Created By: katiek on August 3, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on September 23, 2014

Surprise Sexuality Reveal

The moment when your realize that things are not what they seem. Sexually, that is.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

Contains Rolling Updates.

It basically involves a sexual incident of a Stereotype Flip, or a moment in the life of the Hypocrite, and may also have something to do with Blue Boy Pink Girl. Overall a surprise that may not even be a surprise (because we now tend to think that people ARE the opposite of what you would think). It is not signified by any particular surprise, and may in fact involve quite a few different other tropes, but is notable in the specific way the reveal happens, in intimate moments, usually few people knowing, sometimes only US. In other words, it is the reveal itself that is significant, not the fact of them being the opposite of what you would think.

Unsurprisingly, the result is often funny, but we probably don't want to assume this has anything to do with Freud.

So:

  • The big, tough gangster, shark lawyer, corporate raider or old boys network politician is a submissive with a Dominatrix.
  • The anti-smut congressman frequents prostitutes, in which case it may intersect with You Are What You Hate.
  • The mousy, shy, seemingly repressed girl is an Ethical Slut.
  • The arrogant jerk falls in love easily and reads sappy poetry the next morning over Eggs Benedict.
  • Anyone is revealed to be a different gender/orientation than you expected.

Sometimes the reveal contradicts what you thought, sometimes the reveal is just surprising, and sometimes you are not really surprised at all, but there is something about the WAY we find out that is funny/surprising/ironic.

Some Straight Gay examples would fall under this, back when that was being used as a surprise. Some examples would be James Gandolfini in The Mexican, or the cops at the end of Music Madonna's Who's That Girl. it may also sometimes apply for when a character is a much, much different age than their partners expected, usually if they are underage.

Aggressive Submissive would be a Sub-Trope. Strongly related to Suddenly Sexuality: this is the actual moment of reveal in many or most of these instances. it is essentially a narrative equivalent of a one-liner - and the reveal may in fact may be a one-liner, such as with Pinto's lover in Animal House or the Illinois Nazis in The Blues Brothers.

Though once a common practice in real life shows, the Drag Queen "wig flip" (ripping of the wig) is not generally used as a "reveal" anymore, as it is regarded as a Dead Horse Trope.


Examples

Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • Transmetropolitan. Senator Sweeney campaigns against porn while secretly acting in some. Though justified as the pornographer paying him wanted smut to be taboo because if it wasn't he couldn't sell as much.
  • In one Cherry Comics story, a prudish female teacher and Drill Sergeant Nasty coach are revealed to be in a kinky B&D relationship with her as the dominatrix and him as the submissive.

Film
  • In Tomcats, a sweet young librarian with a flowery pink room, and a bed covered with stuffed animals, turns out to be a dominatrix, as does her sweet little old grandmother.
  • James Gandolfini in The Mexican.
  • The cops at the end of Madonna's Who's That Girl.
  • Arguably, the final scene in Some Like It Hot.
  • Arguably, any time a Drag Queen "flips: (rips off) her wig in a film, though the surprise is nearly always In-Universe. The Julie Andrews drag persona in Victor/Victoria would be an example of this. This was once a Real Life trope, but is not really any more.
  • In the Blues Brothers, when the Illinois Nazis are falling from the sky, the driver turns to the leader and says, "You know, I have always loved you."
  • This seems to be popular with John Landis, as in Animal House, Pinto (Tom Hulce) goes on a date with, and sleeps with a girl who is revealed, in an unexpected comment, to be only 13.
  • Michelle in American Pie.
  • Porky's
    • In Porky's II: The Next Day the county commissioners, who are running for reelection on a decency platform, are outed as having watched and enjoyed a porno stag reel in the basement of the commissioners building.
    • In Porky's Revenge during a break-in to steal the final exam for a biology class, the gang discovers that the biology teacher and the school guidance counselor have a D/s relationship, with her as the dom.

Live-Action Television
  • The Klingon race, especially in Star Trek: The Next Generation. To quote Worf himself: "No. Men do not roar. Women roar. Then they hurl heavy objects... and claw at you. Wesley Crusher: What does the man do? Lieutenant Worf: [dreamily] He reads love poetry..." Not exactly what you would expect from the mighty Klingon men.
  • This is somewhat explored in certain episodes of We Network's documentary series, Secret Lives Of Women, with a notable opening credits/promotional sequence.
  • I feel like Sex and the City did this a load of times. I mean, obviously.
  • Farscape. Staanz is the female of her externally androgynous species. You don't find this out until the end. The character was played by a male actor, who affected a shifty Camp Gay ex-Space Pirate persona.
  • Mad Men
    • Newly-divorced Alpha Male Don spends Thanksgiving with a hooker instead of with family. This part is not terribly surprising, (despite the fact that he arguably does not really seem like the type to hire hookers). They begin to get intimate. Then she starts slapping and humiliating him. Surprise!
    • This happens a lot on this show. Newly re-married Don and his wife, Megan, are seen at home. We think she has gone home sick. We think he has gone home to check on her, concerned she is ill. It turns out to be an apparent role-playing session, with Megan and Don taking on vaguely sadomasochistic roles.
  • Mark Donovan in The Inbetweeners.
  • In the first season of Misfits, Nathan meets a beautiful young woman named Ruth. She loses her phone, he finds it and returns it, and they begin to have sex after he gets there. In the middle of the act, she transforms into an 82-year-old woman - her true age.
  • On Lost Girl, Vex, a Fae with the ability to telepathically control other people, is revealed to enjoy bondage in the submissive role.
  • Rupauls Drag Race. Old conventions of this trope sometimes backfire. In Season 4 Milan was criticized for "flipping her wig", though Milan argued that she was going for something entirely different with the flip, along the lines of expressing emotion and "being in the moment" rather than referencing a tired trope.
  • In one episode of the Israeli comedy series Polishuk, Kozo (basically an Israeli Malcolm Tucker) is turned on by an assertive and powerful political advisor and asks her if she’s a Dominatrix. She rejects him flatly, telling him that he should keep it in his pants if he doesn’t want her to cut it off. The end of the episode reveals she is actually his ex-wife.

Web Comics
  • Questionable Content. Marten's mother mentions that one of her highest paying clients is a famous Republican congressman who likes to have hot wax poured on his genitals. His hush-money paid Marten's college tuition.

Web Video
  • Pegasus in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series is VERY camp but seemingly the only straight character in the series and he tries to kill people when they find out.
  • Zarbon in Dragonball Z Abridged. He's constantly making innuendos about homosexuality, leaving the audience and the other characters assuming that's how he goes. Vegeta and Frieza are speechless when they find out he's heterosexual and at the live showing people in the audience went "what?" loudly when he announced he had a girlfriend.

Western Animation
  • Futurama has a single episode character who was a female bureaucrat that had a thing for slobs (Fry) because she was tired of things being so organized.

Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • August 3, 2011
    TobiasParker
    The Klingon race, especially in Star Trek: The Next Generation. To quote Worf himself: "No. Men do not roar. Women roar. Then they hurl heavy objects... and claw at you. Wesley Crusher: What does the man do? Lieutenant Worf: [dreamily] He reads love poetry..." Not exactly what you would expect from the mighty Klingon men.
  • April 20, 2012
    nman
    I don't know about the others, but the theoretical example with the anti-smut congressman is one of the types of examples on You Are What You Hate.
  • April 21, 2012
    Duncan
    Some Straight Gay examples would fall under this, back when that was being used as a surprise. Some examples would be James Gandolfini in The Mexican, or the cops at the end of Madonna's Who's That Girl.
  • April 21, 2012
    Koveras
    Aggressive Submissive will be a Sub Trope.

  • April 21, 2012
    Koveras
    @OP: Actually, the example cited above is a complete opposite of Aggressive Submissive. Fuyuka is passive in day-to-day interactions but very dominant in bed.
  • April 21, 2012
    katiek
    Gotcha. Is there a Passive Dominant?
  • April 21, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ Not to my knowledge.
  • April 22, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    I feel like Sex And The City did this a load of times. I mean, obviously.

    (I just don't have any specific examples right now, eep)
  • April 22, 2012
    katiek
    ^ you are right! I can't think of any examples, either, but I will put this in.
  • April 22, 2012
    foxley
    In one Cherry Comics story, a prudish female teacher and Drill Sergeant Nasty coach are revealed to be in a kinky B&D relationship with her as the dominatrix and him as the submissive.
  • April 22, 2012
    zarpaulus
    Got a couple examples of hypocritical politicians.

    Comic Books
    • Transmetropolitan: Senator Sweeney campaigns against porn while secretly acting in some. Though justified as the pornographer paying him wanted smut to be taboo because if it wasn't he couldn't sell as much.

    Web Comics
    • Questionable Content: Marten's mother mentions that one of her highest paying clients is a famous Republican congressman who likes to have hot wax poured on his genitals. His hush-money paid Marten's college tuition.
  • April 22, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Farscape: Staanz is the female of her externally androgynous species. You don't find this out until the end. The character was played by a male actor, who effected a shifty Camp Gay ex-Space Pirate persona.
  • April 27, 2012
    captainsandwich
    Futurama has a single episode character who was a female bureaucrat that had a thing for slobs (Fry) because she was tired of things being so organized.
  • April 27, 2012
    ElCheViva
    Michelle in American Pie

    Mark Donovan in The Inbetweeners
  • April 28, 2012
    DracMonster
    Might need another name, this sounds like bursting in on the wife or husband while theyre in the middle of cheating on you.

    Since this is very similar in some ways to What You Are In The Dark, I'm wondering if What You Are In The Bedroom could fly? Avoid snowclones, I know, but it's such a clear title.

    Otherwise Kink Reveal or Sexual Taste Reveal.
  • April 28, 2012
    katiek
    This gets into a bunch of sexual politics, because being young or gay or what have you is not a matter of taste but identity, yet this reveal operates the same way with kinks (not to mention there are a huge number of people who identify with their kinks). I think that is why I am using the blanket term "sexual" as it can accommodate both factors of identity and preferences. I am thinking there is something Freudian going on in the way this operates, but that would probably be pretentious to reference it psychologically. Point taken about how it could be read as someone bursting in on a cheating spouse, though. And thanks for the similar trope.
  • April 28, 2012
    katiek
  • April 28, 2012
    Dawnwing
    Well, we have Suddenly Sexuality, which sounds pretty similar to this. Maybe "compare to Suddenly Sexuality" and describe how it's different - or is this trope pretty much the same thing?
  • April 28, 2012
    katiek
    I think it is very closely related, but this trope is the specific reveal - it is essentially a narrative equivalent of a one-liner - or it might be one.
  • April 28, 2012
    uncannybeetle
    Zarbon in Dragonball Z Abridged. He's constantly making innuendos about homosexuality, leaving the audience and the other characters assuming that's how he goes. Vegeta and Frieza are speechless when they find out he's heterosexual and at the live showing people in the audience went "what?" loudly when he announced he had a girlfriend.
  • April 28, 2012
    Koncur
    • On Lost Girl, Vex, a Fae with the ability to telepathically control other people, is revealed to enjoy bondage in the submissive role.
  • April 29, 2012
    katiek
    Pegasus in Yu Gi Oh The Abridged Series is VERY camp but seemingly the only straight character in the series and he tries to kill people when they find out.
  • April 30, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • In Porkys II: The Next Day the county commisioners, who are running for reelection on a decency platform, are outed as having watched and enjoyed a porno stag reel in the basement of the commisioners building.
      • In Porky's Revenge during a break-in to steal the final exam for a biology class, the gang discovers that the biology teacher and the school guidence counselor have a D/s relationship, with her as the dom.
  • September 22, 2014
    Pichu-kun
    • An old, 1930s Disney comic had Mickey Mouse mistakes a tall, muscular cat when he goes to meet a renownly tough person. The cat is heavily implied to be Camp Gay.
  • September 22, 2014
    DAN004
  • September 22, 2014
    PistolsAtDawn
    • Metacarpolis: Naive, nerdy protagonist Max is shy and nervous around girls- but apperently used to be into BDSM with the villain, no less!
  • September 22, 2014
    DAN004
    We also have Covert Pervert to compare.
  • September 23, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Literature
    • In The Millennium Trilogy, the normally aggressive and anti-social Lizbeth Salander becomes incredibly submissive when she's with her sometime-girlfriend Mimmy.
  • September 23, 2014
    Arivne

    The following examples are Zero Context Examples and need more information about how they're this trope: The Mexican, Who's That Girl, Some Like It Hot, American Pie, Sex And The City, The Inbetweeners.
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