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Some characters when in situations of psychological or physical stress or pain, have the tendency to externalize their suffering by moaning, crying or even screaming out loud. However, in this particular case the noises made by the victim are mistaken for sounds of sexual pleasure by other characters.
This trope is applied mostly to female characters, although it has been used by male characters, too. It's just rarer.
Natually, this can be prime Fetish Fuel. Associating the sounds with the act that causes them can even create fetishes for some impressionable viewers. In harder pornographic works (and pretty much all Hentai), this trope can be deliberately invoked, possibly to ease the guilt of the viewer.
Subtrope of Freud Was Right.
- In Uchuu Kaizoku Sara (Space Pirate Sara), the titular heroine purposely plays this up at one point (and to some extent isn't actually faking it) when she gets "raped" by a lizard man (who turns out to be sympathetic enough Sara decides to give him some mind blowing Pity Sex because all he really wanted was a mate). She even manages to turn what should have been a humilating experience into a Moment of Awesome by using the fact she's having the time of her life to epically piss off and mock the shit out of the guy who thought the experience would demean her.
- It should be noted she's only able to invoke this some of the time. Most of her experiences with getting raped she is usually not enjoying, nor is Siria, the knight captured at the same time in the same position as Sara herself.
- Inverted in Baccano by Nice Hollystone. When her explosives lab blow up in her face, her scream does not sound like pleasure. Yet she fondly reminisces on it.
- Rip Van Winkle's death in Hellsing.
- In Urban Legend, the heroine stumbles across her goth roommate getting strangled in her bed. Due to the darkness and her roommate's grunts and groans, she assumes that her roommate is having sex (which is explained by an earlier scene in the movie where she walked in on her having sex and was angrily told to "turn the fucking light off") and leaves her to die. This sets up the "Aren't You Glad You Didn't Turn On The Light" scene.
- Snakes on a Plane, after a couple having sex in an airplane bathroom are attacked by snakes, they're being listened in on by two flight attendants.
[thumping and screaming] "he's good" [silence a few seconds later] "maybe not that good."
- In Mel Brooks' High Anxiety, the protagonist calls up the heroine moments before getting attacked by a strangler. She immediately concludes that it's an anonymous dirty phone call.
- In Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, the protagonist's sister screams in pain from a kidney condition. Her neighbors assume her screams are moans of pleasure.
- In The Dirty Dozen, Maggot points his knife at a terrified woman and tells her "scream." When she does, the Nazi officers in the lounge have a good laugh about how much she is enjoying the moment.
- In The Joy Luck Club, a pre-teen boy in an arranged marriage shows something to his new bride... she lets out a startled scream, and the boy's mother, listening at the door, chuckles and leaves, thinking the marriage is under way. It was nothing but his pet lizard.
- In Friday, the titular protagonist deals with torture-by-rape in this manner, creating the impression that she "just can't help herself" in order to convince them to give it up as useless, and also as a method of creating dissention amongst her captors.
- Lampshaded in the Angel episode "Waiting in the Wings" when some of the heroes are searching a building and hear some noises.
Gunn: "Hear that? Sounds like someone's in pain."
- The penultimate scene of The Horror of Party Beach has an...interesting...moment when the heroine, who has injured her leg, is helped to a nearby car, leaving our good friends at Mystery Science Theater 3000 only able to say, "Um...wow."
- In an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, Dick was Bound and Gagged (long story) and called Mary's office for help. Judith picks up the phone and responds thusly to Dick's muffled cries for help:
Judith: [deadpan voice] Oh, yeah. [muffled cry for help] Oh, baby. [muffled cry for help] I'm hot now. [muffled cry for help] Do me. [muffled cry for help] Do me all night. [muffled cry for help] I know it's you, Dick. [hangs up]
- The entire dark elven race in Yet Another Fantasy Webcomic.
- Inverted in Sealab 2021 when Dr. Quinn is taken away for questioning by Bizarro Debbie. After the sounds of torture give way to sounds of obvious intercourse, Murphy loudly proclaims "Good lord, she's killing him!"
- In Re Boot, when talking about keeping Hexadecimal imprisoned and experimented on, Herr Doktor tells Megabyte that he has no idea how they've kept her contained so far, and says, "I think she likes it..."
Megabyte: Let us not even think about that.
- Watch any game of women's tennis or volleyball.
- The Williams sisters are the queens of this trope.
- And not far behind is Maria Sharapova.
- Monica Seles was so loud in her, ahem, approval that she was often asked to tone her screams down.
- Not that the dudes are super ultra quiet, either. Rafael Nadal is pretty loud as well.
- The Williams sisters are the queens of this trope.