-> "''I heard Yugi had lost his will to live. That is ''such'' a turn-on for me; I just ''love'' broken men.''"
-->-- '''Mai Valentine''', ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries''

Generally in older fiction, and in more 'traditional' stories today, [[WomenPreferStrongMen women prefer men who are strong]], independent, and willing to make the first move. However, in many forms of modern fiction (and in RealLife), [[TruthInTelevision some women]] prefer men who are seen as "weak" or vulnerable. This trope is about the latter.

A woman who finds weakness or submissive behavior ''inherently attractive'' and a turn-on. Some women find that having the dominant position in a relationship (pun possibly intended) is a turn-on, as the "power" is theirs and can be quite addictive. Also the healing that she's eager to give can lead to them falling in love with each other, creating the FlorenceNightingaleEffect, her dream come true.

To fit this trope, the desired or fetishized male must be seen as "weak," either in temperament or body ([[TakeAThirdOption or both]]).
* Temperament: Usually this involves a naturally submissive or sensitive personality on the man's part, or, if he's naturally aggressive and strong, a sense of vulnerability around the female which makes him 'weak' for her. Usually, the male will be younger than the female as well.
* Body: {{Bishonen}} may fall under this category, with their slender builds and feminine faces (though many bishonen are still badass). [[IllGirl Ill Boys]] or [[FlorenceNightingaleEffect injured men]] also fall under this, as do adolescents, because their weaker bodies indicate a vulnerability on their parts. Not surprisingly this overlaps with TinyGuyHugeGirl on occasion.

Compare AllGirlsWantBadBoys, which shares similarities to this trope except that personality failings and anti-social behaviour as[=/=]rather than weaknesses are what attracts the woman to the man. See also {{Beastess}} and AmazonianBeauty, for the type of woman who an AmazonChaser in this scenario is likely to be attracted to.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* There's an imaginary one (or three, or seven) in ''Manga/PeacemakerKurogane''. Every time one of the older guys imagines Tetsu in a relationship, it's either with him as an extreme Uke, or with an older woman who is the dom in the relationship.
* Brutally used in ''Anime/WelcomeToTheNHK''. Misaki selects Sato for her "project" of curing him from being a {{hikikomori}}, and the time they spend together eventually leads to there being quite a bit of romantic tension between the pair. It's later revealed that [[spoiler:Misaki chose Sato, because she wanted to find someone who was even more "worthless" than she was and prove she could fix them because of her abusive stepfather telling her that she was a useless human being]]. As a broken recluse, Sato fit the bill.
* In ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'', Akane says this to Ranma to comfort him some after she finds out he's terrified of cats and becomes a frightened, submissive individual around them. Bonus points because [[FlorenceNightingaleEffect she's tending to him]] at the time.
-->'''Akane:''' Don't let it bother you. It's cute to have a little weak spot.\\
'''Ranma:''' ''[traumatized]'' [[MadnessMantra Get 'em off! Get 'em off!]]
* In ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'', Hungary seems very happy with NonActionGuy Austria. When his "vital regions" are being seized by Prussia, and he comes back beaten up, she jumps at the chance to fight Prussia off.
* Kuroyukihime to Haruyuki in ''LightNovel/AccelWorld''. She states that she finds the juxtaposition of his (potential) strength in the Accelerated World with his emotional sensitivity to be endearing and part of what drew her to him.
* In ''Manga/SpoofOnTitan'', Mikasa Ackerman reads in a book that weakness is cuter than strength. After watching Eren Yeager struggle to open a jar of pickles, she [[ComicallyMissingThePoint casually pops the lid off while thinking to herself that the book was right]].
* ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'': Roma seems to have a combination of this and ILoveYouBecauseICantControlYou towards Kaneki, in that she admires how he has the strength to not lose to anything but she also thinks he's beautiful when he's in the midst of despair and seeks to ruin his life so he'll go back to being the beautiful tragic Kaneki she adores.
* ''Manga/Classi9'' plays this trope completely straight, but with a bisexual man with a weakness fetish: Tchaikovsky doesn't care about genders once someone has piqued his interest. It may be physical, emotional or social, in any way Tchaiko is attracted to people weaker than him and likes to dote on them - and maybe watch them struggle. He also subjected all of his classmates to a test of strength to see who was weaker than him.
* 774's LovingBully Nagatoro of ''Manga/IjiranaideNagatoroSan'' is like this towards her upperclassman. He has an honest desire to continue his path towards becoming a mangaka, which endears him to her, but his cowardice and timid nature makes her want to bully and tease him. And as he later notices, she's only ever like that around ''him''; other, more confident boys who fail to impress merely get the stink-eye.

* In a world of overmuscled macho superheroes, meek, helpless ''ComicBook/{{normalman}}'' finds he is irresistible to women partially because he's so pathetic that he activates some kind of motherly instinct and partially because he's the only man on Levram who isn't an oiled up thickhead.
* The basis of ''Franchise/WonderWoman'''s attraction to Steve Trevor, in UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks. Although Trevor's hardly a 98-pound weakling -- he's an Army pilot, after all -- all men seem fragile to Diana, who can bench press jeeps. In one story where Steve experiments with an electronic device that "releases brain energy into the muscles", he gets to have SuperStrength and bosses Diana around a bit, but she muses "Some girls like to have a man stronger than they are make them do things. Do I -- like it? I don't know -- it's sort of thrilling. But isn't it more fun to make the man obey?"
* When an alien queen comes to earth to court {{Superman}}, she ultimately decides she had really fallen in love with Clark, and found a gentle, weak man for her husband.
* It's been stated that the prime reason Betty Banner feels attracted to Bruce Banner, ComicBook/TheIncredibleHulk, is because she grew up surrounded by military men, and she wanted to know someone more passive and calm, and less aggressive and authoritarian. This gets reinforced by the fact that, when much later in the comics, Bruce Banner got his personalities assimilated into one coherent one, she started feeling dubious about being still in love with him, because his new personality was much more assertive and powerful, and she didn't feel that he needed her anymore to reassure himself.
* Red Marvin in ''ComicBook/{{DungeonTwilight}}'' is sleeping with a dragonoid woman who says that she prefers him to her husband as a lover since he is weaker (Red Marvin is a rabbit and her husband is a giant dragon). This upsets Red Marvin and he decides to challenge the husband to show he is the strongest.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''{{ComicStrip/Modesty Blaise}}'s'' sidekick Willy exploits this in Rosita, Gaspar's girlfriend in "Dossiers on Pluto".

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* This is a recurring basis in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11772125/1/Metroid-Kamen-Rider-Generations-Full-Series Metroid: Kamen Rider Generations]]'' with [[Series/KamenRiderGaim Mitsuzane]] becoming [[Franchise/{{Metroid}} Samus Aran's]] LoveInterest. Not only Mitsuzane is gentle, sensitive, and friendly, he has a [[DarkAndTroubledPast tragic]] [[MyGreatestFailure backstory]] [[BrokenBird that made him never the same]] -- although Mitsuzane is not all frail; as he still continues fighting as an Armored Rider, but it is his insecurities from his past is getting the best of him. That being said, Samus has a thing for someone as young and sensitive as Mitsuzane. Bonus points for Samus becoming his SecondLove.
* Fanfic/NeonMetathesisEvangelion: Well, maybe not ''weakness''. But as Asuka notes after having fallen in love with both Shinji and Rei:
-->Asuka’s palm went to her face. It really did seem like she had a thing for cute puppies.
* Referenced in ''[[http://archiveofourown.org/works/12842316/chapters/29323695 The Green Arrow Volume I: Shades of Gray]]'', Tommy, jealous of the apparent attraction between Dinah and Oliver, notes that between the recent kidnapping and return from an island, Oliver has the "wounded puppy thing going for him". Subverted however in that their attraction is based on similarities and compassion, and Dinah won't give Tommy the time of day because he's a SerialRapist.

* TruthInTelevision in ''Film/MurderBall'', a documentary that stars a team of [[HandicappedBadass paraplegics]] who plays wheelchair rugby in the paralympics. Really more of a subversion. The guys may be shameless about playing this card when they're trying to chat women up, but the footage of the rugby matches shows they're anything but weak, and a couple (especially Zupan) are downright scary.
* In ''Film/{{Zombieland}}'', Witchita actually commented that Colombus is like a scared bunny, or something along the lines. But he doesn't really get the girl until he goes all [[Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail KILLER BUNNY]] on some zombies for her.
* Music/FrankSinatra seemed to begin his movie career playing characters like these. {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in ''Take Me Out to the Ball Game''.

* In ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'', Jerin is quite a [[SpiritedYoungLady spirited young gentleman]] (compared to other men in that setting), but he just can't say "no" to the princesses. While some of them like his spunky attitude, at least one of them, Trini, warms to him gradually, and apparently in part because he is meek and gentle (unlike her abusive late husband), and in need of protection. [[spoiler: She only agrees to marry him in the first place because she is informed that he will have to marry a family she hates (and heavily suspects to be abusive), if she and her sisters don't take him. That triggers her protective instinct, which she's later seen acting on.]]
* Creator/PGWodehouse liked this trope. In one book it is a strong trait of a girl one character likes, that it is part of her ambitions to be a good influence on the man she loves (a sort of LoveMartyr syndrome), and he wins her over when she mistakenly believes him to be an alcoholic, so she stays by his side to save him from himself. (Which seems to be working, considering that the guy was not actually a heavy drinker.)
** The phenomenon is further explained in ''UncleDynamite'' by the titular Uncle Fred whose nephew Pongo apparently elicits this reaction from girls (while not a strong or very heroic guy himself). (When Pongo's polar opposite Bill Oakshot, a large sturdy guy falls in love with the same girl he suggests that he'd be unable to use the same strategy and has to be the opposite, the "dominant male" - which eventually works for Bill.)
** Another example: Jane Hubbard ([[GreatWhiteHunter big game hunter]]) and Eustace Hignett (poet) in ''The Girl on the Boat'' (aka ''Three Men and a Maid):''
--> Jane was deeply stirred. Even as he sat, looking so pale and piteous, at the piano, her big heart had gone out to him, and now, in his moment of anguish, he seemed to bring to the surface everything that was best and most compassionate in her nature.
* [[Literature/VorkosiganSaga Miles Vorkosigan]] once lampshaded this trope himself. Being under five feet tall and, even after getting his bones replaced, delicate enough for most grown woman to readily overpower, he noted that he was singularly unthreatening and "it made them bold."
* In Issac Asimov's novel "The Robots of Dawn," Gladia apparently felt this for Elijah. When he was in shock from being outside (since Elijah grew up in Earth's underground Cities) and helpless, Gladia found herself quite aroused, and Elijah woke to Gladia initiating foreplay with him.
* In the novella ''Literature/ATasteOfHoney'', Femysade chooses PrettyBoy Aqib as her husband expressly because his submissive character and slight build turn her on. As an added bonus, he's also a couple of years younger than she is.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': The possibility of intimacy with Angel doesn't comes up in Cordelia's mind until she glimpses a world in which she never joined the agency. This resulted in Angel inheriting Doyle's visions instead, causing him to go mad.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** While Buffy tends to go for men who are much stronger than average, [[GenreSavvy Dawn]] reveals in one episode, regarding a recently-injured Riley: "Oh, she just said you look even cuter when you're all weak and [[BuffySpeak kitten-y]], and she'd better go solo, or you'd get hurt."
** She also quite enjoys nursing Angel back to health and in the Season 8 Comics we discover one of Buffy's sexual fantasies involves Angel and Spike chained to her, with Buffy dressed in a NaughtyNurseOutfit.
* On ''Series/ThirdRockFromTheSun'', Dick spent an entire episode struggling to get a date with various attempts at being cool and manly. At the end of the episode, he discovers that talking about what a loser he is works much better.
* Britta Perry on ''{{Series/Community}}'' is a self-admitted example. In her case it's usually played to reflect her ''own'' weaknesses, however, since it's suggested she only initiates relationships with deadbeats and losers in order to validate her own lack of self-worth.
* On ''Series/NewGirl'', Nick and Schmidt try to attract a GirlOfTheWeek with their sob stories.
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS09E02DevilMayCare "Devil May Care" (S09, Ep02)]], Crowley tells Kevin that Abaddon will like him because he is skinny and submissive.
* In ''Series/EverybodyLovesRaymond'', Ray discovers acting utterly pathetic is apparently the most attractive thing a man can do for a woman. He uses this to finally get some alone time with Debra, and a friend of his uses it at the very end to successfully woo a co-worker he's had a crush on.
* Ann Perkins, the nurse from ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'', definitely has a Florence Nightingale thing going on. Being in relationships with stable, confident men freak her out, most notably her unhappiness with perfect physical specimen Chris Traeger. (It turns out though that Chris is super susceptible to flu season, and Ann is overjoyed to be able to take care of him.)
* ''Series/TwoAndAHalfMen'': Rose starts dating Alan but when he starts to speak his mind on how he feels about her stalking and puts up boundaries Rose states "I never seen this side of [[CowardlyLion Alan]] [[ExtremeDoormat Harper]] before. Confident...assertive...I don't think I like him very much." She then glues one of his toy cars to his chest.
* ''Series/Daredevil2015'': [[BlindJustice Matt Murdock]] is a bit of a ladies' man. In a flashback to their college days, Foggy speculates that women must love the "wounded duck" aspect of him being handsome and blind. It's a RunningGag for Foggy to express annoyance whenever Matt effortlessly flirts with attractive women in front of him, with [[SexySecretary Karen]] being immediately smitten with Matt from the get-go, constantly casting starry-eyed looks at him or fawning about him when she's not preoccupied with work.

* In''Theatre/TheDesertSong'', Clementina tries to seduce Bennie due to her fetish for "weak, Western men".

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'': The [[PlayerCharacter Female Sith Warrior's]] relationship with Imperial officer [[LoveInterest Malavai Quinn]]. Both in Body (since she's a [[PersonOfMassDestruction carnage-wreaking]] [[BloodKnight Sith]]... well, [[CaptainObvious Warrior]] who could wipe the floor with him in seconds if she so chose [[spoiler:and can, after he betrays her]]), and in Temperament (since she flirts very aggressively with him, while he is ''much'' more meek, humble, and submissive to her). The UnequalPairing of a Sith coming onto an Imperial officer (her social inferior in every way) doesn't help. ''Many'' flirt options and romance dialogue also imply she gets off on the power she can exert over him in their relationship. (Though the fact that he's an AmazonChaser who is InLoveWithYourCarnage helps somewhat.)

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* In ''VisualNovel/LittleBusters'', this can be assumed of the girls, given that the protagonist is an IllBoy with a young-looking, feminine face and a kindly personality. However, Mio is definitely this: when he's DraggedIntoDrag, Kurugaya noted that she in particular was likely thinking that Riki looked {{Moe}} (which she unconvincingly denied) and later she claimed outright that she prefers feminine men.
* In ''VisualNovel/TheFruitOfGrisaia'', [[CoolBigSis Amane]] claims that this is the reason she fell in love with Yuuji - that he seemed 'sort of hopeless'. Though unusually, Yuuji is neither feminine in appearance or behaviour - in fact, he's a badass with a military background. What Amane's referring to is his lack of common sense when it comes to the ordinary world and his coinciding lack of social skills. When he declines being her boyfriend, she suggests that he let her be his older sister instead.
-->'''Amane:''' "If I'm not around, how is this guy gonna keep himself alive?" and all that. I'm a sucker for that kind of man, it seems.

* In ''Webcomic/SomethingPositive'', Kim has a thing for guys who aren't completely conscious, even going so far as to ''chloroform'' a few. When she's left alone to look after Davan, who's zonked out on pain meds, well... you can guess what happens. It's never treated as okay, but it [[BlackComedyRape still comes up for humor]], years later.
* Dorothy in ''Webcomic/DumbingOfAge'' definitely enjoys [[ParentingTheHusband Walky's juvenile and submissive personality]]...
* Deconstructed in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''. [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Vriska]], resident [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder backstabbing]] [[AntiHero antiheroine]] is attracted to ShrinkingViolet [[TheWoobie Tavros]]...''and it freaks her out.'' Most of the time, Vriska actively denies/[[SelectiveObliviousness represses]] it because even ''thinking'' Tavros might have any [[LoveIsAWeakness power]] over her disturbs her ego greatly. Even worse, she has no ability to express these feelings in a positive way, so her relationship to Tavros is less 'caring partner' and more [[{{Yandere}} 'abusive spouse'.]] (And Tavros isn't even aware that Vriska ''feels'' affection for him, given that she's the PoisonousFriend who once [[spoiler:threw him off a cliff]].)
** Played straight with Vriska's other possible love interest, [[TheHero John Egbert]], a [[{{Adorkable}} cute]], [[TheMovieBuff nerdy]] [[IdiotHero space case]] who is quite possibly the only person who is [[MoralityPet capable of making Vriska feel guilty about any of the things she does]]. [[spoiler:Subverted when it's revealed that John doesn't return her feelings and Vriska lets go of them, although after some rocky first impressions, John is happy to just be her friend]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Bones, the female bodybuilder in ''CoolCatStudios'', ends up dating the small, slender, and shy Michael.
%%* Mercilessly lampooned [[http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=311 here]] by Creator/KateBeaton (along with RealWomenDontWearDresses).
* Subverted with WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick. She has a thing for weak men, but what she loves about them is making them weaker.
* Referenced by Katie in the Website/{{Cracked}} ''WebVideo/AfterHours'' episode [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D97eeIrnsmc The 4 Best Movie Universes to Die In]], in reference to Soren's sadness over his dead dog.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueCrisisOnTwoEarths'', Superwoman is in a relationship with Owl Man, that universe's version of Batman. When Batman confronts her she seems to want to add him to the mix. Effortlessly breaking one of Batman's ribs seems to be a huge turn-on for her.
* Kim's attraction to Ron in ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' since she is much stronger then him. Though she might be turned on in [[PowerIsSexy quite the opposite way]] after he TookALevelInBadass in the GrandFinale.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AladdinTheSeries'', Prince Uncouthma's fiance Brawnhilda falls for Aladdin because he is smaller and weaker by comparison. When an assassination attempt leaves Uncouthma injured, she immediately returns to him, pledging to look after her "fragile darling".
* Sheriff Stone and Mayor Nettles' relationship comes off this way in ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated''. When he's terrified, she finds him adorable.
* In ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'', after Dale knocks out John Redcorn who's trying to sneak into their bedroom after Nancy breaks up their affair, Nancy calls him up the next day to let him know she wants their relationship again.
--> '''Nancy''': It's just, seeing you like that, passed out on the floor all vulnerable... like a sexy wounded bear.
* ''Disney/{{Bambi}}:'' Between [[ShrinkingViolet Bambi]] and [[GenkiGirl Faline]], all of the pursuing in their relationship, romantic and otherwise, is done by the latter. Bambi actually seems terrified of Faline the first time he meets her.