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Power is Sexy

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"Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac."
Henry Kissinger, U.S. Secretary of State 1973-1977

What is it about power that can make someone weak in the knees? Perhaps it's the control issues, to be dominated by someone that's just more than you, or is it something that just brings out our primal lust?

Naturally, the Super-Trope of many dominant/subordinate relationship-based tropes. Also related is Evil Is Sexy, seeing as how evil is often simply a means of attaining power. This trope is often used to explain the Kavorka Man and All Girls Want Bad Boys. Compare and contrast In Love with Your Carnage; also compare Power Dynamics Kink, when someone is "turned on" by being subjugated and punished.

Truth in Television.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • This is referenced in High School D×D when Ddraig tells Issei that powerful dragons (like Issei) are always surrounded by women.
  • A downplayed example, but one of the things that caught Hancock's attentions to Luffy One Piece (despite being likely the most gorgeous knockout in the whole series who could have any man she wants) is that he is completely unaffected by her charms. She falls for him because he is a Nice Guy. (Sadly, that also makes her a Hopeless Suitor towards him, as he is Oblivious to Love.)
  • Discussed by Kaguya in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War (she doesn't actually mean it though, she's just using the discussion to hide the fact that she's in love with Shirogane). No matter what kind of power a person comes across (wealth, physical, mental, etc.) ultimately she argues that it's the main attraction factor for men. Since they're secure in their field, a woman would feel safe under their care and feel like they can depend upon them for whatever comes next in their relationship.

    Comic Books 
  • Nemesis the Warlock: Torquemada's wife Candida admits that she's primarily attracted to him because of his power when pressed why she's staying with a psycho fanatic.
  • Judge Dredd: Serial killer PJ Maybe, who is masquerading as Mayor Byron Ambrose at that time, privately voices his attraction to Chief Judge Hershey, specifically because of her bossy demeanor.
  • Almost all of Kate Kane's relationships have been with women who hold some type of power: Sophie Moore was a fellow high-ranking West Point cadet, Renee Montoya and Maggie Sawyer are cops, Safiyah Sohail was the de facto ruler of a pirate nation, and she's dated at least one lawyer. This attraction also extends to superpowers, as Kate has expressed desire for both Wonder Woman and Zatanna (though she's not been in a romantic relationship with a meta yet). On a more physical basis, she tends to be attracted to either women of color with wavy dark hair, or short-haired blonde women.

    Fan Fic 
  • Professor Arc:
    • Cinder, believing Jaune to be a man of cunning and power, starts trying to seduce him into joining her.
    • After becoming the Hero of Vale and being promoted to headmaster, Jaune receives wedding proposals from those eager to share in his fame and power.
  • The Bridge: Both Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, leaders of Equestria, are widely considered stunners with a wide assortment of admirers. Princess Celestia jokingly laments at how many courting attempts she'd gotten over the millennia.
  • In The Power of Seven, Demelza and Susan each seem to be attracted to power, which Harry possesses in great quantity, even as their attraction also focuses on his compassion; Demelza in particular is often shown reflecting on how Harry could easily overpower her but would only ever use that strength to protect her.
  • In Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- fanfic Shatterheart, Syaoran notes that both his love interests are higher ranked than him. Syaoran's middle-class, his First Love Sakura is royalty and Second Love Kurogane is nobility.

    Film — Animation 
  • In The Incredibles, Bob Parr (as Mr. Incredible) meets Mirage in a volcano and asks why the operation is situated in such a place. She responds, "[My boss] is attracted to power. So am I."
    Mirage: It's a... weakness we share.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Parodied in Spaceballs, as Dark Helmet play this very straight in his pathetic and very private Show Within the Show: He's playing with dolls, and the doll representing the princess falls for the doll representing himself on the basis of him being so powerful.
    Dark Helmet: [as Vespa] Oh no! I hate you I hate you I hate you! Leave me alone! And yet... I find you strangely attractive.
    Dark Helmet: [as himself] Of course you do! Druish princesses are attracted to money and power, and I have both.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, this appears to be the reason why the blond secretary flirted with Steve. During the debriefing scene with Colonel Phillips, she couldn't keep her eyes off of him. And later, when Steve asked to speak with Howard Stark, she wasn't even about to give him the time of the day until she recognized him. When she did, she was all over him.
  • Machete Kills has the President of the United States in bed with three beautiful White House interns.
  • In the spoof film Epic Movie, Mystique dismisses Peter's advances as he's very unpopular and considered a wimp. However, when it turns out he's gonna become the king of Gnarnia, she pulls him into a tent where she plans to have sex with him, even saying she'll shapeshift into whatever he wants. He chooses a bigger breast size, a bigger ass size, a monobrow, and "big flabby grandma arms"/"Bingo wings like a fat blue Britney Spears". Despite the odd requests, she still does all of them and is still attracted to him, wiggling her tongue after turning fat and getting it on with him soon after.
    Mystique: So... you're gonna be the king of Gnarnia?
    Peter: That's what they say.
    Mystique: Mmm...I think that's so hot. (Grabs his arm) Why don't we get out of here? (She chuckles and pulls him into the tent. The next shot between the two is her throwing him down on a bed and making out with him.)
  • In Fierce Creatures a woman is kneeling behind a bush appearing to 'service' billionaire Rod McCain (it's actually his son preparing to imitate his dead father, and the woman is trying to get his zipper done up), his bodyguard looks on admiringly and says "Power- gets them every time."

  • In Dragon Bones, ladies' man Beckram mentions that being of Hurog blood gives one a certain reputation, "like owning a dangerous animal" that makes him popular with the ladies. However, actually owning castle Hurog doesn't seem so interesting, as "no woman would want to live there" (it is in a very cold and remote part of the country). That's why he wants his cousin Ward, the protagonist, to do the actual owning. It is mentioned that the king has lots of (male) lovers, although it is not entirely clear as to whether that is due to this trope, or whether they're just trying to gain influence over him.
  • In Slave World, one of the main reasons Jenny falls in love with Lady Isobel is seeing her power over other people. An even greater aphrodisiac is that her discreetly forceful attitude makes it clear that she's used to having people bend to her will.
  • Various entities in The Dresden Files world seem drawn to power, especially when it's expressed through violence. For one example, near the beginning of Cold Days, Harry wins a fight in the Winter Court of the Sidhe, proclaims that the abuse of mortals stops now, and scatters a flash-frozen Sidhe noble across the dance floor when he starts to do the usual "pathetic mortal" routine. He promptly finds himself the focus of rapt attention from several superhumanly gorgeous Sidhe ladies, with his mortal (technically) date (and physical therapist) Sarissa explaining that this trope most definitely applies in the Winter Court. While Harry is initially half tempted, his next thought is, "nope!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • A good example is found in Francis Urquhart, the scheming Tory politician, in House of Cards (UK). To assist his bid for political power, he has an affair with a young and attractive journalist. At an early stage in this process, she comments on his attractiveness and one of her colleagues mentions the charismatic effect of power.
  • Parodied in-universe in The Thick of It, where Ollie and his then-girlfriend have some flirty banter about how he's gotten promoted and how the additional power makes him attractive. However, since Ollie is neither particularly powerful nor attractive, and both of them are fully aware of that, they are both clearly just joking. It's actually one of the few times where a genuinely light-hearted joke is made that both sides find funny, in comparison to the cock-ups and humiliations that are the usual source of humor.
  • On The 100, Bellamy establishes himself as the leader of the 100's camp early in Season 1, and he's quickly shown to have a borderline harem situation going on.
  • In the Night Court episode "The Price of a Guy", Christine's reaction to a Polynesian Royal Brat interrupting her leads to this:
    Christine: Hold it buster, I wasn't finished!
    Prince: In Kapua, no woman dares speak to a man that way.
    Christine: Well you're not in Kapua now, Chicken Legs, you're in America. And furthermore, my sex has no bearing on the fact that I'm a highly trained attorney, so pipe down and let me do this!
    Prince: I have never been spoken in this way by anyone. [beat] I like it.
And his attitude towards her for the rest of the episode is gushing and fawning, eventually trying to bribe her into being his wife. (She declines.)
  • Lampshaded in The West Wing by President Bartlet himself in "Process Stories", when he, Leo, and Bruno Gianelli all flirt with their womenfolk using data from that night's landslide election victory.
    Bartlet: I won the Dakotas. The Badlands. The Black Hills. But let's go down, way down, to the Deep South and the humid bayou of Louisiana and its nine electoral votes. What manner of man it must take to win the state. Which by the way is the only one operating under the Napoleonic Code of France, and I still don't know what that's all about, but back to me...
    Abbey: Hon, this is like, hot nerd talk?
    Bartlet: (handing her a drink) Who's your commander-in-chief?
    Abbey: (taking it) You are.
    Bartlet: And do the women like him? Oh yes … to the tune of fifty-eight percent!
  • How I Met Your Mother: Robin cites this trope as the reason she starts sleeping with an intern Ted hired. While the intern's power is minor (he can deny people access to the bathroom), she finds this sexy. When Ted fires him and he loses what little power he had, she loses interest in him.

  • Bleak Expectations: In series 4, when Mr. Benevolent nearly conquers Britain (again), Pippa notes that the closer he comes to success, the sexier she's finding him. In fact, he admits it's working on himself as well.

  • In Embers in the Dusk, a couple of apocryphal omakes show that combat prowess certainly is. One is about a sexy reporter interviewing an offworld Avernite who describes how he slew an Ork Warboss (because that's what the Governor would have done), and fainting as she begs to have his babies. Another is Rotbart's wife watching on TV as her husband performs a Colossus Climb to deal with an Incendiary Exponent mile-long Sand Worm, and having a major Soaked-Panties-Moment (her visiting friends do too, but she doesn't share).

  • In Jasper in Deadland, Gretchen has this impression of Jasper due to him still being alive.
    Gretchen: You’re so dangerous. It’s really doing it for me. I’m like, into it, but I’m like, afraid of it… I like, wanna get near you, but I think I wanna stay over here.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Invoked in Double Homework by Dr. Mosely/Zeta as the reason for picking Ms. Walsh to teach her summer school class. The idea is that the incompetent Ms. Walsh would leave a leadership vacuum which the protagonist would fill, thus making the girls more likely to sleep with him.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Family Guy, Peter and the guys play "who would you do?"
    Peter: Hey, you guys, here's one for you. Let's say none of us were married, all right? If you could have any woman in the world, who would it be?
    Cleveland: I would go with Margaret Thatcher.
    All: Margaret Thatcher?
    Peter: Why the hell Margaret Thatcher?
    Cleveland: Oh, so nobody here thinks power is sexy? Not one of you finds power sexy?

Alternative Title(s): The Power Of Sexy