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Sexual Extortion
"A raise? Persuade me..."note 

Bob is Alice's superior, and wants to employ her other talents. The thing is, Alice is not interested — maybe she already has a sweetheart, or her moral code won't allow for what Bob wants, or she's just not into him. Maybe she's asexual or just not into men. Maybe she Can't Have Sex, Ever. Bob chooses to "let her make the decision"... but not really.

Technically Alice can refuse, but saying "no" may come with a whole host of nasty consequences, whereas an "okay" might gain her something or things she needs or wants. Oftentimes this is related to her and Bob's professional relationship — promotions, connections, qualifications etc. Sometimes all she can hope for is just maintaining the status quo.

In general, the perpetrator's plotting would mean the victim undressing in tears and offering herself to him, but thanks to a heroic Love Interest or a nifty Deus ex Machina, it only rarely gets that far (let alone any farther). If the victim angsts too long about what she should do, the perpetrator might drop the act entirely.

In a nutshell, Sexual Extortion is a form of sexual assault wherein financial and/or social threats largely replace physical violence. This trope only works if the perpetrator has some sort of leverage over the victim. Some works even portray the victim enjoying it, but this doesn't change the coercion that lies at the heart of this trope.

Subtrope to Blackmail, with the defining elements of the ever-popular combination of sex and the abuse of power. Compare Scarpia Ultimatum. Compare and contrast with Casting Couch.

In Real Life, this is known as "quid pro quo harassment". Typical flavors would be a boss/employee or a professor/graduate. One variety is a police officer/petty offender. The trope was more popular before the 1960s and 1970s, when pre/extra-marital sex was a way bigger deal than today. Older Than Feudalism qualifier: Joseph and Potiphar's wife in the Bible.

Subtrope of Questionable Consent. Goes hand in hand with Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny. Contrast Ethical Slut and Safe, Sane and Consensual.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Boys Love Genre Ai no Kusabi, Riki was a Sex Slave of Iason Mink and has been free for about a year. Iason then comes to claim Riki back. When Riki refuses to return and Iason has Riki's best friend Guy in "custody", Iason threatens to brainwash Guy into an Empty Shell of a sex doll unless Riki agrees to come back as his Pet.
  • Another Boys Love Genre example, Sakura Gari, Souma forces Masataka to become his "lover" to pay off his brother, Takafumi's Yakuza debts.
  • Yuugen Kaisha: Corrupt museum director, Mr. Nagasuki, pulls this on Natsuki, in Incident File 03. First, by pulling the night crew of the exhibit she which was discovered by her deceased boyfriend, Narita was working on. Then by threatening to cut off the exhibit's funding... unless she "co-operated".
    • Natsuki almost gives in to the pressure but, thankfully, she had both Phantom Quest and Narita's ghost to protect her.

    Comicbooks 
  • Ralph König's Killer Condom (Kondom des Grauens) begins with this trope - underage female student hates herself for it, but chooses to let her professor have his way with her in turn for passing an exam. Lucklily, the condom he picks turns out to be a genetically engineered monster that eats his dick and then crawls away, leaving him bleeding and her laughing hysterically.
  • In one Batman and the Outsiders storyline, a professor tries this on a student, who refuses and tries to kill herself when threatened with having her education ruined. When GeoForce hears about it, he tries to pound the perp into gelatin, but is stopped by Superman. Batman comes through with a more ethical and lawful solution, finding some of the professor's other victims and convincing them to file charges.

    Fan Fiction 
  • The Green Hornet fanfic The Hornet's Girl plays with this trope. The narrator is an escort at a speakeasy and reluctantly agrees to "entertain" the Green Hornet after her boss threatens to fire her if she doesn't. The story takes place during the Depression and she couldn't afford to lose her job. Fortunately, the Hornet is a gentleman and politely turns her down once he sees her discomfort (it also helps that he was on a mission and wasn't interested in doing it anyway).
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act II: Rather than just stealing her first kiss as in canon, Miyabi actually forces Mizore to have sex with him in exchange for sparing her mother's life... only for Miyabi to order her mother's death almost immediately after.

    Film 
  • In The Cheat, after the foolish heroine steals $10,000 and then has to replace it, her Faux Affably Evil neighbor offers to give her the money, if she'll have sex with him.
  • The 1953 film Hilja - Maitotyttö is a classic example of Finnish rural romanticism. The main plot: evil farm owner lusts after his eponymous dairy maid Hilja, a young graduate loves her.
  • In Horrible Bosses, Dale's boss Julia does this to him as part of a concerted campaign of sexual harassment.
  • 007 himself does something like this in the beginning of Thunderball. An attractive physical therapist coolly rebuffs Bond's flirtations, and is all business in her dealings with our boy James. But when she leaves Bond alone - and defenseless- in some sort of back-stretchy machine, things take a turn for the worse when an enemy comes to kill him by turning the machine on too high. The therapist comes back, apologising profusely, and begging Bond not to report her for leaving him. Bond tells her he can be convinced to keep this their little secret. Even if he didn't intend for it to come off as sexual he certainly does nothing to clear things up when she takes it that way.
  • In the pre-Code 1930 movie The Silver Horde (it's about salmon fishing in Alaska, not that other Silver Horde), it's pretty much stated outright that the Hooker with a Heart of Gold female lead secures a business loan for the protagonist by sleeping with a banker.

    Literature 
  • The story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife in The Bible: mentioned more or less in passing in the Genesis, but illustrated with detail in the apocryphal Testament by Joseph. Joseph was keen on following the pre-Commandments Jewish law in any case. Potiphar's wife introduced heavy threats and blackmailing into the play, finally accusing him of raping her in a fit of rage after Joseph escaped her rape attempt. Afterwards she promised to set him free from prison, where he had been sent, if he would do as she wanted.
  • In Ragtime (novel version only), Tateh's wife is sexually abused by her boss and doesn't speak up because (Tateh being an artist) her income is what's supporting the family. When her husband finds out she's been "unfaithful" to him, he declares her dead to him and throws her out of the house.
  • In Angela's Ashes, Angela is given the chance to give her poor, suffering family everything it needs...but she has to sleep with a distant relative in return.
  • In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Lisbeth Salander is repeatedly molested and eventually raped by her new guardian whenever she asks for more money from her account. When he started out sexually harassing, molesting, and orally raping her, Lisbeth assumed that he was just on a power trip. However, after he violently anally rapes her, she finds out that she misjudged him in that he wasn't just on power trip, but he was a full blown sexual sadist who took advantage of his guardianship position over her (since she was declared legally incompetent).
  • One story in Chicks and Chained Males makes an off-hand remark that a woman does not tell a god "No" unless she wants to end up like Cassandra.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Invoked in season 3 of The L Word, after Helena is seduced by a filmmaker whose documentary she's funding. One day, the filmmaker gets her role playing during foreplay, and gets her to pretend on camera that her support of the film is contingent upon the filmmaker having sex with her. The next day, Helena's served with a sexual harassment lawsuit; as it turns out, the relationship was a Go Seduce My Arch Nemesis plot by the filmmaker's boyfriend to squeeze money out of Helena.
  • In season one of Pretty Little Liars, it is revealed that Jenna had done this to Toby. He refused to have sex with her, on the grounds that they were siblings; she countered that they were Not Blood Siblings. When he still refused, she threatened to tell their parents that he had raped her if he wouldn't consent; they both knew that she would be believed.
  • Law & Order: In Season Five, The D As office prosecute a councilman for the rape of a co-worker (which they do because they can't charge him for raping and badly injuring another woman who later died in a car accident). As it turns out, the councilman didn't rape his co-worker so much as force her to have consensual sex with him under threat of losing her job and ruining her career. Jack McCoy inventively prosecutes the councilman under a count of 'Larceny by Extortion'. The councilman gets convicted.
  • JAG: In the first season episode "The Prisoner" Harm has been captured by the Chinese while sailing off the coast of Hong Kong (in 1996 before the transfer). Commander Allison Krennick has through unofficial contacts learned of Harm’s whereabouts and a Chinese traitor is willing to bring him back in exchange for political asylum in the United States. The Assistant Secretary of State is reluctant at first, but when Krennick threatens to call his wife and say that she’s his lover he quickly changes his mind.
  • Crops up in an episode of Castle with a photographer who makes models sleep with him in order to get good shots. The victim of the week tried to record the photographer propositioning her so she could expose his behavior as she had no intention of cheating on her husband. Becomes even worse when it's revealed that her husband killed her because he thought she was cheating on him.
  • In Sliders episode The Dream Masters one of the titular Dream Masters does this to Wade requesting sex for not tormenting her on her dreams.
  • In one episode of Three's Company, Jack is harassed by his new boss. When he tells her he won't have sex with her, she fires him. When he takes her to court, the judge rules out the case because of the way Jack dresses.
  • The Asshole Victim in one episode of CSI: NY was a lecherous department store manager who taped one of his assistant managers with her hands in the till. After he blackmailed her into having sex with him she thought it was just a one-time thing, but when he tried to force her she killed him in self-defense.

    Mythology 
  • The story of Bellerophon in Classical Mythology begins with one of these. After his exile, Bellerophon is put up at the court of Proetus, the King of Tiryns. The Queen—whose identity is disputed—tries to seduce him, but for various reasons (including Sacred Hospitality), Bellerophon refuses. The Queen claims Bellerophon raped her; bound by Sacred Hospitality not to kill Bellerophon, Proetus sends Bellerophon to his father-in-law in Lycia...and for various reasons this begins the tale of Bellerophon's labors.
  • Cassandra of Classical Mythology was cursed with Cassandra Truth for refusing to have sex with Apollo.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • A minor character in Doonesbury is a soldier who was forced into sex by her commanding officer and is now in therapy. The strip goes surprisingly in-depth on the various psychological conflicts she's now suffering. (Notably, one of her issues is that she never directly said no to the officer, and thus feels that she consented—this is lessened to a degree when she discovers that his actions are classified as "command rape.")

    Videogames 
  • You can do this in the Neverwinter Nights mod The Bastard Of Kosigan, in several places. Though in most cases, having a high Charisma score will get you a similar scene without any moral problems.
    • Heck, you can pull this on an angel, even with a horrible Charisma score.
  • The job interviewing scene in Plumbers Don't Wear Ties.
  • In The Walking Dead, when the group infiltrates Crawford, you have to find at least two videotapes to figure out the combination on a safe. There's an optional third tape that you can find which reveals that not only was Molly living in Crawford initially, but she was bartering sex for the insulin her diabetic younger sister needed.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in an episode of The Simpsons. Moe entered a bartending competition, and the one female bartender, a beautiful buxom blonde from Los Angeles (named Titania) seemed to be winning (even though she gave a wrong answer in a Duff beer trivia contest, and her "trick pouring" consisted of jumping up and down while running the beer taps)...then it came to the drunk toss, where she was disgusted by the drunk she had to toss. She angrily turned to Duff Man, and yelled at him, "You told me if I slept with you, I wouldn't have to touch the drunk!" Duff Man replied simply, "Duff Man says a lot of things, oh yeah!" Titania stormed off and forfeited the contest.
  • Suberted in Family Guy. After helping him recover from a broken ankle, Lois asks Death if he wouldn't mind sparing her husband. Death says sure, but "you'll have to do something for me." After a moment's indecision, Lois begins to slowly unbutton her shirt... only for Death to state that he meant that she could grab him another fruit cup from the fridge. It's unclear whether this is true or if he was just messing with her by seeing how far she'd go.


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