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Casual Kink
aka: Heroic BDSM
Buffy: [about Riley's lunch selection] ... A Twinkie! That's his lunch? Oh, he is so gonna be punished.
Willow: [pouting about currently being single] Everyone's getting spanked but me.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "The I In Team"

Sometimes sexualities such as sadomasochism and fetishism come into play simply as a kinky counterpart of Bi the Way: The character just happens to be into BDSM (or similar). That is, any variant of Bondage (as in tying each other up with ropes or handcuffs), Dominance-games, and/or Sado-Masochism (as in spanking and such). No big deal is made out of it, at least not by the main characters. This can be a good excuse to play with gender roles and power dynamics, an excuse to get the Heteronormative Crusaders all riled up, or simply a way to put a character in an unexpected situation or let a conversation take an unexpected turn.

While usually about individual characters, this trope can also be a characteristic of a Free-Love Future or similar world. In these cases, the fact that kinky sexuality is so normal that no one thinks twice about it in this world is often used as a way of pointing out how different that world is from our own.

People playing with Casual Kink do it Safe, Sane and Consensual, and are likely to have a Safe Word. People who see a little bit of what they are doing, without getting the whole picture, might sometimes make the classic Abuse Mistake.

Casual Kink is one way to portray (or show interest in) a fetish.

Compare and contrast the tropes where kinkiness is used to indicate that a character is intelligent or a bad person.

Examples

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     Anime and Manga  

  • Pokémon: Trip's Servine apparently doesn't mind Ash's Snivy whipping him until he collapsed. Granted, Servine was under the effects of Attract, but other Pokemon usually snap out of the effects after an attack.
    • It's now a meme to call Trip's Servine a masochist.
    • In the Diamond and Pearl seasons of the same show, Gardenia was strangely fond of taking the brunt of various Grass-type Pokemon's attacks.
  • Ruby from Rosario + Vampire seems to enjoy being the submissive person between her and Tsukune, the latter of whom doesn't really have an interest. Ruby not only enjoys pain, but reminds Tsukune repeatedly that she does in often double entendre.
  • Nabari No Ou: Gau's masochistic tendencies are played for laughs in an omake strip, and Raikou is later implied to be a sadist during the Alya Arc.
  • In Popcorn Avatar, the males in the class assume that Kurando and Lisa are into BDSM due to misunderstanding, with Lisa presumed as the "master".

     Comic Books  

  • Dilbert once chatted with a woman calling herself Mistress Cruella. Afterward he looked quite startled. What she said to him was, of course, left to the reader's imagination.
  • Pondus has a lot of this. Often used as a tool to create awkward situations (Jocke and Camilla walking in on Jocke's mother and stepfather doing a scene), but sometimes just for cuteness (Pondus wife bringing home her nurse uniform from the hospital in return for him taping her favorite Soap Opera).
  • In the first album of Lucifer, Casual Kink and Bondage Is Bad are both expressed as attitudes held by characters: Jill hold a little speach about how she's not into BDSM herself but doesn't mind it as long as it's consensual - while Elaine write a story within the story where her way of establishing the bad guy as bad is to state that he fantasizes about three creepy things, one of them being tied up women. (The other two are money and selling drugs. It should be noted that since this is in the first issue, Elaine is still an immature 12-years-old inexperienced psychic.)
  • When Deadpool finds his business unexpectedly booming, he hires an assistant to keep his schedule straight. She also helps design several new costumes for him. When she shows the sketches, Deadpool asks why some of the costumes have high heels. She responds "I'm kinky".
  • Annihilation: Conquest had this exchange between two romantically involved cosmic super women.
    Moondragon: If we survive this, you've earned a spanking.
    Phyla-Vell: Promises, promises...
  • During their marriage, Peter Parker and MJ Watson were known on a few occasions to indulge in a little light bondage, using his webbing. The fact that it dissolves in roughly an hour makes it useful for such games.

     Fan Fic  

  • In the Twilight fandom, The Dom Edward/Sub Bella style of Fanfics is extremely popular. The extremely popular Erotic Novel series Fifty Shades of Grey started life as a fanfic called ''Master of the Universe'' (Author E.L. James used the penname Snowqueens Icedragon when it was originally published). Even its original form it was very popular, amassing over 56,000 reviews during it's original, censored run on fanfiction.net alone! Not to be outdone, the Uncensored version posted on twilighted.net, received over 23,000 reviews in its run. Eventually, James replaced all the Twilight Elements out of the fic and packaged it under the Fifty Shades title. There are numerous examples, but Fifty Shades is the most popular.
  • Several Neon Genesis Evangelion fics support the idea that in the (unlikely) event where Asuka and Shinji pair up, they will inevitably involve themselves into BDSM with Asuka as the slave and Shinji as the master. Completely foregoing the fact that Asuka would never, EVER, do such a thing.
    • Power Plays takes it one step further: Hikari, sweet and innocent Hikari is into BDSM as well, with the same arrangement. Both pairs go at it 24/7 and neither use safe words... And then we haven't even mentioned that Misato practically forced Shinji to be Asuka's master by watching their relationship and every time it looked like things are going steady, Misato dropped a not-so-innocent remark to trick Shinji into thinking Asuka is only playing with him. Her excuse when Asuka ratted her out was that she wanted them to take their relationship seriously, ie. they shouldn't even start it if they're going to break up later (she was speaking from experience but that's still no excuse for forcing two fourteen year-olds into BDSM).
  • In some of iCarly's more lemony fics, Sam and Freddie take their Belligerent Sexual Tension friendship and exaggerate it to having Freddie be a sadomasochist to explain why he's fallen in love with a girl who repeatedly and constantly abuses and degrades him.
  • The entire point of Kink Memes is for fans to make and fulfill requests for kinky fanfiction, usually anonymously.
  • In Those Who Stand For Nothing Fall For Anything Light claims that his calling himself "God" is just a sex kink and he doesn't really have a God complex.
  • In "Shards To a Whole", an NCIS fanfic, McGee and Abby confess their love for each other after the explosion at NCIS during the Season 9 finale, and start dating again. They enjoy an active and happy sex life, including some mild bondage and cosplay. At one point Tony DiNozzo sees them in action and freaks out.
    McGee: [to Gibbs] Look, if the words 'doing freaky things to Abby' come up, before you kill me, I'd like you to remember, Tony thinks it's freaky, not me or Abby, and it's with Abby not to her.

     Film  

  • LA Story.
    Sara McDowel: Listen, if I say that sort of thing again, tie me up and gag me.
    Roland Mackey: [her ex-husband] We tried that once, but you started laughing.
  • Exit to Eden takes place on an island where BDSM and Fetishism is the everyday norm. And it's hardly even a real part of the story, more like a exotic background for an ordinary detective story.
  • In Preaching to the Perverted, the main character is sent by a Heteronormative Crusader to infiltrate a BDSM club. As he gets to know the people there, he finds out that they are just ordinary people with an unusual sexuality, not any better or worse than anyone else.
  • While most of Secretary averts this trope quite hard, it does pop up twice. In the middle of the movie, Lee is listening to a tape about coming out as a dominant or submissive, assuring the listener that BDSM is a capacity for a wider range of experience. More importantly, the movie has a happy ending where Lee finally gets rid of her fiancée (whom she never wanted, he was pushed on her and she wasn't assertive enough to say no), come out as a masochist and finally demand a real relationship with Edward. Some people are pissed at her, but her father stands by her side and assert that he's proud of her. And finally Edward overcome his fear and they live happily ever after.
  • There is a quick instance in the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall where the main character, in an attempt to forget his ex-girlfriend starts having sex with lots of different women, one of whom is a fairly quiet girl who wouldn't stop saying "hi" to him. He asks if she could stop because it was getting a bit weird. Without missing a beat, she tells him, "You can gag me." As he's left surprised, she explains that she brought a gag with her and some handcuffs too, then asks, "Do you want to gag me?" He finally replies, "Actually, I kind of want to now."
  • The Transporter 3. Valentina forces Frank to take off his clothes by threatening to throw away his car keys, saying it's not just men who like striptease.
    Frank: [removing shirt] You know what I'm going to do to you for making me do this?
    Valentina: Spank me.
    Frank: For starters.
    Valentina: Tie me up?
    Frank: You'd like that, wouldn't you?
    Valentina: I like the rough stuff. [Frank grabs her] Not too rough!
  • Casey from We're the Millers likes to be strangled when she makes out with a guy.
  • In 9 to 5, Judy Bernley's ex-husband Dick catches her in Frank Hart's bedroom while she's holding him hostage for blackmail and assumes that she's into BDSM. Judy uses this belief to her advantage in order to get rid of her ex-husband.

     Literature  

  • The Slave World novels sometimes casually mention BDSM play done in Britain's timeline. In the Alternate Timeline, where the Roman empire never really fell and the story takes place in a England that was never an Empire, much of the everyday social life is kinky - not only to many readers, but also to visitors from the first timeline.
  • The Dresden Files plays this straight several times with Molly Carpenter. Her kinks are referenced several times in the series and are usually just as quickly forgotten. Possibly justified in that the books are supposed to be Harry's case files, and he considers these to be Too Much Information. She may have been mentioning them to mess with her Uncle Harry. Or just been flirting.
    • Most likely justified due to the fact that while Molly definitely has a crush on Harry, he sees her as a surrogate daughter (he did watch her grow up, after all, not to mention that he's very likely afraid of what Molly's mother Charity would do to him if he even thought about Molly in "that way"), as well as being squicked at the thought of exploiting a female apprentice like that.
      • Made more (occasionally hilariously) awkward by the fact that even he admits she's quite attractive. As he puts it, he can "admire the scenery without wanting to go camping in it", because he is both heterosexual and not blind. Though he feels guilty over it every time.
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe: Perhaps surprisingly for a guy who started traveling with the Doctor a few years before the Summer of Love, the Eighth Doctor Adventures' Fitz Kreiner doesn't stop at casually coming out to the reader, he also makes what seems like a semi-sincere crack implying this trope:
    ‘Fitz,’ Anji hissed. ‘Are you telling me you really don’t mind trotting around starkers in a collar and lead?’
    He grinned. ‘Are you kidding?’
  • In Iain M. Banks's Against a Dark Background, main character Sharrow visits a monastery to consult with someone there. This monastery has a practice of everyone inside being chained to tracks in the wall, and visitors are no exception. The monk who is supposed to let her in is a He-Man Woman Hater who makes his displeasure at letting a woman in very clear, and tries to find the heaviest and most uncomfortable shackle for her chain he can. While roughly fitting it on her, she smiles and mentions that a lot of people pay good money to get treated like that. He is of course disturbed by this and shuts up. Sharrow does not display any interest in this anywhere else, so she was probably just trying to get under his skin. She does knee the guy in the groin on the way out as payback though.
  • Dana Stabenow's series of detective novels about Kate Shugak are completely blatant but completely matter of fact about Kate's extremely aggressive attitude in bed, and love of scratching and biting her lovers.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Asha Greyjoy is shown engaging in some rape roleplay with her lover.

     Live Action TV  

  • In the Masters Of Horror episode "Homecoming", the phone rings while the main characters are having a BDSM session. He answers the phone, but she keep whipping him a bit just to embarrass him in front of the important political figure he's talking with. Who in turn knows exactly who he's with and what she's doing, and seems completely unsurprised.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has several mentions, including the Page Quote. The same episode featured some dialogue by Anya that strongly implied that she and Xander were practising (mild) BDSM. Nobody ever seemed to mind the idea itself, just the fact that she was talking about her sex life with other people at all was treated as awkward. But on the other hand, the Riley/Faith sex scene in "Who Are You?", and the dialogue around it, strongly implies that BDSM, or any sexual role play, is a way for emotional cripples to evade true intimacy. Joyce and Giles played with handcuffs in "Band Candy" (far Too Much Information for Buffy). Willow mentioned wanting to be spanked on "The I in Team", and Anya in the same episode saying, "Yes, we've enjoyed spanking." Buffy mentioned "a favor" with outfits to Riley in "Family", and Faith said that safe words were for wusses on "Consequences" (technically the last one is not BDSM, since it's not safe, sane or consensual).
    • Averted with the Buffy/Spike relationship which involves rough sex, handcuffs, biting (by Buffy, not Spike) and Making Love in All the Wrong Places, yet despite the fact that Buffy participates fully she always feels ashamed and tries to hide what they're doing from the other Scoobies. There's a good chance Buffy's shame came largely from the "with Spike" part, rather than BDSM, but "Conversations With Dead People" suggests not entirely:
      Buffy: The last guy I was with, it got really— I behaved like a monster, treated him like... But at the same time, I-I let him completely take me over. Do things to me that— (starts to cry).
  • Blair and Chuck's relationship on Gossip Girl involved handcuffs, frequent references to punishment, roleplaying, and the other uses bidding paddles can be put to.
  • Phoebe and Mike in Friends are hinted to be into it; indeed, at one point, Chandler finds a pair of fluffy handcuffs and when he asks Phoebe, she complains "these would never be able to cuff a man to a water pipe - they're much too flimsy."
    • When those handcuffs were found, Chandler believed they belonged to all three of the female Friends at different points, until they found pictures of them in use. By Monica's grandmother. To quote Monica, "Nana liked it rough!"
    • Chandler also once dated a dominatrix, who left him handcuffed to a chair because she had to go to a meeting, with hilarity ensuing.
    • In another episode, when Monica was given Chandler a crash course on how to please a woman (before they end up together,) she maps out several erogenous zones and tells him to mix them up and "always keep them on their toes," to which Rachel enthusiastically exclaims, "Ooh, toes!"
  • In Desperate Housewives, where Rex was the only really sympathetic character in the whole show (which is probably why they killed him off), and his conservative wife's reaction to his kink was portrayed negatively.
    • It's not strictly that. She was willing to go along with it because she loved him, but when she thought he'd bragged she reacted negatively.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Implied in a Getting Crap Past the Radar kind of way with Brigadier Bambera and Sir Ancelyn in "Battlefield". Unless you think there's some other interpretation to be put on him asking if she's single the day after their first meeting involved her beating him up and manacling him.
    • In the episode "Forest of the Dead", The Doctor asks what River Song (his future wife, who's living their relationship backwards via Timey-Wimey Ball) is doing with a pair of handcuffs. She grins at him in a very meaningful way and says only, "Spoilers."
    • The handcuffs thing comes up again in "The Eleventh Hour" with Amy Pond, and is not elaborated beyond the implication that she moonlights as a Kissogram (like a Stripogram but with clothes and physical contact) and one of her outfits is a police officer.
    • In "A Christmas Carol" Amy and Rory were in the honeymoon suite of a spaceliner when the ship threatened to crash into a planet. They were dressed as Police-Girl Kissogram and Roman Centurion respectively at the time.
    • In a pretty astonishing example of Getting Crap Past the Radar, in the Hartnell story "The Chase", Ian (who has been shown to love dressing up in fancy historical costumes in various stories) asks for Barbara to give him her cardigan as part of a plan, to which she says, "Again?" Ian protests that it's not for him this time. The Expanded Universe picks this up and run with it - the most extreme is probably a scene in Campaign in which Barbara admits in her diary to fantasising about him 'in a rubber dress and stilletos'.
  • The Charmed episode "The Wendigo" reveals that Phoebe just happens to have a pair of handcuffs lying around... and refuses to admit where she got them.
    • Paige also does this while arming Phoebe for battle in "The Day that Magic Died"
      Paige: Steel-toed boots from my mosh pit days. Chainmail top from my club days. And handcuffs (far-off smile) from last Friday.
  • Mendol Ikemen has an inordinate amount of it, since the manager is not really a lesbian, as well as a whip fetishist, and she and her lover together do some really weird things like licking each other.
  • NCIS. Perky Goth Abby makes frequent casual references to handcuffs, straitjackets, sleeping in coffins, etc, even when talking to apparently straight-laced nerd McGee, making you wonder about just how kinky their relationship got.
    • At least once, when she leaves early, she tells them to call if they need her, and if so, to ignore any screaming they hear.
    • Ziva frequently implies she's interested in bondage, but this may just be to tease Tony.
  • In House, Chase is into bondage, and while he's occasionally ribbed about it, no one thinks he's a weirdo for it.
    • But still spoiled in an episode where the husband has an attack while going into rough stuff with his wife. It turns out his wife has been poisoning him with a gold-based compound.
  • In CSI: Crime Scene Investigation with the character of Lady Heather, a highly intelligent, articulate, and urbane dominatrix who was briefly one of Grissom's love interests. For the most part, she was portrayed as a generally good, decent person.
  • Female protagonist Beckett in Castle is shown to be interested in BDSM, immediately identifying a specially-made pair of handcuffs and the shop which it probably came from. Castle's safe word is "apples".
  • In Sugar Rush, the main character tried spanking, which was portrayed as normal, though the person who suggested it turned out to be unfaithful.
  • Gordon and Sheila, two happily married Middle Englanders played by Rob Brydon and Julia Davis in “Human Remains” run a very traditional B&B…with a swingers’ dungeon in the attic. They move forward their planned remodel of their playspace when the local DIY shop has an unexpected wallpaper sale.
  • In Coupling Jeff and his girl-friend are shown to engage in bondage in one episode where it is played for Hilarity Ensues rather than for moral disapproval.
  • A really jaw-dropping example in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Let He Who Is Without Sin...", in which it's casually dropped that Worf's and Jadzia's (happy, consensual) sexplay has been known to lead to broken ribs. Some way past Safe, Sane and Consensual if you're human, although knowing Klingons... (Indeed, Klingons see a broken collarbone on their wedding night as a blessing on the union.) Not to mention how easily broken ribs can be repaired in the series.
    • In a slightly earlier episode (Looking for par'Mach in All The Wrong Places), this is shown directly, as both Worf and Jadzia and Quark and Grilka (a Klingon woman he is in a relationship with) come into the infirmary with some pretty substantial injuries. Poor Dr Bashir decides that he is going to stop asking how his patients managed to injure themselves, because he really doesn't need those images in his head.
  • Jade from Victorious just happens to enjoy pain and likes seeing her boyfriend getting smacked around by Cat, and isn't afraid to offhandedly mention that.
  • Fiona on Burn Notice has been known to invoke this, mainly to mess with Michael's head. In one instance, she picked up a pair of handcuffs (intended for use in one of Michael's plans) and asked him, "Where have you been keeping these?" Poor Mike nearly lost his grip on his power drill. No, his actual power drill.
  • Crops up from time to time in How I Met Your Mother. Lily happily admits to enjoying spanking, and in one episode she and Robin walk in on Barney, who is having trouble getting loose after having been tied to the bed by his one night stand.
    • We also know what Barney and Robin's safe word is.
  • Stella: Paula and Dai Kosh have had a very Casual Kinky sex life since 1989.
  • Played with (nonsensically) in Joking Apart, where the main character finds handcuffs at his girlfriend's house, tries them on as a joke, and then realises he can't get out of them. He awkwardly attempts to hide this while his girlfriend explains that an ex-boyfriend of hers, who she describes as being a disgusting pervert, bought her a pair of handcuffs once expecting her to be into it. When she discovers that the main character is handcuffed, however, she immediately changes her mind and mounts him for a kiss. Probably Author Appeal, since the writer was Steven Moffat.

     Video Games  

  • In World of Warcraft, your goblin female character sometimes say: "I'm a free spirit. I don't like to be tied down. Wait, you meant literally? Oh, I'm totally into that!". Characters of certain other race-gender combos also say things that can be interpreted in a similar direction, but they are less obvious about it.
    • It's VERY obvious to me that the Pandaren have a fat fetish. Flirts and jokes from BOTH genders mention things about someone needing to gain weight, or they themselves need to gain weight. Even the females!
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic if the Sith Warrior marries Vette she'll later mention very suggestively that she's kept her old shock collar before the scene fades to black.
  • The Mark of the Assassin DLC for Dragon Age II has dialogue revealing potential Love Interest Anders (if you romanced him and brought him along) to have a kinky bondage/role-playing fantasy involving himself chained up. He points out that you are currently in a prison which has chains in it....
    • There is also Isabela, who when told by Aveline that she is right about something tries to deflect it humorously by replying: "Chains? Whipped Cream? Always be on top?". Whether this is just for humour is not revealed, but then again this is Isabela we are talking about.
  • There's a lot of this going around in the Saints Row series, but Kinzie of Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV takes the cake. Her tastes are apparently a little too much even for the Boss, who can proposition Asha with the line, "I'm looking for rough sex and Kinzie scares the crap out of me." (When Kinzie herself is propositioned, she socks the Boss in the jaw before leaping enthusiastically into his/her arms.)
    • Not that Kinzie doesn't have her limits — when propositioned to be a prostitute, her response is to flatly state her safeword.

     Web Animation  

  • Salad Fingers is big on this - the main character himself is a rust fetishist, looking for rusty spoons to caress. As surreal as these stories are, his fetishism serves to make him seem less alien and inhuman.

     Web Comics  

     Web Original  

  • The Nostalgia Critic has no problem admitting he'd be happy for the Chicago women to kill him, as long as they were playing The Cellblock Tango.
  • One of the healers in Guts and Sass: An Anti-Epic, Litin, is an empowered, self-confident masochist. He likes to get beat up, in and out of sex, and no one makes a big deal about it.
  • One of the few things Spoony likes about Final Fantasy VIII is Quistis, who he finds attractive. When Squall seems to ignore her, Spoony exclaims "She's 18 years old and whips people! I have to go to Tijuana and pay for women like that to pay attention to me!"
  • In Death Note The Abridged Series (Kpts4tv) Light apparently fantasizes about getting kidnapped by a hot guy in leather. You can blame Raye Penber for the stalking fantasy and Ryuk for the leather fetish.

     Western Animation  

  • Family GuyPeter might not be very "good" or "heroic" most of the time, but the sex he has with Lois is almost always presented as a mutually loving and kinky relationship; they're even seen discussing their day-to-day lives moments before they suit up and Lois cheerfully informs Peter that "the safe word is banana".
    Peter: I love you.
    [Lois zips his mask and knocks him to floor]
  • Callie of Ugly Americans...but what did you expect from the literal spawn of Satan?
  • The eponymous character of Dan Vs. hints rather un-subtly in one episode that he'd like his friend Chris to eat off of him. This is passed off as nothing and dropped for the remainder of the episode.
    Dan: Ahh, so clean you could eat off me. [meaningful look]
    Chris: I'm not going to do that.
    Dan: I'm just saying you could..!
    Chris: Well, I'm not going to.
    Dan: FINE! [slams fist and pouts]


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alternative title(s): Heroic BDSM
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