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Am I Just a Toy to You?

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Thrym: Is that all I am to you? A resource to be used in your scheme?
Hel: Yes! And I explicitly told you that from the start!
Thrym: Yeah, but I didn't think you meant it.

A situation common in works that aren't bound by No Hugging, No Kissing standards. Alice is being flirted with by Bob in such a manner that it's unambiguously clear that he has an interest in her. This interest can range from playful teasing to kissing or even going all the way.

However, Bob has a reputation as The Casanova or Handsome Lech with a penchant for going through girlfriends faster than a box of tissues, which makes Alice believe that he only views her as another Girl of the Week or a Lust Object. This depresses Alice because she really does like Bob, but dreads the inevitable day when he will grow tired of her and move on to a new conquest.

Eventually Alice will have to ask Bob the titular question. Inevitably, the answer is no; Bob's interest in Alice is more than sexual desire (which is implicitly shallow) and on a deeper emotional level.

Sometimes, Bob will be so used to Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places that he doesn't realize his deeper feelings for Alice at first, and will have to learn that there really is a difference between lust and love.

Note that if Alice instead assumes wholeheartedly that she's "different" to Bob, Bob will almost always live up to his womanizing reputation and leave her heartbroken.

Also see Sex Equals Love which sometimes overlaps with this, though the focus here is on whether the sex or flirting is motivated by love or not. Compare Revenge Romance, if they really are a toy. When the situation involves more platonic betrayals involving The Mole instead of a romantic relationship, see Was It All a Lie?


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk: Casca seems to imply this after she and Guts make love when he returns to aid the Hawks one year after he had left. He tells her his plans of leaving again after their leader Griffith is rescued, which leaves Casca thinking of Guts as a selfish bastard who is ready to forget about her. Then he tells her to come with him.
  • A Girl on the Shore: Initially Koume and Isobe admit they are just using each other for sex.
  • Early on in the Gravitation manga, Shuichi confronts Yuki on his sleeping around with women even after he's agreed to take Shuichi as his lover, demanding to know where he stands among all these women. Yuki replies that he's the first one... in stupidity, anyway. Later events prove that he really does care for Shuichi as more than a sex toy, though.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Harry Potter fic Apex Predator, while neither Fleur nor Harry has acknowledged it, this is a good description of their initial relationship. As a Veela, Fleur is used to finding most of the boys she dates to be arrogant bores, only enjoying short-term flings so that she can have sex and dump her partners when it's convenient. While initially drawn to Harry as she is intrigued by him being both a powerful wizard and a submissive personality, she swiftly becomes more emotionally attached to him than she expected, and while Harry isn't fully aware of Fleur's cultural attitude towards such relationships, he has already asserted himself when Fleur nearly "punished" him for a completely inadvertent offence to such an extent that Fleur actively apologised for her mistake. Fleur later expresses dread at the idea of other Veela trying to take Harry from her and basically turn him into a breeding tool, recognising that Harry needs and deserves emotional support beyond just a chance to enjoy having sex.
  • Dragon Ball Z Elsewhere: Lord Maccha's wife realizes she is really just a tool for her lover Kyonshi. With whom she shares a three-year-old daughter, nonetheless. He seduced her for the sole purpose of having her back-stab her husband.
  • My Huntsman Academia: Inverted. After learning that Izuku Cannot Talk to Women, Yang quickly develops a habit of acting flirtatiously around him to watch him stutter and blush for a quick laugh. But while they're hanging out in Vale over Color Week, she asks him if he feels like she's bullying him with her antics and promises to stop if he wants her to. The question initially stuns Izuku, who decides to disabuse her of that notion and thanks her for bringing him out of his shell and helping him feel more comfortable around girls.
  • Two Letters: Chat Noir constantly harassed Ladybug for nearly two years, insisting that she HAD to hook up with him because they'd both been chosen to become superheroes at the same time. Right as Ladybug was starting to break down and consider giving him a chance, he abruptly switched targets to Marinette, unaware that they're the same person. Marinette suspected that he only cared about the challenge; while Adrien denies this, he also makes clear that he doesn't give a damn about how Ladybug might have been hurt, haughtily declaring that she needed to accept that he wasn't interested and move on... the very thing he refused to do.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In .45, Liz is seduced by Kat and assumes the two of them will become a couple she murders Clancy and frames Big Al for the crime in order to free Kat from his influence. However, Kat then causally blows her off: claiming that she had done no more than what Liz had taught and even throwing her own words back in her face. Kat then leaves as Liz breaks down.
  • In Iron Man, there are shades of this with Pepper and Tony's relationship. After they slow dance at a party, they go out on the balcony where Pepper has a minor freakout, partly because Tony's reputation as a Casanova makes her insecure about his intentions. Further complicated by the fact that she really is attracted to him.

  • A staple of romantic novels.
  • In Dragon Bones Ward is flirted with by an attractive woman, and rejects her, on the grounds that he would be just a toy to her (he knows she's sleeping with other men and her offer is just about no-strings-attached sex).
  • Earth's Children: When Ayla is debating whether to marry Ranec despite her ongoing love for Jondalar in The Mammoth Hunters, she thinks that Jondalar (who has a Really Gets Around reputation) must not love her anymore and was possibly never that serious about her at all, as he's not only been avoiding and emotionally withdrawing from her, he never told her he wanted to be her mate, make a hearth with her and raise children (unlike Ranec). Near the end of the book, when Ayla and Jondalar reconcile, Ayla points this out to Jondalar after he explains he never stopped loving her. Jondalar chides himself for taking Ayla for granted, not realising how she may be feeling and not making his own feelings clear; he tells her he absolutely wants to be with her for the rest of their lives and she happily accepts his proposal.
  • Agatha Christie's novel Five Little Pigs has a serial womanizer artist murdered, with his wife having been overheard saying that "he's too cruel". She was jailed for his murder despite claiming her innocence, and it turns out in spite of his numerous affairs with his latest model, he always returned to his wife and never considered abandoning her. The latest girl was madly in love with him and didn't take it well when she found she was just a toy to him (the "too cruel" referred to the man's imminent behavior towards the girl, not his wife). So she killed him and framed his wife...but has found her life dreary and boring ever since.
  • Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi: One reason why Lan Wanji didn't like it when Wei Wuxian flirted with others in the past was that it gave off the impression that the latter wasn't taking people's feelings seriously, including his interactions with Lan Wangji himself. This issue comes up again in the present timeline when they have their first physically intimate moment; Wei Wuxian's poor phrasing ruins the moment as he makes it sounds like he was only showing his gratitude to Lan Wangji, making the latter question how his companion truly values him. What doesn't help afterwards is that Wei Wuxian brushes it off by saying that such things are normal and that it can happen to anyone, which leaves Lan Wangji stung and hurt.
  • In Heroes Adrift Lee finally gets sexually involved with her Urban Legend Love Life partner Taro. This scene is definitely likely to happen in the next book, seeing as she went into it expecting to get dumped when he finds other women to boink.
  • Loretta Chase's Mr. Impossible. Daphne thinks that Lovable Rogue Rupert's shameless come-ons to her are only his standard way of playing around with women. It isn't until near the end of the novel that Rupert realizes that love is the reason why his feelings for Daphne are more complex than wanting to get her naked, and is finally able to enter into an actual relationship with her.
  • Star Wars: It's probably completely platonic, but something very similar to this trope happens in the Hand of Thrawn duology. Supreme Commander Pellaeon, hearing the rumors of his mentor and leader Grand Admiral Thrawn coming Back from the Dead, talks to a subordinate, trying to work out why Thrawn wouldn't have contacted him. He considers that maybe Thrawn just wants him where he is, out of the way.
    Subordinate: I don't believe he would do that to you, sir. Not after all you went through together.
    Pellaeon: You don't believe that any more than I do. Thrawn wasn't human, you know, no matter how human he might have looked. He was an alien, with alien thoughts and purposes and agendas. Perhaps I was never more to him than just one more tool he could use in reaching his goal.
  • In The Wheel of Time series, Mat gets used as a "doll" by Queen Tylin. He gets a bit of teasing for this, even before the rest of the cast knows what's actually going on since he has a reputation as a womanizer.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In the episode "Hush", Anya complains that Xander doesn't have any strong feelings for her and believes the only thing he cares about is "lots of orgasms." She's proven wrong when Xander assaults Spike, believing him to be attacking her and drinking her blood.
    • When they have their first serious squabble in "Tough Love", Willow accuses Tara of thinking that Willow is just using her to indulge a Gay Romantic Phase.
    • Spike also accuses Buffy of this once they start sleeping together. While she admits to having feelings for him on some level, the combination of her self-loathing, depression, and their different moral positions due to his soulless nature makes it impossible for her to truly love and accept him. Meaning, for the most part, he's entirely correct.
  • In Cheers, Diane mulls over this subject often, regarding Sam's feelings towards her.
  • In the Series/Forever 2014 episode "The Last Death of Henry Morgan," after Henry tricks Jo into giving a suspect a poisoned drink to coerce him into telling where Adam's pugio is, Jo drives Henry home, then stops the car and asks him, "What am I to you?" Although Henry says she's his partner and someone he cares very deeply about, Jo calls him out on not trusting her enough to tell her the truth.
  • In Gossip Girl, Blair wonders if the only reason Chuck has been pursuing her so tenaciously is that he can't stand losing. He confirms that it was all just a game to him. He's lying through his teeth.
  • In the My Name Is Earl Flashback episode "Guess Who's Coming Out of Joy," Joy has been cheating on Earl with Darnell. She suggests getting down in the freezer at the Crab Shack, which does not appeal to Darnell. He then asks her, "Why's it always gotta be just sex with us? I want to go to the movies, like a normal couple!" The two proceed to argue, and (temporarily) end their relationship.
  • In Spaced Twist asks Brian that she wants him to see her as a whole. When he assures her he does, she stresses "A whole Brian, with a w."

  • The Drifters' "You're More Than a Number in My Little Red Book" is an attempt to console a lover who's been convinced otherwise by the rumour mill.
  • The protagonist in HoneyWorks' song "Mean Encounter" is a playboy who uses sweet words to flirt with girls. Over the course of the song, he fell in love with a girl who is immune to his charms. She started to reciprocate his feeling, but near the end of the music video, she saw him sweet talk other girls to get out of trouble, causing her to wonder if the things he's said to her is all a lie.
  • "I'm Not Your Toy" by La Roux is a song that rejects this notion. Its lyrics sing about how the boy the singer knows frustrates attempts to love them and that they can't have any faith put in them to return it.
  • In the song "Paradise by the Dashboard Light", Phil Rizzuto's baseball play-by-play (which is also describing what's going on in the car between the two teens,) says
    safe at third! Holy cow, stolen base!
    He's taking a pretty big lead out there, almost
    daring him to try and pick him off. The pitcher
    glance over, winds up, and it's bunted, bunted
    down the third base line, the suicide squeeze in on!
    Here he comes, squeeze play, it's gonna be close,
    here's the throw, there's the play at the plate,
    holy cow, I think he's gonna make it!
Which makes that a hell of a time to stop and have a relationship talk. But one which makes him duly compliant in promising to love her 'til the end of time — and, in due course, praying for that very same end of time to be released from his promise.
  • The song "Starring Role" by Marina & the Diamonds is pretty much this trope. To quote the first verse :
    You're hard to hug, tough to talk to, and I never fall asleep
    When you're in my bed, all you give me is a heartbeat
    I've turned into a statue, and it makes me feel depressed
    'Cause the only time you open up is when we get undressed
But that's just the "best" part of it, more or less everything else reminds one of this trope.

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition: A potential conversation the Inquisitor can have with a romanced Solas, after he reveals that he was actually the Greater-Scope Villain of the games and Corypheus's plan was just a bastardized version of his plan to merge the real world and the Fade. Solas confirms that his feelings for her were real, he just feels honor-bound to remove the Veil and ultimately couldn't let his relationship with the Inquisitor stand in the way.

    Visual Novels 
  • Katawa Shoujo:
    • Surprisingly, Hanako's path inverts this. Hanako allows Hisao to have sex with her because she doesn't want him to keep seeing her as a child that needs to be protected.
    • Turns up in Emi Ibarazaki's path as well. Hisao thinks this may be the case, as she sleeps with Hisao multiple times, but doesn't want him to get closer to her emotionally. Thankfully, he realises her reasoning behind this and the pair eventually overcome their difficulties.

    Web Animation 
  • In Helluva Boss, Blitzo (a low-class imp who runs an assassination business) and Stolas (a demon prince of Hell) meet once a month on the night of the full moon to have sex, a "favors for favors" system Stolas set up because Blitzo needs the prince's grimoire to access the living world and keep his business afloat. Stolas began showing actual feelings for Blitzo, but could also barely carry on a conversation with him that wasn't overtly sexual and hardly ever treated him as an equal. While Blitzo is hesitant to admit his feelings about Stolas, it's clear that he feels like Stolas views him as nothing more than a plaything, and he finally tells Stolas as much at the end of the episode "OZZIE'S".
    Stolas: You know... I have some more wine, in the house. Octavia is with her mother this weekend, so we could-
    Blitzo: I'm not fucking you tonight, okay? I'm really just... (takes a heavy, shaky breath, clearly holding back tears; puts his hand to his face) I'm really not in the mood, Stolas.
    Stolas: We could talk? Or watch a movie? Or, maybe, cuddle?
    Blitzo: Stolas, don't act like what we have is anything but you wanting me to fuck you, okay? You make that (voice starts breaking) really clear all the time. But I just- I- I can't do it tonight, okay? I'm sorry.
  • Seira Hinamori from MGT School uses people to get shoutouts. She does it to Zodiac and Lauryn, who both end up betraying her.

    Web Comics 
  • BOO! It's Sex: Troy breaks up with Denise after realizing that she slept with another man while they were seeing each other. Because neither had articulated their expectations, he thought they were in an exclusive relationship, while she thought they were casually dating and free to see other people. Denise is heartbroken, since Troy was the only man she had considered for a long-term relationship.
  • The Order of the Stick: The frost giant king working for Hel can't get it into his head that he is in fact only a useful tool for Hel, despite her stating this outright.
  • This xkcd, in which the man says his relationship with a girl was only sexual, then admits that it's much more than that, but he wanted to keep the length of their sentences the same.

    Web Original 
  • After a date full of awkward small talk, The Nostalgia Critic screams this at The Nostalgia Chick, asking if she even cares about him before storming off. We find out later that he's one of the very few people who she does give a damn about.

    Western Animation 
  • Between, Satan and Saddam in the South Park movie, Satan is the one worried that he's being used—both for sex and as a means to conquer the world.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Sadie and Lars share an obvious Belligerent Sexual Tension, but there's an implication they have a physical (and possibly sexual) Secret Relationship. It's also obvious the "secret" part is all from Lars fearing he could be seen as uncool for it, and Sadie makes it clear in "Joking Victim" and "The New Lars" that she hates Lars being such a fairweather friend/lover.
      Sadie: That night we played video games, I don’t know what it meant to you. But ever since then, I can’t get the thought out of my head that you’re a good person. That night, I really thought... Player Two. Is that just your way of saying I could’ve been anyone?
    • In "We Need to Talk", Greg worries that he's just a passing "playmate" for Rose, which isn't helped by her seemingly refusing to take him seriously due to a misunderstanding of how human relationships are supposed to work. Once Greg is finally able to force a conversation about the issue, Rose starts properly reciprocating his feelings.


Video Example(s):



The second-to-last episode of Helluva Boss ends on a sad note. Blitzo rejects Stolas' offer to spend more time with him, believing that the Goetia Prince only cares about him for sex. He returns home alone, and spends the night looking at images on his phone. The last one he looks at, one of his sister and possibly mother, makes him curl up in a Troubled Fetal Position, crying Broken Tears, all alone.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / DownerEnding

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