Unresolved Sexual Tension

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Unresolved sexual tension. It's the engine that makes television run."

Michael Weatherly, in an NCIS episode commentary

Two people are obviously attracted to each other, but some element of the story is keeping them apart. This tension is frequently referred to as UST in fandom, where it is pronounced "oost" or Yu-Ess-Tee. Also known as "Long Unresolved Sexual Tension".

Belligerent Sexual Tension is a way to keep the UST by having the couple fight each other too much to actually get together.

They Do is when it gets resolved (Literally Falling in Love might help). Shipping Bed Death and Strangled by the Red String are when it gets resolved badly.

Compare Will They or Won't They?, Just Friends, Moment Killer (a staple of a UST relationship), My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That (a funny way to Lampshade Hanging UST), But I Would Really Enjoy It.

Contrast Official Couple, when the the couple are already together, and Friends with Benefits, where the primary bond in the relationship is sex.

Not to be confused with the Utah State Theatre, the University of Santo Tomás (in the Philippines), or the infamous Universidad Santo Tomás in Chile, or the University of St. Thomas (Missouri, Texas, or Minnesota).[1]

Examples of Unresolved Sexual Tension include:

Anime and Manga

  • Mazinger Z: Kouji and Sayaka as a couple defined Belligerent Sexual Tension. In spite of being attracted to each other, fierce competitiveness and pride issues on both sides prevent them from reaching an understanding and being together. It was not so bad in the original manga, though. And in another manga version, they kissed when they thought Kouji was going to die. He survived, but Kouji avoided Sayaka for a while because he was still too afraid and unsecure.
  • Ah! My Goddess has this in spades, diamonds, clubs, and especially hearts between Keiichi and Belldandy. They're not only the Official Couple, they practically live like a married couple, look like one to everyone else whenever they leave home, they have several 'shippers on deck, and it's obvious to viewers/readers they want a Relationship Upgrade. Then why hasn't their relationship moved past kindergarten-level? Keiichi is extremely shy, and Belldandy has stated that she is not ready to fulfill his desires; not to mention she appears to be oblivious to all things sexual. Still, with all the Crowning Moments of Heartwarming they've shared, resolving the tension seems like a Foregone Conclusion.
    • To illustrate her oblivious nature, when they were standing in front of a love motel in the rain and Keiichi was wondering whether to go in with her, Belldandy grabbed his hand, appearing to give him a signal that she was ready, turns out she just wanted to know if she should make the rain stop and was totally unaware of the love motel.
      • And the only thing Keichii could bring himself to do when they went inside was ask the desk clerk if they could borrow an umbrella.
    • There's also Peorth, Belldandy's rival in the wish-granting biz, who's also in love with Keiichi. Fortunately, she puts her Unresolved Sexual Tension to good use: Because romantic (both literal and as a euphemism) wishes are her specialty, she makes efforts to bring Keiichi and Belldandy together.
  • Kaze no Stigma has Ayano who does not realize what she wants, she calls Kazuma a jerk, but tries to hold his hand at an amusement park, blushes all the time and flies into a towering rage if Kazuma makes a move on her or if she sees him with another woman.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion is chock full of this (mainly between Shinji/Asuka and Misato/Kaji). Of course, it doesn't really go anywhere. Okay, Misato and Kaji's was resolved (and then they got screwed. Figures).
  • Code Geass. The shippers probably went ballistic over the romance of this series: three valid pairings for the male lead alone, and enough done by one side or the other to establish the attraction as canon. The relationship between the two Tsunderes, Kallen and Lelouch, was especially frustrating because practically all the moments they had were interrupted by a character or an event, that is until she stole a kiss from him near the end, only to get completely ignored by him, for a good reason.. The other two love interests were Shirley who spent most of the series with a crush on Lelouch and then died one episode after Lelouch finally come to actually notice and acknowledge the girl's feelings and C.C. who spent most of the series helping Lelouch just so she could pass her curse of immortality onto him in the end and die. There was also that fact that she kissed him a lot.
And there's Kaguya, who's certain that the Unresolved Sexual Tension between Zero and his Number Two and Red Queen has been resolved, as it were. ("We are Zero's three court ladies~!") She then plots to get in on the action, in-line with her actual romantic aspirations, and suspected dubious sexuality. Too bad she doesn't get that much screentime.
  • Ergo Proxy, Vincent and Re-l. The definition of their relationship.
  • Mariasama ga Miteru introduces massive amounts of Unresolved Sexual Tension between students of an all-girl high school.
  • Of course, the Suzumiya Haruhi series features this between Mikuru and Kyon, although this tends to depend on your camp and which theories you may subscribe to. Unfortunately for them, Haruhi isn't about to allow that come hell or high water due to her own Unresolved Sexual Tension with him (as exemplified by how Kyon saved the world from being remade by stealing a kiss from Haruhi, and the ending of "Someday in the Rain"), and on top of that it's also forbidden for Mikuru by Time Traveller-rules. Her future self tells him she's glad to see him again, which strongly implies that nothing ever came of it – or, at least, nothing that Mikuru
    • If you believe Unreliable Narrator Kyon, he doesn't take future Mikuru's suggestion that he kiss her younger self while she's asleep. But considering that he's likely to get written out of existence if he upsets Haruhi, he's got ample reason to not tell anyone if he did.
  • Sango and Miroku from Inuyasha! The Unresolved Sexual Tension is so obvious that their grope-slap exchange becomes a running gag throughout the series.
    • Oh my God, Inuyasha and Kagome have this in spades, although it often manifests as Belligerent Sexual Tension
    • This is even parioded in a Robot Chicken episode. Where the dad of the girl who was watching the series got really into it. When his daughter told him each episode only comes on every week, he states, "I'm not going to wait another week to see if Inuyasha and Kagome get together!"
  • A more one-sided example is that of Setsuna toward Konoka in Mahou Sensei Negima! This gets turned up to nine thousand for the Spring and Summer anime specials. Resolving now, starting from chapter 252 with an epic snog Pactio. Doesn't seem to be one-sided, either (Konoka was the aggressive one during the kiss. Her tongue, not Setsuna's).
    • Negi has some form of this with most of the primary female cast members. There's also a good chunk of this between Kotaro and Natsumi.
  • Lori/Coby, despite being 12 and 13 respectively, have enough Unresolved Sexual Tension to sink Tidal Wave Shockwave Tidal Wave. Finally resolved in the distant finale where they are shown to have gotten married.
  • Spike and Faye from Cowboy Bebop. Mostly one-sided, on Faye's part. Spike seems rather hung up on Julia. However, Watanabe once stated in an interview that "Spike may have feelings for Faye, he's just not one to outwardly express them." Considering the type of person Spike is, it makes sense.
    • No, it's that he's still holding a torch for Julia after all these years, and even Faye confesses her feelings as being familial as opposed to sexual.
  • Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye in Fullmetal Alchemist combine this with both Bodyguard Crush and Subordinate Excuse. It's especially present in the manga and the Brotherhood anime, which also feature increasing Unresolved Sexual Tension between Ed and Winry. The latter Unresolved Sexual Tension does eventually get a resolution. The Royai Unresolved Sexual Tension is actually acknowledged by Riza in-series and used for her own ends, very awesomely.
    • Word of God in the third art book says that the series ended without them getting married because of the military's anti-fraternization law. The Chronicles book released in autumn 2011 does confirm that they remain side by side for pretty much the rest of their lives, though whether They Do ever happens is still left open for interpretation.
  • In Full Metal Panic!, Kaname and Sôsuke — namely the anime. At the end of the third season, just when it looks like they're finally at least going to hug, they're interrupted. Also, Mao and Kurz have a lot of Unresolved Sexual Tension which is eventually resolved in the Light Novels.
  • Godchild and Count Cain fall into this trope easily. Half of the series is Cain kicking some ass the other half is having angsty dialogue with manservant Riff about how they'll accompany each other to hell and other such lovely things. Despite all of this the manga-ka Kaori Yuki claims they weren't a couple in the Angel Sanctuary art book.
  • Vassalord IS this trope. Except it kind of gets resolved. Kind of. But not really as Charley and Johnny still haven't done it despite obviously WANTING to. Charley walks in on Johnny showering without a problem.
  • Hana Kimi has a lot of this. We've got a girl disguised as a boy rooming with a boy that knows she's a girl but she doesn't know he knows, and they both have crushes on each other. And then another boy has a crush on her, but doesn't know she's a girl. Tons of Will They or Won't They?. Plus, taking place at an all-boys Boarding School, there's a ton of Ho Yay between male side characters.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei also has a lot of this, essentially the upshot of every single girl in the class being in love with the teacher. He is almost pathologically resistant to their affections (ethical concerns aside), but is painfully aware of the Unresolved Sexual Tension, which is why he has stopped resisting Tsunetsuki's stalking as doing so only spurs her to more extreme behavior. The class exists in a kind of equilibrium where the Unresolved Sexual Tension never quite boils over, at least until somebody or something kicks over the anthill, such as Nozomu's arranged marriage in season 1, his flirtatious body-double in Zan, and an out-of-left-field love-confession from a random student in the same season.
  • In Princess Tutu, once Fakir finds out about Ahiru's secret there starts to be a lot of Unresolved Sexual Tension between the two, normally centered around Fakir accidentally being around when Ahiru turns from a duck into a (naked) girl.
    • It doesn't help that another character repeatedly forces her to change in front of him on purpose
  • Chrono Crusade is chock full of Unresolved Sexual Tension for a bunch of pairings, but particularly Rosette and Chrono. In the manga, Chrono accidentally walks in on Rosette when she's taking a shower, and in the anime at one point Rosette shakes her rear end in Chrono's face in an attempt to get a favor out of him. In both versions they later become the Official Couple.
    • But...wait...isn't Rosette a NUN?!
  • Daisuke Moriyama's World Embryo, repeats Chrono Crusade's structure. Amane x Riku was interrupted by Amane's death. So now we have Rena x Riku (lampshaded massively due to them being "Mom" and "Dad" to Nene, potential kiss interrupted by Nene), Riku x Nene, Yui x Riku (averted), Yui x Takao (averted by death), Hayato x Suzu (come on, she helps him with going to the toilet and bathing...), Kota x Mizaki, etc.
  • Kirihara from Darker than Black had a few potential love interests that never went anywhere. Most of the tension is with the protagonist Hei (despite the fact that she's trying to catch him), who she seems to have developed a crush on in his Obfuscating Stupidity Nice Guy persona, while he mostly doesn't seem to notice. Another is her second-in-command, a man too shy to admit it who later professes his love for her—unfortunately for him, both of them lost their memory of the incident afterward and it was one-sided. Her interactions with Jack Simon/November 11 could potentially be seen this way as well.
  • There's so much tension between Battler and Beato in Umineko no Naku Koro ni that it's not even funny. It's confirmed canon in the fifth and sixth arcs.
  • Rito from To LOVE-Ru is practically made of this trope, towards Lala and Haruna especially. He'd had a crush on Haruna that was at least a year old by the start of the story, and all of there interaction is chock full of Unresolved Sexual Tension. It's little better with Lala, who he refuses to admit to even the possibility for 100 chapters.
    • Let's not even get started on the Unresolved Sexual Tension the girls have towards him either, which include one girl sneaking into his bed and another freaking out over sending him a text message. In fact it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to declare To LOVE-Ru one big pile of Unresolved Sexual Tension.
  • Revy and Rock from Black Lagoon. Lampshaded by Eda in a conversation with Revy. This proves to be a sore subject with Revy as she obviously desires a relationship with Rock but seems to have no idea how to broach the subject with him.
  • Hajime no Ippo is a very shounen manga and all, but, I mean.. This and this I mean, come on!
  • In Pokémon Special, Winona and Wallace had a falling out in the past. Wallace is very much still interested in continuing the relationship, even going so far as turning down the Champion position to be a Gym Leader as to spend more time with her. Winona, on the other hand, despite the many hints that she does still love him, has insecurity issues about having a stronger boyfriend. The last we see of the two ends with Winona musing about why their relationship failed the first time.
    • Sapphire and Ruby aren't much better. Which becomes interesting when you think about who their mentors are. (Hint, look up.)
  • Hayate the Combat Butler. It's probably the second place for the story's existence. Between Nagi and Hinagiku you could probably drown standing up, and then there's four other girls after Hayate.
    • And that's before you look at Wataru.
  • There's truckloads of this between Ushio and Sumika from Sasameki Koto.
  • Akira and Fumi from Aoi Hana appear to enter such a phase in the manga, after Fumi confesses to a hapless Akira.
  • After the Time Skip in Bunny Drop, Rin and Kouki are in this stage. In the end, they don't get together, and Rin ultimately ends up with Daikichi instead.
  • Orcelito and Kiliko of +C: Sword and Cornett. There's just no other way to describe it.
  • Spice and Wolf revolves around Holo and Lawrence growing closer and closer over the course of a complicated game of banter and flirtation, while also being kept apart by Lawrence's mortality and other issues. The tension seems like it's resolving itself in incremental steps, however.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia. Italy and Germany... So much Italy and Germany.
    • In one episode, American and England are arguing and France actually says (in the English dub) "When you two are done relieving sexual tensions, we have a meeting we need to finish!" Then there's Switzerland when he bumps into Austria at the grocery store and a painfully awkward lunch follows...
  • When you really think about it, Soul Eater seems to be leaning toward this, despite Word of God saying that most of the relationships were going to remain platonic.
    • Tsubaki proves to be the horniest member of the True Companions, which is explained when Black*Star admits that they sleep together in the same room.
    • Soul constantly uses Maka's lack of sex appeal as the reason for everything from why they don't get along earlier on in the manga to why no one has requested her as a partner in the more recent chapters. The chapter of Lust, however, would suggest he's lying, although Your Mileage May Vary on who, exactly, Soul and Maka look like when genderbent. Maka also complains that he doesn't refer to her as being like an angel, despite Ox referring to Kim the same way. Doesn't quite work out when you consider the fact that Ox and Kim are boyfriend and girlfriend, not partners. Soul does eventually give in and call her an angel during their fight with Gopher, although he might just be being sarcastic.
  • Hellsing's Alucard and Integra. It's especially apparent in the manga, where she acts like a Tsundere towards him and he tells her that her resolve and will for battle "excite" him.
    • Also, Pip and Seras, at least in the beginning.
  • In Naruto, the title character was crushing on Sakura, but the latter crushes on Sasuke and views Naruto as an idiot.
    • Then there's Hinata, who was eyeing Naruto for all these years, yet he was gushing on Sakura Until, in Naruto Shippuden, the ending were Naruto marries Hinata and Sakura got Sasuke.

Comic Books

  • Tim Drake (Red Robin) and Cassandra Cain (Formerly Batgirl) from DC Comics. Word of God from Damian Scott (a penciler of many Batgirl comics) is that the pair "kind of act like they're in love, but just don't know it". There's this image on that matter as well.
    • The relationship between Dick Grayson (Nightwing) and Helena Bertinelli (Huntress) has paradoxically developed into this because they started off as Friends with Benefits. Meanwhile, he also has had various levels of UST with Barbara Gordon and Starfire.
  • Quite a bit between Gambit and Storm, despite the former's romance with Rogue. Tellingly, their friendship has soured a bit since the latter's marriage to Black Panther
  • Superman and Wonder Woman. Supes has always had Lois, but Diana has gone for long stretches without a steady boyfriend (poor Steve Trevor kept getting written in and out of continuity). Elseworlds stories sometimes depict them getting together after Lois and Steve have died, since Clark and Diana may be ageless. (And then there's Project A-ko...)
    • Superman and Lois had a good 60+ year run of this in the comics (although, their Earth 2 counterparts tied the knot decades ago, they got together in the movies, and they had even started dating in the comics current continuity about 6 years prior). Superman was either too Super for an earth woman or too alien or he had to stay dedicated to his mission. Post-Crisis, it was more that he wanted Lois to love him as Clark since he considered that to be his True Self.
      • And now with the DC relaunch of September 2011 we come back to this. Just read Superman #1.
  • Flash Gordon and Princess Aura. It never happens though, and that's for the best. She marries Prince Barin, Flash stays with Dale, and they all manage to remain friends.
  • Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel when written by Brian Reed.
    • And earlier with Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson -- although the latter admittedly got resolved, at least until until One More Day.
  • Link and Zelda have this in the Valiant Comics series based on the original two Zelda games. It's only unresolved because she doesn't want to admit she returns his feelings; if it were up to him, they'd probably be married already.
    • At the end of the Nintendo Power series based on The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past, Zelda tells Link that the link between them was so strong while she was in Ganon's clutches, but now Link is so distant and she is alone. She will never forget the time they were together in their dreams...
  • Empowered and Thugboy are the official couple, but there is mutual Unresolved Sexual Tension between both of them and Ninjette. And the Caged Demonwolf likes to point it out.
  • The Scott Pilgrim series has a massive amount of Unresolved Sexual Tension between Scott and his Unlucky Childhood Friend Lisa.
    • There's also some between Scott and Kim, although that does get (more or less) resolved.
  • Scrooge McDuck and Glittering Goldie in The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.
  • In Iron Man, Tony has to juggle this trope with his assistant, Pepper Pots, and Maria Hill.
  • Thor has Sif and Jane Foster, relationship with the latter is tricky since Jane's a mortal.
  • Archie Andrews has been caught between Betty and Veronica for the last several decades. Plus, can't decide which friend who he loves.

Fan Works

  • Take it as read, ninety percent of fanfiction is all about resolving this very trope. The other ten percent? Slash resolving perceived sexual tension.
  • Rosario + Vampire fanfiction Thawing Permafrost had 34 chapters of the stuff between the two leads, student Dan and teacher Mizore, before their awkward Relationship Upgrade in chapter 35.

Films -- Live Action

  • Riker and Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation. They eventually get married in the last TNG movie.
    • Picard and Crusher-Never resolved in canon. They get over themselves in one of the novels, though.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera has Amber Sweet and Luigi. It's particularly evident at the beginning of "Mark It Up".
    • A bit squicky, but Graverobber for Shilo in "Needle Through a Bug".
  • In L.627, a French film directed by Bertrand Tavernier, narcotics cop "Lulu" Marguet is in love with HIV-positive prostitute Cecile, but they are kept apart by the disease.
  • In the Mood for Love is entirely about UST.
  • The 1998 Avengers film, between Steed and Mrs. Peel. They flirt throughout the movie, but can't get together because (as in the original series) Mrs. Peel's husband is missing (and presumed dead), so he could show up at any time.
  • For the first two films, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. In light of, ah, later revelations, it is a very good thing that nothing comes of this.
  • In the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, Raphael develops a crush on April some time after he rescues her from the Foot; he's noticeably bashful when she thanks him for rescuing her and she returns the favor by staying by his side when he's put into a coma to make sure he doesn't get killed. But the tension between them is not brought throughout the rest of the movie or any of the sequels.
  • Cairo Time. Unresolved sexual tension is the plot of the movie. Seriously, nothing happens but sexual tension. Absolutely nothing. And yet it's lovely. In that Brief Encounter sort of way.
  • In Inception, Arthur asks Ariadne to kiss him so that Fischer's dream projections don't detect them.

Arthur: Quick, give me a kiss.

  • Ariadne kisses him, then looks around.*

Ariadne: They're still looking at us.
Arthur: Yeah, it was worth a shot.

    • There was pretty much no way the projections would have refrained from attacking Arthur. They can sense the dreamer and don't care what he's doing. Arthur just wanted Ariadne to kiss him. The kiss is never brought up again.
    • If you watch her face, she doesn't really seem to mind being tricked. It's not brought up again since they spend the rest of the film in different dream levels.
  • Lost in Translation: The entire movie is about Bob and Charlotte's sexual tension and them trying to resolve it despite both of them being married.
  • Frantic, the 1988 thriller by Roman Polanski. There's loads of unspoken sexual tension between Harrison Ford's character and French smuggler Michelle, but as Ford is desperately searching for his kidnapped wife nothing happens.
  • Pulp Fiction never resolves the obvious sexual tension between Vincent and Mia.
  • The Audrey Hepburn film The Nun's Story has UST between Sister Luke (Hepburn) and the doctor she works for, Dr. Fortunati (Peter Finch), while she is in the Congo.
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, between Kirk and Dr. Gillian Taylor (Catherine Hicks). "Like they say in your century, I don't even have your telephone number."
  • In the In-Universe books in American Dreamer, Rebecca and Dimitri have this, despite Dimitri being gay.
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean movies has Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, and James Norrington is this in spades. Until the later movies.


  • For a 19th-century novel, Jane Eyre contains a surprising amount of fairly obvious sexual tension. The scene in which Rochester, unwilling to let Jane return to her room, ends up clinging to her hand and acting as if he is about to kiss her comes to mind. Especially since it follows a scene in which she saves him from being burned alive in his bed.
  • From the same time period, Persuasion also packs a pretty good punch. The first scene where Anne and Captain Wentworth are reunited after so many years, even though they do no more than exchange awkward pleasantries, is ridiculously charged.
  • Leafpool and Crowfeather in the third Warrior Cats series after being forced to "go their separate ways" by the freakin' Warrior Code. Also a lot of tension between them in Starlight before Crowfeather confesses his feelings at the end of the book. According to the narrator, the tension literally crackles like lightning.
  • The tension between Elphaba and Glinda, from Wicked, was rather obvious, especially after Dillmond's death, to their travels to Emerald City. They also share two farewell kisses.
The musical seems to play this up, due to the fact many of the actresses who play them act rather... Gay. They exchange many long glances, and often hold hands.
  • The '90s Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew crossover books included a ton of UST between Nancy and Frank, including at least one illicit kiss; it could never come to anything, of course, since they both had steady love interests in their own series.
  • Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice runs on subtle but pervasive UST, at least for the second half. Before that, almost the entire story is Elizabeth POV and she insists she's very much not interested in Darcy.
  • Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind has a fairly significant amount of UST. Main character Kvothe's collection of women (and at least a few men) who want in his pants would be the envy of any harem manga, and his obliviousness to their smoldering lust nearly makes one question the direction in which his swing set be swingin' (one opens the door in the middle of the night wearing a sheet and not much else. He couldn't be bothered). Kvothe eventually falls hard for Denna, but the fact that she is a) kind of a ho and b) extraordinarily difficult to keep track of fuels the UST for a large percentage of the book.
  • There's a lot of UST between Harry and Murphy in The Dresden Files. This being the series it is, it's heavily lampshaded. In Changes, it seemed like it was going to get resolved, until a bullet punched a hole through Harry and he fell into a lake to drown and (apparently) die, about fifteen minutes before they were going to meet. He did often use cold water to deal with frustration...
  • In Margaret Mahy's Maddigan's Quest, and its TV remake, teen protagonists Garland and Timon are ridiculously shippable, despite never flirting outright. At the end of the series, as Timon, Eden and Jewel return to their own time, the pair tell each other that they'll 'always know you'.
  • Ron and Hermione, for a good portion of the books. It was most noticeable starting in Goblet of Fire, but was (finally) resolved in Deathly Hallows.
  • Azure Bonds has Alias and Akabar bel Akash. Why exactly is he willing to put his life on the line over and over again, against dragons, evil archmages, liches, and elder gods to help this complete stranger? They actually discuss, although not very seriously, the prospect of marriage, but decide against it because he is already married to two other women, and his wives have a veto over any other prospective wives, and she has no interest in joining his seraglio.
  • Splinter of the Minds Eye was written soon after A New Hope came out, and meant to be the basis for a Made for TV Movie if the previous film didn't work out. Since Harrison Ford's character wasn't there, Luke and Leia have a clear field. Neither of them ever make a move, but it's clear in almost every interaction that although neither thinks it would be appropriate, it would be very good.
  • In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet, Geary and Desjani. They know it would be inappropriate. Which makes it all the more annoying that everyone else in the fleet find it adds extra romance.
  • The Inheritance Cycle. Oh, dear Guntera, those books. The most fun thing is that even after the last book is over, the sexual tension between Arya/Eragon and Murtagh/Nasuada is still unresolved and will likely remain so. Ah, well... that's what Fanfic is for.
    • At least Roran is Happily Married to Katrina, and Saphira finally found a mate in Fírnen (despite the unfortunately brief nature of their relationship).
  • Some levels of it in Animorphs with the Rachel/Tobias and Jake/Cassie pairings.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, there's Sandor "The Hound" Clegane and Sansa. Beginning with him making sarcastic japes and mocking innocent Sansa's ideals to breaking into her room during the night, getting drunk and sleeping in her bed while waiting for her, and then putting a knife to her throat which culminates in what looks to be an almost rape scene. Sansa gets away with just singing a song for him, and he leaves behind his bloody cloak. As of currently, Sansa has been having dreams about Sandor having a wedding night with her, constantly compares every man that makes a move on her to him, and has convinced herself that Sandor kissed her that night (he didn't) and is disappointed that he only left her with his cloak.
  • In Cyrano De Bergerac, there's Cyrano and Christian, who are both in love with Roxanne. But Christian can't do poetry to save his life, while Cyrano can and ended up writing Christian's love letters to her.

Live Action TV

  • Lost
    • Jack and Kate (seasons 1-3)
    • Sawyer and Kate (seasons 1-2)
    • Jack and Juliet
    • Charlie and Claire
    • Sayid and Nadia (in flashbacks)
  • Flight of the Conchords The Prime Minister of New Zealand and a character played by Lucy Lawless. At the end, Murray says to the Prime Minister, "Forget it, it's New Zealandtown"
  • Everywhere in Bones. The season four finale shows how Brennan and Booth would be if they got married—it's really boring without the UST. And now Word of God states that Booth remembers the fantasy. Booth's present feelings might be the result of brain damage and everyone from Angela's psychic to his own Badass Grandpa is telling him to hook up with Brennan. And episode 100 reveals that they were attracted to each other a year before the series started but then had a very bad falling out. Back in the present they finally open up to each other on camera, but Bones tearfully admits she can't get rid of her doubts about relationships and Booth is tired of waiting for her to change.
  • Joel and Maggie in Northern Exposure. Resolved, unresolved, averted, inverted, subverted, lampshades, and every other durn thing under the sun.
  • On Chuck, virtually every semi-regular female character except his sister has this with Chuck. In the first season, people thought there was even UST with her.
  • CSI: Grissom and Sara. "Pin me," anyone? Still present even though they've gotten together, although now it's more like "Repressed Sexual Tension" since two members of the same shift aren't supposed to date. Plus, Grissom's her supervisor. Again when Sara leaves, then returns as a guest during season 9 with an undertone of the relationship maybe falling apart. Ultimately Sealed with a Kiss when William Peterson followed Jorja Fox in leaving the show - only the second kiss they ever have on-screen. The first was in Goodbye and Good Luck. Now that Sara's back and Grissom is gone, though,Lab Rats Hodges and Wendy became the main UST couple. Lampshaded in a Season 9 episode when one of their co-workers says what the rest are thinking and asks why they don't just admit to each other how they feel. They do, in the "Take That, Darker and Edgier Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) ''Battlestar Galactica'' Remakes!" episode. Hodges then transfers to another shift to ensure they don't get fired, and if they've hooked up since then I haven't seen it.
Wendy finally plants a big one on Hodges in the "Field Mice" episode. But then Wendy left the series.
UST is also present with Warrick and Catherine.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess. Xena and Gabrielle. So much.
    • And Xena and Ares. And Xena and Hercules. And Xena and Iolaus. And Xena and Draco. And Xena and Borias. You get the pattern?
    • Also, Gabrielle and Joxer.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy and Spike for most of the series. Also Buffy and Angel. Basically anything that breathes. Or... doesn't, I guess...
    • Also, Buffy and Xander in the comic continuation "Season 9".
  • Firefly - The merchanteer Serenity had Mal and Inara, and Simon and Kaylee. The entire concept was skewered beautifully in the episode "War Stories". Wash declares his suspicion of UST between his wife Zoe and captain Mal. Mal is dumbfounded by the accusation: while they do have a long history together, their relationship is merely that of old friends/war buddies. Once the situation has resolved, Mal tries to make a show of it by insisting that he and Zoe kiss to "resolve the sexual tension". There's so little romantic chemistry between the two when they try that even Jayne, the crudest and more lecherous of the crew, is unnerved by it.
    • "Take me, sir. Take me hard."
      • "Now somethin' about that is just downright unsettlin'."
    • And there is also plenty of tension between, surprisingly, River and Jayne. And the fans seem to like it, what with all of those Rayne fics.
    • As for Simon and Kaylee, the U turns into an R in the Big Damn Movie. While River watches.
  • Law and Order Special Victims Unit between Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson; the Elephant in the Living Room until the episode "Fault". Neal Baer, head writer for the show, has also said that Olivia has UST with Assistant DA Alexandra Cabot. This makes sense of "Loss", where the stoic, One of the Boys Action Girl weeps over her.
Also Elliot and recurring character Dr. Rebecca Hendrix. Even Olivia mentions it.
  • Elsewhere in the Law and Order canon, Law and Order: Criminal Intent has devoted partners Robert Goren and Alexandra Eames. The UST is finally acknowledged in one episode by Goren's brother Frank, who irritably tells Bobby to "take Eames to a motel and get it out of your system." Since Alex is Bobby's Berserk Button, you can imagine the response. This one is unusual in that it has a fairly non-sexual feel to it - they act as if they're in love with each other, but there isn't a lot of heat between them.
  • There were also hints of this with Mike and Connie on the original series.
  • And in the UK version, it's strongly implied that DS Matt Devlin and CP James Steel have feelings for CP Alesha Philips. It actually becomes fairly obvious in each man's separate, but similar reactions to the video of her rape—James seems thoroughly sickened by it and can barely stand to watch it, while Matt can't watch it at all, but is clearly just as sickened by what he can still hear.
  • Pam and Jim from the American version of The Office. A lot of critical speculation said that its resolution would destroy the show. Its continuing strength even after dealing with the UST is a testament to the writing team.
  • Luther: Between John Luther and Alice Morgan, he's a big black cop with anger issues. She's a small redheaded sociopath who commits multiple murders. And yet they tend to get into each others personal space and look a heartbeat away from hate sex.
  • Sliders: Being a Genre Blind Chick Magnet, Quinn has this with both female regulars as well as any Girl of the Week. Ironically, Quinn is eventually replaced by his Alternate Universe counterpart, who seeks girls a lot more actively but doesn't have nearly the same luck as the other Quinn, who wasn't really looking.
  • Stargate SG-1: O'Neill and Carter are the epitome of this. Behind-the-scenes forces make any romantic feelings between them genuinely appear and disappear at apparent random (as opposed to Will They or Won't They?). Nonetheless, it showed up least once a season. It's so obvious it hurts. Them being married in at least one AU doesn't help. And kissing. Word of God votes in favor of the romance. The producer stated in an interview that while it was never presented officially on the show, "in my mind, they got together [after O'Neill retired] and have been together ever since." After O'Neill left the show, Daniel and Vala took over the job of teasing the audience about the potential of their relationship, though it was less heavy-handed in that case. Well, at least until they got together in a timeline that ended up being reset.
  • Sheppard and Weir provide the UST on Stargate Atlantis. Until Weir leaves the show in the fourth season premier, that is.
    • And backing up a second, a deleted scene from one episode strongly suggests that O'Neill and Carter finally got their resolution on.
  • Mulder and Scully from The X-Files. Almost every single episode from seasons 1-7 had some kind of UST moment. Some episodes had UST that was palpable it was painful, like the neck-inspection scene of "Ice". It's insane that it took them seven years to do anything about it. Plus, those heated gazes that could shoot the temperature in the room up ten degrees. They say so much just looking at each other that at times, it makes physical contact kind of superfluous. They tend to exclude other characters in the room when they do it, so it makes everyone else feel like they're seeing something they shouldn't. It's awesome.
    • It starts with the pilot, when a freaked-out Scully bangs on Mulder's door in the middle of the night, enters his room, and peels off her shirt so he can inspect the unusual marks she just noticed on her back. Granted, the moment is a little out of character (from that point on, Scully was noticeably more collected and level-headed, and also more modest), but still. And their teen-hormonal fits of lust and jealousy in "Syzygy"?!
    • To say nothing of the Diana Fowley fiasco... was anybody else expecting Scully just to shoot her and have done with it? And to think Mulder perceived Scully's hatred of Fowley as professional distrust...yeah, right.
    • Probably the most shining example of their UST would be the final scene of "The Unnatural" with Mulder "teaching" Scully to play baseball. Lots of touching, lots of double talk, and three little words (no, not those three little words): "Hips before hands."
  • Many fans commented on a particular, serious case with Real Life actors Selena Gomez and David Henrie, who play Alex Russo and Justin Russo, from Wizards of Waverly Place. The case is serious due to the actors' strong chemistry that turned the recent[when?] film's heartwarming, brother-sister scenes into almost romantic, flirtatious moments. And because it's a Disney production.
  • Angel - Angel and Cordelia and Wesley and Fred absolutely torture the audience with this for years. Both cases are finally resolved in the final season with the deaths of both women. Cordelia and Angel never get to have sex, and it's unclear if Fred and Wesley ever do (she has a line while she's dying about "finally" getting him up to her bedroom, but they might have slept together at his place). This could fit with all the A.I deaths on this show. Doyle died right after kissing Cordelia, after pining after her for his entire time on the show, Fred died only one episode after finally getting together with Wesley, and Wesley died right as he was beginning to get along with Illyria.
  • Present between Maddie and Jonathan on several episodes of Jonathan Creek. Refreshing in that both actors were well outside the established romantic lead type. If anything Jonathan and Carla had it worse in the fourth series. Not helped by the fact that they dated, broke up due to a silly misunderstanding, and the next time they saw each other Carla was married. Whoops.
  • Queer as Folk positively runs on the unresolvedness of Stuart and Vince's relationship. They are best friends from childhood, and Vince at least has been madly in love with Stuart for years, and as the series progresses, Stuart seems to reciprocate in his own way. They kiss, dance together, hold hands, and at one point even make it as far as the bedroom before stopping the situation from progressing any further. This hesitation is implied to actually stem from their intense feelings for each other, as they both seem to feel that actually having sex would reduce their relationship to the same level as Stuart's constant one-night-stands. As of the finale they appear to be in a contented quasi-romantic relationship, but whether they have actually done the deed is left ambiguous.
  • This was the whole premise of Moonlighting, a romantic Dramedy series starring Bruce Willis and Cybil Sheppard as private detectives. The whole show jumped the shark in the fifth season when they finally consummated their relationship; the tension was simply gone and it become yet another sitcom. Lampshaded in the series finale, a great example of the show's frequent Breaking the Fourth Wall. The two detectives come back to the office to find it being dismantled by people working for ABC; an ABC network executive tells them that viewers had enjoyed watching them fall in love, but after they'd already fallen they lost interest.[2]
  • The title character and his doctor in the short-lived show Jake 2.0. While they came close at one point to "consummating their relationship", the show was cancelled before anything could come of it. Word of God is that, had they been allowed to finish off the season, they would have ended up living Happily Ever After.
  • Essentially the series spanning relationship of Harm and Mac in JAG, as half of their spats in and outside the courtroom liked to play with this. The wake of failed relationships also seemed to keep their UST alive and well, as both Harm and Mac would have a new love interest by mid-season or the start of a new season. This lasted until the final episode where they decide to finally get married.
  • Friends, obviously. That show lived off UST, primarily that of Ross and Rachel. They would resolve it once, then something will go wrong, cue angry break up, the UST will slowly build up again over time, over and over again. When Chandler and Monica started up a sexual relationship that deepened into love, it was a relief.
  • Niles and Daphne on Frasier, in one of the most drawn-out examples, with some absolutely brutal Moment Killers and a plethora of Paolos. Opinion is mixed on the effect of them getting together on the last seasons of the show. It ran for four more years thereafter, and even after they did get together, it took them almost an entire season to consummate. Of the four seasons, they were married for two.
    • Frasier and Roz suffer this a bit as well, but nothing ever really comes of it.
  • Undeniably, Jack and Liz on 30 Rock, no matter how much Tina Fey says it's not going to happen.
    • More recently Jack and his mother-in-law, Diana (who's around his age). Definitely not as sqiucky as it sounds. They began working together to bring his wife home and are highly attracted to each other.
  • Sue Thomas and Jack Hudson on Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye. A few episodes plays with this, e.g. "The Newlywed Game" where the pair goes undercover as a married couple, and "The Kiss" where Jack fakes having a affair with Sue to maintain their cover at a law office they infiltrated.
  • Tony and Angela from Who's The Boss?—to the point where their Dance of Denial annoyed even the secondary characters.
  • Shawn and Juliet from Psych are definitely showing what looks like some UST, granted it's not the premise around which the show is built (thank God). There was a moment in season 2 where Shawn and Jules almost kissed but Jules wound up rebuking him and in season 3 Shawn was turned down for a date with the girl from the aquarium because she didn't want to get in the way. Shawn himself has a high school potential sweetheart "The one who got away" named Abigail. They met again at their high school reunion which led to resolving a lot of their UST. But just when Abigail seemed interested in pursuing a new relationship, Juliet was in Shawn's line of sight and he clumsily but politely backs out of it. Several episodes later he decides to go for it with Abigail and just as he gets popcorn for her, Juliet tries to resolve their UST.
    • Shawn and Jules finally gave into their feeling for each other in season 5, and started dating.
  • In NCIS, despite both characters having relationships with other people over the course of the show, Tony and Ziva have kept up an ongoing unresolved sexual tension for five seasons and counting. The series intentionally capitalizes on the UST with episodes like "Under Covers", in which they are obliged to pose as married assassins and fake having a lot of sex in the process, and "Boxed In", in which they spend most of the episode Locked in a Box.
    • Lampshaded by Gibbs in "Smoked". "You two done playing grabass?"
    • Lampshaded by a (married) Hooker with a Heart of Gold who instantly sees the UST between Tony and Ziva. She offers to help get rid of some of Tony's tension (he's still very hung up on his ex, the Arms Dealer's Beautiful Daughter) and comments on how such a hyper vigilant woman could be so blind (Ziva has no idea what she's referring to).
    • "Cloak": The scene where Ziva and Tony are fighting the Marines is a perfect example of how she has feelings for him. Ziva hears a gun go off, she turns to see Tony on the floor—and and she starts to tear through the leathernecks in a manner that River Tam would have been impressed with.
    • Even lampshaded in McGee's book Deep Six, where the characters based of Tony and Ziva are in a romantic relationship.
    • Abby and McGee are a case of Resolved Sexual Tension. They were involved for a few episodes in season one, but after their break-up have continued to flirt and get jealous of each other's love interests.
    • Gibbs and Director Shepard used to go out—and more—and there's still an odd sort of flirty banter going on between them. While they still seem to have feelings, they don't bother to pursue them. Possibly because she's his boss.
    • And the fact that she is dead.
  • Barrels of it between Jack and Renee on the new[when?] season of 24. Word of God confirms that the two will hook up in season eight. With sexy results.
  • Cal Lightman and Gillian Foster in Lie to Me.
  • Used effectively in Season 4 of The Sopranos between Carmela and Furio. It ends painfully when Furio panics about his feelings for Carmela, due to the fact that she's The Boss's wife, and moves back to Italy. In the season finale, it becomes an important factor in Tony and Carmela's separation.
    • And of course, Tony and Dr. Melfi, who knows him emotionally perhaps better than any other woman in the series—being his therapist and all.
  • Farscape... oh, Farscape. The UST Between John Crichton and Aeryn Sun in the beginning had its own gravitational field. Even after it was resolved, their unstable relationship made it feel like it never really got resolved (thus averting Shipping Bed Death) until the condensed, mini-series fifth season.
  • This is the entire point of Castle, which has been described as "Moonlighting meets Murder She Wrote". More belligerent in the first season, but after some Character Development settled into a serious case of this. It doesn't help that Castle's a flirt and Beckett's a tease.
  • Smallville. At some point on the show, everybody crushes after everybody. But almost never in pairs. Since half the crushes involve Lana Lang, the effectiveness of the UST depends very much on viewers liking that character.
  • Jack and Gwen on Torchwood. Whoever else Jack might be shagging, it's those two who've gotten the longing gazes and a certain nearly incendiary shooting lesson. It is pretty much gone by Children of Earth, probably to emphasize the tragic love story between Jack and Ianto, as well as the happy-ending love story between Gwen and Rhys. Although, in commentary, John Barrowman did refer to this in reference to the scene where Jack learns of Gwen's pregnancy before Rhys does.
  • The Doctor and Rose in Doctor Who. Even in their last goodbye, it takes a clone of him to admit his feelings.
    • The 11th Doctor and River Song have ridiculous levels of UST. Which isn't surprising, considering the Timey-Wimey nature of their relationship, it's entirely possible that from River's perspective, they've, ah...resolved it in her past, (and therefore his future).
      • Now quite firmly resolved, with only a mild stretch of the imagination regarding River's prison nights. On the other hand, trust the Doctor to find a way to weasel out of it next series.
    • Also the Doctor and Romana II in the 1979-1980 era, due to real life bleeding into the production as Tom Baker and Lalla Ward were dating (and married a few weeks after she left the series). It's been noted that you can tell when Tom and Lalla had had a fight (and they even broke up briefly at one point) by how the Doctor and Romana interact on screen.
    • Tension has also been noted between the Fifth and Sixth Doctors and Peri, which is generally accomplished by Peri simply walking into the room.
    • At least two cases of one-sided UST have been noted: Martha Jones wanted nothing better than to jump the Doctor's bones in "The Shakespeare Code" when they briefly shared a bed together (for sleeping only) but he'd have none of it. And, more recently, in "Flesh and Stone" Amy Pond - experiencing conflicting feelings over her impending marriage - attempts to seduce the Doctor.
  • Gene and Alex on Ashes to Ashes have been dancing around the will-they-won't-they issue since the first episode of the show, the whole police force already thinks they're shagging, and the writers have ramped up the tension even more drastically in the second series. Of course, any potential relationship between the two may be seriously hampered by the fact that Alex is quite probably trapped in her own head and Gene himself is quite possibly imaginary...
    • Pretty darn resolved as of the series finale: There's feelings there, but Gene, as the guardian of Dead Copper Purgatory, can never move on when there's new coppers to help, and it's time for Alex to "cross over". They do kiss before Alex walks into the Railway Arms.
  • Tony and Carol on Wire in The Blood have bucketloads of it. They share a ridiculous number of charged moments, complete with looks of longing, almost-kisses, a fair amount of jealousy and plenty of Subtext.
  • Dark Angel. Max and Logan are in a perpetual state of "string ready to snap" UST. The show hinged on it so much that the writers infected Max with a retrovirus genetically targeted to kill Logan when they have skin-to-skin contact.
  • Howard Moon and Vince Noir on The Mighty Boosh have this in spades. Vince is a bisexual and Howard has no luck with women, and there's an enormous amount of sexual tension between them. After several Almost Kisses, they finally did hook up in 'Party', but only in a Fake-Out Make-Out, and the show has ended without the two getting together, on screen, at least
    • In response to fan questions, Barratt and Fielding have stated that they find the idea of Howard and Vince having any sexual relationship to be disturbing, as the two are such idiots that it just seems wrong. They have said the characters have a "kind of love" for each other, but that they don't analyze it.
    • This is what the more logical fans of this pairing believe.
    • Granted they've also said that they're well aware it's there and even considered having an episode where Vince and Howard thought they'd bummed and immediately stopped being funny.
  • The 2004 reimagined Battlestar Galactica: Starbuck and Apollo have unresolved sexual tension even after having sex. There was a whole episode with an A-plot about it, aptly named "Unfinished Business".
  • Noah's Arc: This is Noah and Wade's driving dynamic early on before they get together and when they reconnect after their break up and getting other boyfriends.
  • The Nineties breakfast show The Big Breakfast was powered by UST when Johnny Vaugn and Denise Van Outen were the two co-hosts. Even the advertising trails hinted at it when they were rehired.
  • The West Wing had Josh Lyman and Donna Moss. They eventually did resolve it, but they dragged it out over six and a half seasons, which made the resolution feel weird, like you expected it for so long that you stopped expecting it. A well-done case of Will They or Won't They?. Also, Sam Seaborn and about half a dozen women over the course of the series. The writers would introduce them, let Sam have four or five episodes of UST with them, and then make them disappear without any explanation whatsoever. They did this with Mallory, Ainsley Hayes, Connie Tate...
Josh and Donna's relationship is alluded to and quasi-Lampshaded repeatedly. A few of dozens of examples:
    • In "Seventeen People" (season 2, episode 18), Josh says "If you were in the hospital, I wouldn't stop for a beer," and Donna says, "If you were in the hospital, I wouldn't stop for red lights." And that's after Donna compared Josh to her ex-boyfriend.
    • In "The Women of Qumar" (3x8) Amy asks Josh, "Are you dating your assistant?" Cuz some people think you are.
    • In "Commencement" (4x22), Amy says to Donna, "Are you in love with Josh?" And Donna never answers, of course. It's a pristine example of Lampshading, and a metaphor for UST: the question is asked and never answered, just like the UST appears but is never resolved (or rather, not for a long while).
    • In several episodes, their relationship is acknowledged by other cast members. They talk to Josh about him being jealous over her, and Joey Lucas addresses it in one episode. In "Gaza" (5x21), after Donna is in an accident, Leo asks Josh if he needs to go see her, and of course he does.
  • The Mentalist has Wayne Rigsby and Grace Van Pelt. At least once per episode there is some mention that one of them is attracted to the other one, and they've actually kissed once while he was under hypnosis. This doesn't look to get resolved any time soon, either: workplace rules prohibit them from dating.
    • Now Resolved... at least until their bosses find out.
      • Rigsby and Van Pelt got found out and it led to their breakup. Rigsby still loves Van Pelt, she started dating a new guy. They get engaged, but then the new guy turns out to be a Mook for Red John, and is shot. So, back to square one.
    • Jane and Lisbon also have some UST, and a fair amount of Ship Tease.
  • Chakotay and Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager. Until it was abandoned for a Last-Minute Hookup of Chakotay and Seven, to quite a few people's disappointment.
    • B'Elanna and Tom Paris, for the first few seasons at least, before they get married.
    • Then there's Seven and the Doctor. He started to become attracted to her in "Someone To Watch Over Me" and certain episodes hinted that she may have had feelings for him as well.
  • Well before any of its spin-offs played with the idea, Star Trek: The Original Series experimented with the idea with the relationship between Captain Kirk and Yeoman Janice Rand: both had a mutual attraction to one another, but Kirk's position as Captain, and his feelings of responsibility as her commanding officer, were explicitly stated as the reasons why they didn't. The episode "Miri" is as close as it got to being resolved, as Rand declares her love for him, but Kirk just can't quite do the same with her... and she's gone after the next episode.
    • And Captain Picard and Doctor Crusher - who eventually (in what may be an averted alternate future) marry, and then divorce, though she keeps his name.
  • Daisy and Tim in Spaced. Incredibly frustrating as the show ended because of Simon Pegg getting distracted with a movie career that came out of nowhere, just as the two seemed to be realising what the audience was rooting for since episode 1.
    • The sexually unresolved yet happy ending is heartwarming. The shot of the pair watching TV to the Lemon Jelly soundtrack is possibly the Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
      • Additionally, the DVD complete series boxset featured a behind the scenes documentary on the show, ending with Simon and Jess standing outside the house that doubled as Daisy and Tim's flat. After they've wrapped up the documentary and thanked the fans for watching, they walk off, but the camera stays on the entrance to the house... which is when we see them emerge, as Daisy and Tim, with a baby, clearly an item. Aww.
  • Primeval had multiple UST's going on at any point during the shows run. The most prominent being Jenny (or Claudia depending on which series you're watching) and Cutter...this is never resolved. No worries though, because Connor and Abby picked up right where they left off in series 3, just in time for the show to be canceled. Looks like the show may be Uncancelled though—at least two new seasons have been confirmed, starting to air in 2011, so it looks like something might well come of Connor and Abby's UST after all. Especially when you consider the two of them are effectively trapped alone with only each other for company, as of the Series 3 finale.
  • Done all sorts of backwards on Gossip Girl with Chuck and Blair. They start out by having sex, and have a friends-with-benefits thing going for a few episodes. Then they end up in a drawn-out UST storyline, which includes playing Dangerous Liaisons type games, Chuck pretending to be Blair's boyfriend during a blackout, and generally wanting nothing more than to get together but neither willing to really be the initiator. Even lampshaded by Chuck in one episode, when he can't perform with other women thanks to his UST with Blair (the subsequent plan to use her as sexual Drano doesn't go all that well).
  • The Sarah Connor Chronicles has enough of this between John and Cameron to lift a blimp. Semi-resolved during a scene in the final episode where John checks her power source, inside her body. It is played as losing their virginities, complete with nervousness, awkwardness, instructions ("take your hand and put it here") and reassurances ("that's good, John") and that it doesn't hurt. This charged scene is open to interpretation. It is possible Cameron is deliberately resolving the sexual tension, especially when she asks John how it feels in there and he has to reply, "Cold."
    • Cameron is really one of those characters who has sexual tension with everyone. There's tension between her an every single one of the show's lead characters, belligerent or otherwise. There's even some between her and Riley, and she's flat-out terrified of Cameron.
  • Dollhouse Head Adelle Dewitt and her head of security Laurence Dominic ooze UST during their morally grey power walks. At least, until: he was revealed to be a spy. She sounds a lot like a jilted lover when chewing him out.
    • Also Topher and Dr. Saunders, at least until the arrival of Bennett.
  • John Steed and Emma Peel on The Avengers. And episodes when he's there when she wakes up! Patrick Macnee once said, "Of course they're sleeping together! It doesn't mean they have to show the world!" Cue PSL.

Steed: All this time I've known you, and I never knew you could sew!
Emma: Well, our relationship hasn't been exactly domestic, has it?

  • Ted and Ralph from The Fast Show. Virtually all of the humour in their sketches stems from the fact that Ralph has a crush on Ted, but is far too shy to confess his feelings, despite his constant, desperate, painful efforts to. Ted, meanwhile, is too embarrassed to admit he already knows, and, according to Word of God, too closeted to admit he feels the same way. Until the final episode, at least.
  • Parker and Hardison from Leverage. There's been plenty of teasing, but while Hardison totally gets that there's something between them, Parker has No Social Skills due to her neglected background: she doesn't know how to have a relationship, so she's totally oblivious. Either that or she's teasing him.
    • She's starting to realize something is going on.

Parker: So the thing is, I think that maybe I might be having feelings, like weird feelings, for...pretzels.
Hardison: Well, they're right here, when you want them.

    • After defusing the bomb in The Big Bang Job

Parker: You know what I'm in the mood for? Pretzels.

    • Hardison and Parker are officially together as of "The Long Way Down Job".
    • So do Sophie and Nate.
      • Sophie and Nate get a Bedmate Reveal at the end of "The San Lorenzo Job". They were both pretty drunk and Nate doesn't even remember. So they don't talk about it.
    • Eliot had some with his Psycho Rangers counterpart. When they first spotted each other they started imagining how their fight would go, which slowly devolved into a samurai fight daydream. The two of them were smiling every time they cut into these daydreams. At the end of the episode they are sitting in the bar showing each other scars, as she is fiddling with the handcuffs.
  • Warehouse 13: Aggressively averted with Pete and Myka, winked at with an earlier Warehouse pairing, a lot like our two agents, who actually did fall in love. To elaborate, Myka was under the effects of an artifact that forced her to act on her suppressed desires. You'd expect this would lead to her kissing Pete. She punched him instead. In "Duped," Pete finally discovers that the Myka he's with is a fake when she kisses him.

Pete: The real Myka would never kiss me – not if her life depended on it!

There is a little here and there, though. For example, she admits she named the ferret Pete because "it's annoying but cute."
    • Sexual tension may be averted with Myka and Pete but it's played for all it's worth Between Myka and HG, just one example below.

HG: How do you say goodbye to the one person who knows you better than anyone else?
Myka: (holding back tears) I wish i knew.

  • Eureka: Carter and Allison. Everytime it seems to make progress the Reset Button gets mashed handily.
    • Not as of the season 4 finale. Carter and Allison are still together (though more time travel was still involved to keep Allison alive)
  • During the Crossover of Eureka and Warehouse 13, Fargo and Claudia had a full serving of geeky sexual tension in the first half of the crossover, which looked like it would go nowhere until Claudia's boyfriend dumped her at the end of the first half. In the 2nd half, back in Eureka, they got their Crossover Ship sailing, making out after they geekily disabled a mine that would've killed them.
  • Freddie on iCarly with Carly, Played for Laughs throughout the first couple of seasons, before becoming more dramatic in the later seasons. Freddie risks his life to save Carly in one episode, but due to a friend who has her own potential subversive reasons, they break up, with the block being Carly needing to get rid of her hero worship before Freddie will go back to her with a clear conscience.
  • Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles of, unsurprisingly, Rizzoli and Isles, ooze this. Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped; two women are very rarely the primary UST couple, and never in a police procedural (Heteronormative Crusader meets Executive Meddling), and some of us are very pleased indeed to see a Bones-worthy level of UST between them. For obvious reasons. It helps that one of them is Abbie Carmichael and the other is Kate Todd. (Amusingly, fanon says Blonde Republican Sex Kitten Abbie was gay as well.)
  • Degrassi plays with this whenever a pairing is not put into effect immediately. How well it works depends on the couple. Clare and Eli's UST is certainly the most recent.
  • Glee played this between Will and Emma in the first season (though, ironically, once they'd gotten together they broke up because she was too mysophobic to have sex). In the second season, the major UST is between Kurt and Blaine. Kurt swears they're just friends, but try telling that to audiences after their duet of "Baby, It's Cold Outside".
  • The Cape has some undercurrents of sexual tension between Vince and Orwell, but it doesn't come out very often.
  • Sports Night has it in spades between Dana and Casey. Then later between Dana and Sam.
    • One wonders if William H Macy (the real life husband of Felicity Huffman, aka Dana) was cast as Sam because of the planned direction things would go between the characters, or if Sorkin played up that angle in response to the casting. Chicken and egg.
  • House and every other regular character at one point or another.
  • The study group complains about this getting unbearable in Community episode Modern Warfare:

Abed: To be blunt, Jeff and Britta is no Ross and Rachel. Your sexual tension and lack of chemistry are putting us all on edge. Which is why, ironically - and hear this on every level - you're keeping us from being Friends.
Britta: Jeff and I do not have sexual tension. We just argue all the time.
Shirley: Awww, just like Sam and Diane! I hated Sam and Diane.

[The series] explores the seething sexual tension between the two leads, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman- will they ever get it on? Just kiss him!

    • A Scandal In Belgravia, however, focuses more on the Sherlock/Irene Adler tension.
  • The Inspector Lynley Mysteries had this between Lynley and Havers - to such a degree that, in the PBS introduction to the first series' last episode,[3] host Diana Rigg explained quite emphatically that Lynley and Havers Couldn't Possibly Feel That Way About Each Other No Way No How. The sexual tension could have crushed your average linebacker, and it had only just started to heat up at that point! One wonders how she would have explained away certain scenes in "A Traitor to Memory",[4] or "In Divine Proportion",[5] or "One Guilty Deed",[6] or "Word Of God"[7]... Suspiciously Specific Denial, indeed!
  • Merlin has this with pretty much all of its main characters at some point in time, although the most persistent/popular ones seem to be Arthur & Merlin and Arthur & Gwen. Arthur and Gwen's Official Couple status gets firmly resolved in the series 4 finale when they get married.
  • Cheers had UST as a strong teaser between Sam and Diane. Resolved, but repeated. and averted.
  • Murdoch Mysteries has this with the relationship between the title Detective, William Murdoch, and the Pathologist, Dr. Julia Ogden. This is made worse by the Victorian setting and the necessary restraint needed by social standards of the time, as the UST was just as strong (if not stronger) whenever their on/off relationship was actually on. Was at it's highest possible level during season five when Julia was married to another man but the UST was eventually resolved when her husband pulled an I Want My Beloved to Be Happy and told her to be with William. Julia and William rekindling their romance closes the season.
  • The Thick of It has a lot between Malcolm Tucker and Niccola Murray. Her poor relationship with her husband is alluded to frequently, whereas he sees her a lot to deal with the latest PR disaster, and shifts between giving her truly Olympian bollockings for some of them and showing an uncharacteristic level of sympathy for others.


Video Games

  • Mario (and possibly Luigi) with Peach in the Super Mario Bros. games. Of course, the very nature of their relationship itself is very vague because of Nintendo's policies and Peach usually just reward Mario with a kiss on the cheek. Surprisingly this issue is pretty much directly addressed in Super Paper Mario when Luvbi asks the characters if Mario and Peach are an item. If the player has Mario out he shakes his head in denial, or if Luigi is out instead he will say that it is "kinda hard to say" but that he wouldn't call her Mario's girlfriend. Luvbi concludes it as a one-sided crush.
  • Link and Zelda (as well as Marin, Midna and any number of his female companions throughout the years) in the Zelda series. However, Word of God has suggested Link and Zelda won't be portrayed as more than friends.
  • The player and either Carth or Bastila (depending on gender) for most of the first Knights of the Old Republic, and the player with Atton or the Handmaiden in the sequel.
  • Ada Wong and Leon Kennedy from Resident Evil. Some could also be argued for Billy Coen and Rebecca Chambers, but with Ada and Leon, it's definitely harder arguing against it. Ada's thoughts and actions are a pretty clear indication that Ada genuinely loves Leon, but can't seem to act on it due to circumstances. Ada is pretty much "Catwoman" to Leon's "Batman".
    • Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine also seem to have plenty of this going on as well. Ever since REmake the series has been filled with not-that-subtle signs of a deeper affection whenever the two are onscreen, even though it's never been taken further. Even Chris's new (working) partner Sheva in Resident Evil 5 makes the quick deduction that he and Jill were "close" after he recounts a brief description about her.
  • Fox McCloud and Krystal had this for a good majority of their appearances together in the Star FOX series. In Command, they actually already have had a relationship and broken up, resulting in much more of this (there are 9 different endings, in some of which, they actually do get together, in others they split up for good).
    • Fox and Fara shared that experience as well - but at least they never split up.
  • Metal Gear Solid - Solid Snake and Otacon are suspected of this. Even creator Hideo Kojima is a fan of the unstated pairing. This is essentially confirmed in interviews with the voice cast, where David Hayter has admitted that he and Christopher Randolph played Snake and Otacon as a gay couple.
    • Before MGS4 was released David Hayter gave an interview in which he said "Otacon definitely loves Snake; you know, in a platonic way..."
  • Mass Effect 2 has this develop between Shepard and Samara if a relationship with her is pursued. Considering Samara is a Celibate Hero, it remains in the "Unresolved" stage.
    • Conversations between Shepard and Liara, and (male) Shepard and Miranda have shades of this in Mass Effect 3, if they were left unromanced through the course of the trilogy.
  • Persona 3 is chock full of this, especially when it comes to a (Male) Protagonist and Yukari. The game blatantly puts the two together in would-be romantic situations outside of her Social Link, but when you max out her Social Link, she admits her love and tells him not to make plans that evening...and ends with a rather ambiguous sentence about what came after (something that carries over into Persona 4). And given the ending, the amount of UST could be irksome.
  • Arguably, Sora and Kairi from Kingdom Hearts. It's especially obvious in Kingdom Hearts II, where Sora just Cannot Spit It Out to even Donald and Goofy, let alone to Kairi.
  • People believe Lara Croft and Larson in Tomb Raider Anniversary behave this way. Larson doesn't try to kill Lara over the first Scion piece until he is losing the fight and Lara never makes an attempt to shoot Larson at all, but uses fancy acrobatics to knock him down. In another scene, Lara attempts to escape from Natla's goons and Larson had a clear shot at Lara, but purposely misses his shot. In the two characters' final meeting, Larson gloats that Lara doesn't have what it takes to kill him and he just stands there believing it until Lara actually starts shooting him in a Quick Time Event. Should you fail the QTE here, Lara gets killed and Larson regrets that he had to kill her.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud Strife seems to have a bit of this with both Aerith and Tifa. Later on in the game, eventually he began to focus exclusively on Aerith...until Sephiroth happens.

Visual Novels

  • Quite blatant in two of the three routes in Fate/stay night, especially the second. The third route would be this, only they resolve it rather early on.
  • Likewise in Tsukihime; every heroine (that hasn't been Demoted to Extra) has a sex scene somewhere on their route.
  • Except in the True Ending for Kara no Shoujo, Toko and Reiji have immense amounts of UST that is picked up on by the rest of the cast, who come to the conclusion that they must be sleeping together.

Web Comics

  • Pleasure Bon Bon, plenty of it between William/Wilson and Mary, the former of whom is posing as gay to keep a job as a butler for the latter's overprotective father, and the former of whom .....really wants some tube steak in her
  • Gallons of this between Gil and Agatha in Girl Genius. Almost to the point of parody.
    • There's also tension between Agatha and Tarvek. It's not for nothing that one of the images for the Girl Genius website's main page has one of Agatha's clanks running off with her diary, shedding love letters to both Gil and Tarvek.
    • And between Gil and Tarvek, if you ask the right people.
  • Parodied in El Goonish Shive with Agents Cranium and Wolf who in the words of the author: They have, they will again, and they utterly fail at hiding it.
  • The early Questionable Content strips had this entirely. Now that Dora and Marten are together, we have Faye and Angus tension
    • As of comic 1799 Dora and Marten have broken up AND Faye and Angus are together, so there's a surprising lack of tension and boredom.
  • Sequential Art, most obvious example being here, complete with She Is Not My Girlfriend and Vanity trying to play The Matchmaker. It seems to be gradually cracking later.
    • It seems obvious to others what is happening.
  • This has been simmering awkwardly between Bob and Voluptua since the beginning of The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob, despite his relationship with Jean.
  • Emily and Ash from Misfile. Twelve books, over 1200 strips, and three kisses, only one of which was actually consensual. Not to mention extremely awkward.
  • In It's Walky!, to such an extent between Joyce and Walky that when it was finally resolved, it nicely mimicked the effects of a small thermonuclear device. The collateral damages were... significant.
  • There's a good bit of this in The Space Between, between the protagonist Jack and his childhood friend, Sam. It starts to come out when Jack and C.J. hook up at their house party.
  • The three protagonists in Platinum Grit are swimming in unresolved sexual tension. Jeremy is too repressed to admit to anyone that he fantasizes about Nils. Kate is too embarrassed to admit to anyone that she's developing a major crush on Jeremy. And Nils is too defensive to admit to herself that she's falling for Jeremy.
  • Ansem Retort, of all things, has a bit of possibly-unintended tension between Zexion and Namine. When Zexion sold territory to Mexico for a sexy new name, Namine was impressed, Zexion knew immediately who had swapped his cyanide pills with Mentos, he detoured from his booty call with Belle to brag to Namine, and most recently, Namine has developed a psychic "Zexion-sense" alerting her that he was in trouble (though she didn't feel the need to DO anything about it). They claim to hate each other but spend a lot of time together anyway, and it's been noted that Zexion likes his whores "blonde, dumb, and not totally dead inside"—Namine fits two out of three (after Zexion, she's probably the smartest cast member). It probably won't go anywhere because of her age, but...
    • As of the most recent panels, Namine told Zexion she loved herself, as he was saying he would have sex with everything that she loved, and as of the last panel, he seemed to want to go through with it.
  • UST in Errant Story persisted for literally years between Jon and Sarine, until there came a deliciously ironic subversion/twist: it finally got, one would say, resolved ... but things became so uncomfortable afterward that Sarine used some mind magic to de-resolve it. And then it was back to more years of UST, which is still there as the story approaches its end.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Robin and Starfire from Teen Titans finally hooked up long after their mutual feelings were known to their teammates, their enemies, and random nerds on the Internet (in-show). This is based on a storyline in the comics.
  • Justice League
    • Green Lantern and Hawkgirl. It starts off as Subtext, with them alternately bickering and rushing to each other's rescue. It grows to the point that the Genre Savvy Joker, watching Hawkgirl and Green Lantern deal with one of his booby-traps, feels the need to comment on it. And then tries to blow them up. Joker "Will Green Lantern ever admit to his feelings? Will Hawkgirl ever stop sublimating her passions with that big honking mace? Will true love conquer all? Not on my show." *Boom* The episode ends this with blatant obviousness for a cartoon. After the UST is resolved, we hear an offscreen voice say "It's about time!"—and then a cut to a woman winning the jackpot at a slot machine. Hmm... The resurgent UST between Green Lantern and Hawkgirl, and between Green Lantern and Vixen[8] was Left Hanging at the end of the series. However, it's confirmed in a trip to the future that they eventually have a son together, Warhawk.
    • Batman and Wonder Woman. However, it's more or less only unresolved on Batsy's part, due to his... "issues". Wonder Woman is very open, even aggressive, about her desire to get together with him. A comic published at the same time plays with the same concept, but goes further by showing what life would be like if Batman and Wonder Woman got together. The UST is so strong that even when they were turned into children by Morgan Le Fey, their attraction was still noticeable.

Kid Green Lantern: (to an oblivious Superman) You know, for somebody with like fifty different kinds of vision, you are so blind.
Kid Superman: ...what?

  • Goldie Gold and Travis Jack from Goldie Gold and Action Jack.
  • Code Lyoko. Ulrich and Yumi (used to be the picture of this page). To a level at which all Western Animation examples will be compared. This couple may live on in infamy as the only one to ever sit half-naked in a heat bath together at 4 PM on Cartoon Network. And still not hook up. It takes until the last few minutes of the last episode of the series before there's any kind of resolution, and even then it's only a tentative "they will". It seriously borders on Mind Screw.
  • Kaeloo and Mr. Cat's relationship absolutely reeks of this. Their attraction to one another is painfully obvious, even to the other characters, who also happen to have had a few moments with the she-half of the budding couple.
  • Kimiko and Raimundo from Xiaolin Showdown, especially in the episode where Hannibal Bean intrudes Raimundo's head. He rests his arm on her shoulder in the cinema (only to find out that she is, in fact, Hannibal). However, since they never get together in-show, fans are left to guess on their own if it was resolved post-Grand Finale.
  • Eduardo and Kylie from Extreme Ghostbusters. The two have a love/hate relationship going since meeting in the first episode. Many clues were given, such as when they went out of their way to save each other and most notably when Eduardo had an intimate dream about Kylie. Unfortunately, the show was canceled before there was any resolution. Darn. Here's hoping that they'll be in the new Ghostbusters movie.
    • It should be noted that Kylie showed absolutely no attraction to him whatsoever, appearing to tolerate him at best. Her attraction was often more focused towards men with high intelligence, something Edwardo definitely is not.
    • Also, in the last episode, Eduardo is obviously attracted by a girl named Amanda. Kylie doesn't seem to mind.
  • In Young Justice: The Animated Series, Superboy and Miss Martian have a lot of UST... until episode 11.
    • More so with Wally and Artemis...until the end of season one.
  • In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, especially in the new season seems to be filled with UST between Pepper and Tony.
  • Spoofed in an episode of American Dad, where Haley says that Stan and Roger's rivalry over who's the "big dog" is due to UST and that they should just fuck already and resolve it. At the end of the episode, they end up trying to out-act each other in a play, taking a simple kiss scene and getting arrested for public indecency.[9] As they cheerfully compliment each other's acting skills, Haley tells her mother "I told you they just needed to fuck."
  • On Curious George it's pretty obvious there's something going on between The Man With The Yellow Hat and Hot Scientist Dr. Wiseman, but sadly they're in a children's educational cartoon so they can't act upon their feelings.
  • The Legend of Korra is creating bucket loads of tension around a Love Dodecahedron of almost every possible pairing. First there was Mako-Korra. Then Mako-Asami. Then Bolin-Korra. And now Tenzin and Lin, in every single one of their dialogues.
  1. Santo Tomás refers to St. Thomas.
  2. In reality the downfall of Moonlighting had a lot of other causes as well. Mostly it was the result of tons of behind-the-scenes problems that plagued the show for the duration of its run, ranging from script and episode delays to a writer's strike that struck mid-season to the declining quality of scripts to (infamously combative) lead actors who simply didn't want to continue working on the show. Bruce Willis launched his film career with Die Hard between the third and fourth seasons and Cybil Sheppard, reportedly never pleased with the long working hours, wanted more time off to spend time with her growing family.
  3. "Missing Joseph", specifically
  4. that one scene at the end by the bonfire, where she puts her hand on his chest to stop him leaving and the tension is so thick you couldn't cut it even with an Absurdly Sharp Blade
  5. the infamous Cry Into Chest that is so far beyond platonic the line isn't even visible any more
  6. when they dance around each other while she is in pyjamas and he is in a towel, and you wonder which one of them subconsciously wants to jump the other more
  7. the even-more-infamous-than-the-Cry Into Chest scene in her apartment where they realise they are each other's reason to get up in the morning!
  8. whom Lantern started seeing while Hawkgirl had secluded herself in the aftermath of her Heel Face Turn in Starcrossed
  9. they were still just acting though