Simply put, the Embarrassing Superpower is a term to describe superpowers that are humiliating to use, or socially frowned upon.
While it's easy to fall under the assumption, note that the superpower isn't necessarily useless
. In fact, the superpower could actually be incredibly useful—it's just that it's not necessarily the thing you'd want your grandmother seeing.
Subtrope of Blessed with Suck
. See also Embarrassing but Empowering Outfit
and Bad Powers, Good People
. Compare What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?
and Useless Superpowers
. If the power comes in handy, then either Heart Is an Awesome Power
or Cursed with Awesome
is in full effect.
Anime and Manga
- Gigantomakhia: In order to heal Delos, Prome secretes what she calls "nectar" from her body. Prome being Ambiguously Human, she doesn't care what it looks like. To anyone else (especially Delos), it looks like a young girl is pissing on him. After she heals him, he feels part of his humanity is irretrievably lost.
- 12 Beast: Eita can perform a Fusion Dance with a Monster Girl to power up his vambrace... which is usually achieved by groping their breasts. The hunter who catches them in the act as he's preparing to snipe them looks shocked.
- Lanfeust: Everyone on the planet Troy gets a different superpower, which can range from anything from invincibility to causing thirst, or creating freshwater springs, or farting from their ears.
- A side character in He Pao only fathers male children. Being good-looking, he's very much in demand among wives looking to secure their position by giving heirs to their husbands, but he can't exactly advertise the fact lest said husbands get vengeful.
- "The Spleen" from Mystery Men has Fartillery powers. While his powers can be effective, he compounds the issue by being a socially awkward and unattractive.
- A man confesses that he suffers from a condition where he has an orgasm every time he sneezes. When asked if he's taking anything for it, he says "Yes: sneezing powder".
- The Wild Cards series has multiple examples:
- There's a deuce whose power to defy gravity reaches Ace levels, but only if he's having sex.
- One Ace can turn anyone into a body swapping Jumper by putting his penis inside them.
- Fortunato's psychic power comes from having the sex but preventing the ejaculation.
- Roulette emits secretions upon orgasm that can cure the Wild Card or turn her partner's card into the always fatal Black Queen.
- Epic Battle Fantasy 3: Natalie considers her "Kyun!" Limit Break embarrassing but useful (as it clears away all status problems, buffs the party and debuffs the enemy).
- Inverted early on in Golden Sun, where Ivan uses his Mind Read ability (he needs to touch the other person or at least be very close) on the heroes without asking for their permission. After he apologizes for it and the ability is used to capture three thieves... the game gives no penalty for using the Psynergy on other people (mitigated by the fact that non-Adepts can't feel or see Psynergy, but they seem unfazed about teens with No Sense of Personal Space). Thirty years later in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, it's said he no longer uses the power, possibly due to A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read.