Vulnerability Is Sexy To Them
Because an invincible, infallible love interest is boring.


(permanent link) added: 2012-02-27 05:39:17 sponsor: KingZeal (last reply: 2013-05-31 06:36:55)

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"Frollo might be the most overtly sexual Disney character period, and yet he's even more squeamish about sex than even girls are taught to be. So, he's kind of relatable. He's tortured by his physical desires... We like tortured, I guess. Even if it's attached to a decrepit old man with a gaunt French nose. Also, he kills people. He's a bad boy."
The Nostalgia Chick, on why Frollo managed to qualify for her democratically-elected "Top Ten 'Hottest' Animated Guys" list.

In this trope, a character is found attractive because they're vulnerable or flawed. To be listed here, this must occur In-Universe or be a Discussed Trope.

Vulnerabilities are attractive. Many times, people enjoy a "project"; they like a guy who seems like he has something good just under the surface and just requires that special someone to draw it outside, or they like a girl who depends upon them and makes them feel Rated M for Manly.

Maybe part of the appeal is trying to change them, maybe part of it is the desire to feel needed, and maybe part of it is being drawn by the allure or mystery. After all, if the other person seems like they'd do just as well (or even better) without you, what's the fun in that?

Another term for this is "accessibility".

Super Trope of All Girls Want Bad Boys, Tall, Dark and Handsome, Ugly Guy, Hot Wife, Hot Guy, Ugly Wife, Ill Girl, Distressed Damsel, No Guy Wants an Amazon, Weakness Turns Her On, Dating Catwoman, Defrosting Ice Queen, Moe and I Can Change My Beloved.

Sometimes overlaps with Women Are Delicate and Men Are Tough.

Examples

Literature
  • If I Pay Thee Not In Silver, by Mercedes Lackey and Piers Anthony, has the heroine fall for her love interest at long last when he, a very knowledgeable immortal, finally fails and takes it very personally. The text explicitly states that the vulnerability he was displaying made him more human and accessible.
  • Exploited by the Ixian faction in God Emperor of Dune: Hwi Noree is genetically engineered to be open, empathetic, and vulnerable individual, making her a perfect soulmate for the ancient scheming God Emperor Leto II. Notably, Leto realizes the danger his personal attraction to Hwi poses to his plans but cannot do anything about it.

Live-Action TV

  • On an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, Lois gets orthotics for her shoes, and starts feeling great because her posture is corrected, and she doesn't get the backaches and aching feet she used to after standing all day at work in the supermarket or doing housework. Her husband Hal, missing the intimate moments when he got to pamper her and rub her feet when she was aching, misshapes the orthotics with a blowtorch so that they no longer work properly.
    • Given the overall dynamics of Lois and Hal's marriage, it's possible that Lois finds Hal's vulnerability attractive. There were some episodes that showed Lois enjoying being protective of Hal, and although her being a Control Freak is an annoyance (or fear-inducing) to most of the family, Hal seems to adapt to it naturally and is happy with it, probably because his personality needs a dominant counterpart to his submissiveness. Lois, for her part, can be downright nurturing and tender to a vulnerable Hal sometimes. Their marriage epitomizes the Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy trope.

Videogames

Web Video

Western Animation
  • Parodied in Futurama.
    Romantic Test Robot: My two favorite things are commitment and changing myself.
    Leela: Does that robot have a brother?
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