taken on a family after being too badly injured to maintain active service. According to supplemental materials, Kat and Carter of Halo: Reach's Noble Team were previously in a relationship, which is hinted at in the game itself.
  • Prince Sebastian Vael of Dragon Age 2 actively avoids sex, due to his vows of chastity upon becoming a brother of the Chantry. Players can enter a romance him, but don't expect him to sex with you.
    • Disturbingly, this is in part due to the manipulations of his parents. Sebastian's parents see him as superfluous, and did not want him siring children to challenge his brothers' claims to the throne.
  • Felicia from Darkstalkers; she's a nun, the Trope comes with the position.

Web Comics

  • Nikolai Tesla, in this strip of Hark! A Vagrant.
  • Zander in Metanoia fits the last category.
  • Theo from Gold Coin Comics, who is a Monk.
  • Magi-Chan appeared to be one of these at first, and then he was paired off with Silvana.
  • Nathan Hale is the Celibate Smart Guy in The Dreamer.
  • The Reverend Theo of Schlock Mercenary is a literal version, since he took a vow of chastity. He eventually gets married, averted the trope but keeping true to his vow.
  • Howlett, The Hero in Daily Grind, is madly in love with Jolene, the Big Gal in the comic's Five-Man Band, and she's madly in love with him. But they seem unlikely to ever consummate their relationship since: a) he's a snake and she's a squirrel and neither's quite sure how to make that work physically; b) he was her legal guardian till she turned 18, and even though he's only 5 years older than her, the suggestion of Wife Husbandry gives him the Squick; and c) Jo is violently asexual due to her various blood chemistry imbalances and her Abusive Parents.
  • Lancelot du Lac in the early years of Arthur, King of Time and Space (in the Contemporary Arc he was studying to be a minister). Then the plot happened.
  • Gary from Dubious Company, as explained by Team Exposition on the whereabouts of the rest of the team:

Sal: Marty is getting all sorts of girls to fawn over him.
Leeroy: Gary is avoiding getting fawned over by various women.

JOHN: anyway, my point is, who even cares about all that?
JOHN: romance and dating are dumb and boring. we are legendary heroes, and we have bigger fish to fry. like that smug fatass over there on the horizon.

  • Marlene of Jet Dream, apparently indifferent to sex of any sort, thinks of her sex change as a minor inconvenience that occasionally gets in the way of Doing Science. The occasional urge can be dealt with easily enough by using her Jet Dream Vibrostick. This attitude doesn't last forever, though.
  • In Nodwick, Piffany is this, despite having a secret crush on Nodwick, but she has a very good reason. A prophecy stated at her birth claimed that the first time she kissed a man, the recipient would gain a supernatural boon on the cosmic scale, possibly to the point of Rewriting Reality in order for that to occur. Confident that this is meant for a specific event that will avert a possible apocalypse (which it is) Piffany refuses to waste it until she is certain what the event is. In the episode where she tells this to Nodwick (after he "double-doggie dare promises" to keep it secret), she is afflicted by a Love Potion, and goes so far as to have herself bound by shackles in her basement in order to avoid kissing him. In the final arc of the comic, she does indeed use her first kiss to avert an apocalypse and defeat Baphuma'al (sadly, Yeagar is the one who gets the kiss, not Nodwick) and the final scene suggests she is free to show her affections and pursue a relationship.

Web Original

  • Daichi in Greek Ninja, who is not only annoyed by girls' attention, but also appears unaware of their gaze.

Western Animation

  • Ensign (later Lieutenant) Boimler in Star Trek: Lower Decks is this, depending on the interpretation. In "Mining the Mine's Mines" he is the only member of the crew whose fantasy has nothing to do with sex or romance (while Mariner and Rutherford spawn images of Jennifer and Leah Brahms trying to seduce them, Boimler spawns an image of an Admiral offering him a chance to be a hero by fighting the Borg), which both Mariner and Rutherford tease him about. In "Grounded", he barely acknowledges the obvious flirtations of the gorgeous female workers on his family's vineyard, although in a later episode he claims he was ignoring them on purpose because he didn't want to get roped into working there permanently.

Real Life

  • Mohandas Gandhi renounced all sexual activity at the age of 36, while still married. In spite of this, he would frequently sleep naked with very young women and girls, many of his own relation, to "test" himself. Some small controversy has arisen over Gandhi's complicated sexuality now that these stories have surfaced.
  • Sir Isaac Newton died a virgin. He said that one of the greatest things he could boast about is that he never had sex.
  • William James Sidis fits this trope, but is more of a celibate smart guy.
  • Nikola Tesla attributed his genius to the power of celibacy. Kate Beaton did a comic about it.
  • Authority figures aren't above exploiting this trope for propaganda purposes, even if they don't really live up to it. Hitler kept his long affair with Eva Braun out of the public eye, in part, because his propagandists played off the "Love is a Distraction" and "Love is Beneath Me" themes, making it seem that Germany was all that mattered to him.
  • In defiance of this trope's Always Male status, how about Nancy "The White Mouse"Wake? A journalist hailing from New Zealand, she aided the French Resistance, and after her cover was blown, trained with the British SOE, returned to France, and went on to do such Badass things as riding a bicycle for 71 km to get much needed supplies and commanding 7,000 Maquis troops against 22,000 Nazi soldiers. She's the most decorated servicewoman of WWII and would like to be remembered as "the woman who turned down 7,000 horny Frenchmen."
  • Joan of Arc: national heroine of France, and she is well known for her virginity.
  • Many canonized saints in the Roman Catholic Church died as virgins (some of them also martyrs), like Padre Pio, Mary Faustina Kowalska, Saint Ursula, etc...
  • Although some historians suspect Lawrence of Arabia of having homosexual relations, most evidence points to him having a deep-seated fear of sexuality. In fact, his own brother once claimed to be positive that Lawrence died a virgin.
  • Andy Warhol's family insists that he died a virgin, and despite his often-erotic art, there is good evidence in his biography to believe this. He was also a devout Byzantine Catholic, which may have played a part in his decision.
  • Tim Gunn said that he hasn't had sex in 29 years.