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Pragmatic Pansexuality

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Pragmatic Pansexuality is when a character seduces or flirts with both men and women (or anyone else) as a means to achieve their goals. Especially prevalent in works dealing with professionally seductive spies and assassins who use sex to gather intelligence and/or make their kill, but can include any character who has sex with both genders for pragmatic reasons. Common among Depraved Bisexual villains, but increasingly popular for heroes.

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The character may be attracted to both genders anyway, or they may be willing to overlook their preferences for the sake of the job. That is the most important thing for this trope: they don't have to be pansexual for them to count. In fact, not being pansexual would make this trope even more applicable.

See But Not Too Bi if the character supposedly sleeps with targets of any gender, but primarily only flirts with or kisses targets of one gender. Compare Situational Sexuality, where the character has a preference but makes do with what's available, and If Its You Its Ok, where a single character is an exemption to a preference. If it's a woman who uses sex to achieve their goals but only goes after men, it's Femme Fatale.

If the character's orientation really does encompass all genders, that's Anything That Moves (and if it encompasses all species, Extreme Omnisexual).

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See also Suddenly Sexuality.

No real-life examples, please.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Berserk, Griffith spends a night with a noble named Gennon, who is a notorious homosexual and pederast, in order to receive financial compensation to fund Griffith's army. This event demonstrates Griffith's willingness to do anything to accomplish his goals. Later, Griffith seduces a princess, and it's implied that his motivation is based on a genuine attraction in addition to using the princess's status to further his own aims.
  • MW: The Depraved Bisexual villain Yuki sleeps with several characters to manipulate them, including Garai, who is a priest, his bosses daughter, the closeted Minch and Minch's wife, and Sumiko.

     Comic Books 
  • Wolverine's son Daken, who adopted the role of Wolverine in Dark Avengers, uses sex to manipulate both men and women. Word of God says that sex is purely about control for Daken.
  • Ninjette from Empowered is a true Master of Disguise- she once disguised herself as the groom who was arranged to marry her enemy's daughter, and even somehow managed to consummate the marriage, all to steal a forbidden scroll of power.
  • Harleen: When Harleen is distracted during her session with Poison Ivy, Ivy asks if her pheromones are working on her, curious to know of her powers are working on women, too. This seems to imply that she'd be willing to seduce women if the opportunity arose.
  • Subverted in Justice League Elite when Menagerie blows off an operation posing as one of Deathstroke's groupies after one of the other groupies hits on her; Menagerie is a bit homophobic.
  • Mystique is a Shapeshifting Seducer, who is well known to be pansexual. She has fallen in love with and married both men and women, both as a man or woman (or otherwise) herself. Even in the absence of romance, she is further willing to seduce and sleep with anyone of any gender if it fulfills her goals — whatever they may currently be.
  • The Punisher MAX: William Rawlins is an amoral CIA agent who'll use sex as a means of pursuing his own agenda, whether it be with a man or a woman

    Fan Works 
  • The Makings of Team CRME: Cinder Fall is depicted as asexual in this series. In My Name Is Cinder, she explicitly states she has no desire for love and doesn't show any sexual interest even when she tries to get into it. In CRME, however, she is shown to have no issue with seducing or having sex with others to manipulate them, regardless of gender. She regularly has sex with Emerald to keep her wrapped around her finger, and later has sex with Roman to keep him from complaining about working with the White Fang.
  • Vale's Underground: Yang is a sex worker who is completely and shamelessly straight. Almost all of her clients are men, but she is willing to sleep with women if they have the money to pay.
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    Film — Live Action 
  • Ace Ventura: Pet Detective: Lt. Lois Einhorn seduced several members of the Miami-Dade Police Department to reach the rank of police lieutenant. Come the Unsettling Gender Reveal, all the officers reacting with shocked disgust show how much she really got around.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service includes a scene where the Kingsman candidates are being trained in how to seduce a target, in this case a female club patron, and one of the candidates is another woman named Roxy.
  • In Red Sparrow, the Sparrows are taught to seduce their targets regardless of their own preferences.
    Matron: Must have been some boy in a field behind your house. A girl at a rainy bus stop? We'd like to think it makes a difference. But it doesn't. It's just flesh.
  • By the account of Daniel Craig, James Bond would have no qualms "using" a man in the same way he uses a woman. In Skyfall, Bond implies that he's been with men before while being hit on by Depraved Bisexual villain Raoul Silva.
  • Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder is a method actor who takes his work very seriously, completely committing to any and all of his roles. One of his roles was as a gay monk in an Oscar-bait period drama, and given his comment that in Hollywood "everyone's gay once in a while" it seems obvious that he's willing to engage in bisexual behavior to advance his own career in cinema.

    Literature 
  • Both the book and first film adaptation of The Day Of The Jackal has the titular Professional Killer seducing both men and women in order to obtain places to hide temporarily (and then kills them later when something happens that makes them too dangerous to keep alive (knowing about him, usually). Like many other things about the Jackal, it is never said whether or not he is an actual Depraved Bisexual or just that good at pretending he is.
  • Friday: A former courtesan turned into a spy for a private agency, had no compulsions against sleeping with both males and females if needed to further her goals.
  • Done, is a less voluntary fashion, by Finnick Odair of The Hunger Games, pimped by Snow to rich Capitolites. Given no mention of the gender of these patrons, we can assume they were of both genders.
  • In Night Watch, one of the eponymous organization's agents, Ignat, is revealed to be an incubus who works for the good guys to use his seduction powers for good. When another agent erroneously refers to him as a "succubus", their boss corrects him but makes an offhand remark that Ignat doesn't really care about his targets' gender, anyway.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Cersei Lannister sleeps with some of her underlings to gain more control over them. This mostly includes men, but also the Lady Taena Merryweather.
  • By Vorrutyer from The Vorkosigan Saga is a well-known libertine, who doesn't let details like gender interfere with his affairs. This turns out to be part of his job as part of Barrayaran Imperial Security.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Agent Carter, the female Leviathan assassin A.K.A. Dottie Underwood (forcefully) makes out with Peggy while wearing Drugged Lipstick in order to neutralize her and let her get caught by the SSR agents.
  • Deconstructed in The Americans, where Phillip Jennings was trained to seduce almost anybody, regardless of gender, and he's pretty good at it. The downside is, it's very hard for him to be truly intimate with anyone even if he wants to be. At one point, he admits to his wife that he's sometimes used his training on her to keep their marriage together.
  • In a long sketch on The Benny Hill Show Benny is a courier with a vital message sent from the king to Edinburgh. Along the way, he has changed into women's clothes to sneak through. He comes across some guards and acts coquettishly towards them one by one, so they'll come over to him and he can knock them unconscious. The third one sees "her" calling him over and dismisses her. Benny thinks for a moment, then disappears Behind the Black and reappears dressed as himself and does the same thing again, at which point the guard comes over.
  • Jack Harkness of Doctor Who and Torchwood, particularly in his first appearance in Doctor Who, when he is still a conman. In his first episode, he rescues Rose, flirts with her as part of a con, then half an hour later flirts with a male guard to get into a gated area. In later episodes, he is still bi but seems to have eased up using sex to manipulate people.
  • Firefly. All of the Companions are functionally bisexual and regularly service clients of both sexes. It becomes this due to the amount of power and prestige given to Companions because of their various high-ranking clients.
    • This is explicitly seen in "War Stories", in which the Companion Inara services a female client who also happens to be a powerful councilor.
    • Saffron, who according to Inara also received Companion training (but didn't become a Companion) attempts to seduce Inara during her escape from Serenity in the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds" (like the above Agent Carter example, she's wearing Drugged Lipstick at the time), and it is abundantly clear throughout the series that Saffron uses her sex appeal to get out of tough situations like the one above.
  • Notorious psychopath Nicole Wallace of Law & Order: Criminal Intent slept with marks of both genders if needed.
  • While she certainly seems to swing both ways by default, Bo of Lost Girl has some pragmatic bisexuality. Since she feeds off the sexual energy of others (tending to kill them if they're human), she tends to care less about a given "meal's" gender and more about how easily she can drink their chi. She also has hyper-seduction powers she can use just by touching someone and will use them against both men and women to get what she wants.
  • In an episode of NYPD Blue a recently released ex-con is suspected in the murder of his former cellmate/prison lover. During the course of the interview, the cop suggests that the man had gotten so used to homosexual relationships while in prison that he couldn't get it up with women anymore. The ex-con replies that in prison you do what you have to to survive, and it has no bearing on what happens on the outside.
  • Ellis from Smash has a girlfriend, but is all too ready to sleep a guy if it'll advance his career. Interestingly, the guy overhears Ellis talking to his GF about him dismissively and figures it out, dumping Ellis and putting his boss's plans at risk.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati: When a sleazy photographer takes some nude pictures of Jennifer she tries to seduce him to get them back. He rebuffs her (offscreen) so she thinks he's gay. The others talk Herb (who is otherwise a very straight man) into trying to seduce the photographer. Herb barges back into the WKRP office with the announcement "He's not gay!"

    Mythology and Folklore 
  • Loki of Norse Mythology can take this Up to Eleven. He once cheated a Frost Giant in disguise by shapeshifting into a mare so the Giant's stallion would be Distracted by the Sexy. This eventually resulted in the birth of Odin's eight-legged steed, Sleipnir. How embarrassed Loki is over this incident varies wildly from interpretation to interpretation (sometimes he proudly wears the "Horse-Mother" moniker, others simply referring to it is a sure way to draw his wrath).

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • In A Dance with Rogues, top agents of the Family are expected to use seduction and sex in pursuit of the organization's goals and are trained to seduce targets of any gender. Case in point: the Princess' seduction instructor is another woman. However, the Princess very rarely encounters women later in the game who can be of much assistance to her even if seduced, compared to a large number of men in power.
  • Dragon Age
    • Zevran from Dragon Age: Origins is bisexual and mentions that most Antivan Crows (assassins from his guild) swing both ways because it allows them to get close to their target whether it is a man or woman.
    • Also from Dragon Age there's the entire nation of Orlais, where most nobles are bisexual to some degree since sleeping with other nobles is a great way to advance one's self in the aristocracy.
    • In the Mark of the Assassin DLC of Dragon Age II, there is a scene where you can flirt with the son of the story arc's villain in order to lift a key off of him, and this occurs regardless of whether or not you're playing as a male or female Hawke. Of course, you can always just knock the guy out as well.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the Inquisitor can offer to sleep with a female Orlesian magistrate as part of a long series of quests and operations to end an assassination contract on your diplomatic ambassador's life, regardless of gender. As mentioned above, this is Orlais, and the implication is that the magistrate was willing to sleep with the Inquisitor in order to gain power and prestige.
  • In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, there are perks that allow the player to seduce male and female characters (Confirmed Bachelor and Lady Killer for male PCs, Black Widow and Cherchez La Femme for female PCs). Naturally taking both gives the player an advantage for both genders (although the Gay Option applies to different NPCs).
  • In Mass Effect 2, as part of Samara's Loyalty Mission, you must go to a club on Omega and seduce her Ardat-Yakshi (read: vampiric) daughter, Morinth, so you can isolate her and let Samara finish her off. Like the above Dragon Age II example, this occurs regardless of Shepard's gender, but unlike the above example, this mission can only be completed if you succeed in seducing your target.
  • Practically a requirement in Shin Megami Tensei. To successfully recruit demons, you have to resort in anything and everything, and that includes seducing them. Keep in mind that most of them are beast-like or deeply in Uncanny Valley, or both.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Queen of Thieves, Vivienne is a seductress and a lesbian. In her first meeting with her future teammate Remy, she's flirting with him for a con.
    Vivienne (narrating): I'm certain he's attractive to straight women, but to me, the nicest thing about Remy is his expensive leather shoes.
  • In Speakeasy Tonight, Sofia is primarily interested in women (contradictory Word of God statements have her listed as both lesbian and bi) but she flirts with anyone who might help her gather information, and practically speaking that usually means men.

    Web Comics 
  • Edel in Denma The Quanx is straight, but at one point has sex with a depraved criminal kingpin as part of his plan to save his female love interest from the brothel she was being forced to work in.
  • Killing Stalking: Sangwoo is a Serial Killer who seduces his victims to kill them. Usually, the victims are female, but he is also seen seducing a man to take him in and kill him. There's also the main "romance" with Bum, but that seems to only be the fact that he resembles Sangwoo's mother. Word of God reveals that Sangwoo is completely straight.
  • Humon's character Niels is both an amoral criminal and a pretty much 50:50 bisexual who has been known to use sex to get ahead.
  • The (thus far) minor character Eloise from Sandra on the Rocks is in the process of trying to sleep her way to the top of the modeling field, in part to cover for a rather notable lack of professionalism the one time we've seen her in a modeling gig. To do this she frequently sleeps with men, but also uses her live-in girlfriend Nadine, a rich Daddy's Girl whose powerful and influential father can get modeling and spokeswoman jobs for Eloise.
  • For the first few years of Skin Horse, Tip would often seduce women to help the team. Then when they met Artie, a gay man who had information they needed, Tip offered to seduce him too, much to the surprise of Sweetheart. Since then Tip has shown no problem seducing or sleeping with both genders.

     Web Original 
  • In an episode of Acquisitions Incorporated: The Series, after The Charmer and ladies' man Viari exhausts all other options to convince a (male) NPC to help, he ends up seducing and sleeping with him for his information instead.
  • Hazbin Hotel: According to an "in-character ask session", Angel Dust will sleep with women for money, but as far as actual attraction goes, he is gay only, not bisexual.

    Western Animation 
  • Hilariously subverted in the Archer episode "Honeypot", in which Sterling is sent to seduce a gay Cuban operative who's blackmailing his mother. Archer tries to pick up Ramon using the same faulty tactics he uses to pick up women, and thus he utterly fails at it.
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