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Promiscuity After Rape

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A promiscuous character is revealed to have Rape As Back Story. In fiction, being raped or manipulated into sex often causes a previously-sexually-innocent or moderate character to become very promiscuous. In reality, survivors of sexual abuse cope in a multitude of ways. While sexual promiscuity is not uncommon in sexual abuse survivors, the presence of promiscuous behavior does not automatically mean the person was abused in the past or vice versa.


Movies and television shows commonly rely on Rape As Back Story as a method of deepening Character Development, particularly for female characters, implying a straight line between rape and promiscuity with no room for deviation. In fictional works, being forcibly exposed to sex is equivalent to being injected with heroin: an addiction is the likeliest outcome. This may stem from a variety of reasons, ranging from the abused desiring to lose themselves in the pleasurable sensations of sexual intercourse, to being hypersexual in order to punish themselves for no longer being "pure," to the idea that "If Sex Is Evil, Then Let Me Be Evil!"

Victims of this trope do not make the connection between what happened to them and their present-day behavior. They may find themselves interacting with others as though sex will automatically lead to love, comfort, or acceptance or that abuse in a relationship is acceptable or a sign of love. Sociologically, inappropriate sexual behavior in children is usually a sign that they were sexually abused, making the Fille Fatale particularly prone to this characterization, which is often applied to characters who were very innocent or naive, possibly even children, when they were raped.


May overlap with Rape and Switch, where being raped causes a character to "become" gay. May be revealed via Troubled Backstory Flashback.

Related to Defiled Forever, Madonna–Whore Complex, My Girl Is Not a Slut, and Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil. Contrast Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality and Hates Being Touched for inverted reactions to rape.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • Downplayed with Ash from Banana Fish. He's been deeply hurt by being raped and forced into prostitution at a young age, and early on he learned how to use his looks to charm older men. In the present day, he does use seduction to get information from people and will occasionally resort to sex, but only when the situation requires it and it's clear that he doesn't actually enjoy having sex with older men for pleasure.
  • In the second season of Black Butler, this fits in with the course of Alois'/Jim's whole life. After his little brother and entire village are killed, this already slightly-off boy (who laughed cheerfully as he robbed the dead) begins living as a true street rat in the city. Understanding the inherent risks for homeless youth, and seeing his reactions to things later on, it's sadly unsurprising to discover that he engages in solicitation for food or shelter before his age even hits double digits. He's then only around 11 when he goes to Earl Trancy's manor and ends up living with a bunch of boys in the same dire straits, being bathed and treated like cattle, all while being a Sex Slave to the old man. At the age of 11. It's clear even at that young age he is not a virgin, as he dolls up and puts on a beautiful red robe, seducing the old man with obvious expertise until the guy's kissing his feet. Then he manages to kill the Earl and his behavior from then on out is disturbingly sexual.
  • Tamura from Bokura no Hentai was abused as a child by an older neighbor. He repressed the memories until he lost his virginity. Tamura ends up becoming promiscuous, often trying to have sex with adult men and other male-assigned-at-birth members of the cast (including trans girl Marika). Even as an adult, he engages in strings of one-night stands and flings despite finding them unfulfilling. The abuse also spured him into being a Crossdresser, as his neighbor would dress him up like a girl.
  • In Gravitation, Yuki revealed he was raped when he was younger, leading to his preference for multiple partners (male and female), as well as triggering his depression.
  • In Kaze to Ki no Uta, Gilbert throws himself at pretty much any man and uses sex as a tool of manipulation after a childhood full of sexual abuse. It's shown that he has sex in an attempt to make an emotional connection with his sexual partner, despite not enjoying the act itself.
  • Knights: Euphemia was accidentally doused in aphrodisiacs when her mother was apprehended for witchcraft, and was raped by the guards while in prison. After being rescued by Mist, she uses her body as a weapon by dousing herself in aphrodisiacs and having sex with them until they pass out from exhaustion.
  • Log Horizon, major villain Nureha is explained to have a background as a "compensated dater", which she was forced to do as a means of survival. When she meets the protagonist, Shiroe, in the game Elder Tale, she finds him to be an intellectual equal and one of the few men she's had pleasant interaction with. She thus develops an extreme infatuation with him, to the point that her Evil Plan's primary goal is to get him into her bed and will destroy everything and everyone else he loves until she's the only option left. She also implies that she's been very promiscuous in the meantime, largely as a means of practicing "techniques" that will bring Shiroe the most pleasure once he gives in to her.
  • MW: 9-year-old Yuki was raped by 16-year-old Garai, and grew up to be a Depraved Bisexual Serial Killer who uses sex to manipulate and trap both men and women.
  • Twittering Birds Never Fly: Yakuza boss Yashiro was raped by his stepfather when he was young, leading to promiscuity (as early as middle school) and the development of his sado-masochistic sexual preferences.

     Comic Books 
  • Addressed in The Boys. Starlight was initially a pure and innocent superhero, but her PR team decided to spice up her backstory by saying she was raped and that the trauma made her a sex addict with a penchant for outfits that cover absolutely nothing. Deconstructed when Starlight reveals that she is in fact a rape survivor and that the experience didn't make her horny at all.
    • It should be noted that Starlight was sexually coerced in her first appearance and eventually became sexually active, but the story doesn't make any connection between the two events and her sexual side seems reserved solely for Hughie.
  • Downplayed by both Green Arrow and Nightwing. Both characters were either celibate or completely loyal to their respective girlfriends, until they both had women force themselves on them in a situation where they were unable to give consent, got accused of adultery by their significant others for reasons known only to their writer, and then had their characterization altered to actually make them the womanizers they were accused of being. Why is it downplayed? Because never is a connection explicitly drawn between the incidents and their characterization shifts. It almost feels like the writers only did so to retroactively make it seem like they really did give in because they're both womanizing cads. And apparently it wasn't rape, just nonconsensual sex.

    Fan Works 
  • The Jem fic Once Upon a Time was a Backbeat explains Minx's promiscuity as being related to her prostitute mother pimping her after she hit puberty.
  • UNDERTOW: Downplayed. Minx was sexually abused as a child. Her flirtatiousness stems as a way of gaining control over the trauma. However, Minx isn't as promiscuous as she seems. She never sleeps with the men she flirts with, but always loses interest before it gets to that point (which also stems from her trauma).

     Film — Live Action 
  • In Black Snake Moan, the protagonist is an attractive young woman (portrayed by Christina Ricci), who was sexually abused by her stepfather and became a hypersexual, feeling an overwhelming urge to just have something put inside her body, no matter where or how. The focus of the plot is her kind-napping by Samuel L. Jackson's character and how he tries to cure her by making her go cold turkey.
  • In the movie For Colored Girls, the majority of Tangie's scenes have her bringing someone home or escorting them out the door. When her mother shows up to blast her for sending her younger sister to an illegal abortionist, in the ensuing confrontation, it's revealed that she was molested by her grandfather, who had also molested her mother.
  • Jenny Curran from Forrest Gump, who is heavily implied to have been sexually abused by her father, grows up to become very promiscuous and has sex with a long series of men.
  • The General's Daughter, Captain Elizabeth Campbell became a sexual deviant after enduring a horrific gang rape, years before, during her training at West Point. However, this is revealed to be a subversion: she wanted to get revenge on her father the General, who helped cover up the rape, by seducing most of his staff to embarrass him. The main character concludes that this was the real cause of her Sanity Slippage, not the rape itself.
  • While it's not made initially clear, besides that she has a lot of issues, we find out later that this is the case with Candace (otherwise called "Candy"), a prostitute, in Madea Goes to Jail, as, besides being molested as a child, she was raped by Josh's friends at a party.
  • In the film Mysterious Skin, Neil is the eight-year-old son of a single mother and is just beginning to explore his homosexual orientation. His mother wants him to have a positive male role model, so she signs him up for Little League. There he and another boy are sexually molested by the coach, forced to perform sex acts on the coach and each other. With no platonic male role models to compare the behavior to, Neil views the abuse as love and develops a preference for bearish, middle-aged men. Around age 15, Neil begins prostituting, willing to sleep with anyone. This lasts for three years until he is solicited by a man dying of AIDS who simply wants the touch of another person (which he has been lacking due to the hysteria around AIDS).
  • In Scream3, it is revealed that Maureen Prescott was gang-raped at a party, thus explaining why she frequently cheated on her husband and essentially leading to the events of the series.
  • In the film Shame, it is heavily implied that both Brandon and his sister Sissy experienced some type of childhood sexual abuse that triggered their current behavior. Brandon has a profound sexual addiction that leads him to masturbate compulsively, view massive amounts of pornography, frequent prostitutes, and sleep with any woman who is willing (or men if women are unavailable). Sissy has unchecked codependency issues and sleeps with any man who shows her affection. It is lightly hinted that she and Brandon may have acted on their urges with each other at some point.
  • Two Women: After Rosetta is gang-raped by a troop of Moroccan soldiers, she starts giving out sexual favors to older men in exchange for stuff like nylons.

  • Mistuko Souma from Battle Royale, according to her backstory, was sold to a child molester by her mother, and, besides being the malicious person that she is, she acts this trope as well, even killing one of her allies because she thought he was rejecting her.
  • In the Landish-Winters book Bought, Dahlia seeks out consensual BDSM scenarios as a way of overwriting the traumatic memories of her first, very nonconsensual, experience with sex. This gives her the confidence to eventually try more direct coping methods, like reconnecting with her loved ones and getting into a serious relationship.
    "When I became his Sub, I finally felt like I was in control, knowing I could stop my fantasy any time I wanted. I could safe word him and it would all stop. I had that power."
  • Jackie from Jackie Boy is a male rape survivor who becomes increasingly promiscuous with the permission of his lover Kent Willis. His promiscuity is only met with concern when Kent Willis researches "hypersexuality," and starts to speculate if Jackie has been sexually abused. Jackie confirms his suspicions just moments later.
  • Pombinha note  from O Cortiço is an innocent young woman who had yet to have her first period. She is raped by a courtesan named Léonie during a visit to the latter's house. Years later, Pombinha cheats on her husband and becomes a prostitute after he leaves her. By the end of the book, Léonie and Pombinha are "inseparable friends" working together to drain their clientele's money.
  • Sam of The Perks of Being a Wallflower was molested by a family friend when she was young. Later, she exhibits promiscuous behavior as a high school freshman.
  • Sharra in Shadow of the Conqueror, due to her belief that she has no prospects in life after being Defiled Forever, tries to secure her future by seducing rich and powerful men, instead. She tries and fails to seduce Daylen, and after that, has more success with the newly affluent Sain.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Following her rape, As the World Turns' Emily seduced the husband of a woman who had befriended her when they met at a rape support group. In a more tragic and sympathetic example of this trope, it's played as her being desperate for love and security after her ordeal, rather than being a tramp.
  • ER. The womanizing Dr. Simon Brenner confides in a colleague that he was molested by one of his mother's boyfriends.
  • A watered-down version on General Hospital, when Karen Wexler recalled being molested by one of her mother's boyfriend. She promptly began going to late night raves wearing trampy dresses, working as a stripper, and eventually sleeping with the club's sleazy owner, someone she would never have even spoken to before.
  • Protagonist Don Draper of Mad Men. When he was about 13, he lived in a brothel. It's established that he's sexually naive and the environment is very confusing for him. When Don falls ill with a high fever, one of the prostitutes nurses him, showing a compassionate maternal side Don was unused to. When his fever breaks, however, the prostitute switches from maternal to predatory. She asks Don if he wants to have sex, ridiculing his lack of experience, but Don explicitly says no. She teases him about his visible sexual arousal and fondles his genitals despite his request to be left alone. Later on, during an argument with Don's Uncle Mack, she brags about "popping that boy's cherry" . When Don's stepmother hears this, she violently beats him and calls him derogatory names. This mixture of sexual stimulus, shame, fear, and violence is implied to be the source of Don's present-day promiscuity.
  • Nip/Tuck It's heavily implied that a huge part of the reason for Christian Troy's promiscuity is having been sexually abused by his adoptive father.
  • One of the multiple personalities One Life to Live's Viki developed after being sexually abused by her father was the promiscuous Niki, who was explicitly stated to have been created to deal with the sex because she liked it.
  • Tig Trager from Sons of Anarchy is so sexually promiscuous and deviant that multiple members of the otherwise super macho motorcycle club have stopped and asked if he was molested as a child. It's asked partially in jest, but comes up whenever Tig's predilection veers into necrophilia, bestiality, and other taboo areas. In Season 6, during a joking trade of insults about families, Tig says that his old man used to rape him. Tig says it as a joke and the others laugh, but in light of how his sexuality is portrayed throughout the series, it leaves the viewer wondering if Tig is taking Refuge in Audacity.
  • In True Detective season 1, this is heavily implied to be the case with Marty's daughter Audrey, who is continually hinted to be a victim of sexual abuse as a child, and then becomes a very promiscuous teenager.
  • Princess Kwenthrith of Vikings often seems intent on sleeping with any man around, and casually but angrily reveals that her uncle and cousin started taking of advantage of her when she was still a young girl.
  • Happens with DC Mickey Webb in The Bill following his rape. He regularly has one night stands. It's only after he himself is falsely accused of rape that he gets less promiscuous.

  • Murdoc from Gorillaz was sexually assaulted as a child, and as an adult, he has had a lot of sexual partners; one of his most consistent traits is that he's a very sexually driven individual.

  • Katherine Howard from 'Six' embodies this trope after being molested by her music teacher at 13.

    Video Games 
  • In A Dance with Rogues, this can happen to the Princess, the Player Character, after she is raped in the prologue. While it's up to the player whether she develops a Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality, becomes hyper-promiscuous, or anything in between, the game plot is rife with situations where Sex for Services is the most effective option to get through—and other characters will call the Princess out on it if she takes it.
  • In Dark Elf Historia, if Fraylia loses any one of the major boss battles, she is raped, and thereafter becomes vulnerable to "H-Attacks" from enemies. Losing her virginity also unlocks new quests that entail prostitution or stripping.
  • In Dragon Age II, Isabela was sold to an abusive husband as a teenager, who is implied to have lent her out to his friends for sex. It's only after he died and she ran away to become a pirate that she became a Lovable Sex Maniac.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, after being raped by a male raider, Corporal Betsy developed a habit of aggressively flirting with other women. The player is tasked in a sidequest to get her to quit it and see a psychiatrist due to the behavior being a major distraction in the military base they're stationed in.
  • In Looters of Dystopia, if Hatsuki loses the first major boss battle, she is raped, and thereafter she is assigned a number of Honey Trap missions, which leads to her becoming increasingly promiscuous.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, this explains Jeanette's promiscuity. Being an alternate personality of Therese, a victim of rape at the hands of her father, this personality embodies the consequences of the rape to cope up with the trauma that goes worse due to her innate Malkavian madness. On the flipside, Therese develops an aversion towards sex due of the same reasons as well.
    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night: Played disturbingly straight with Matou Sakura. She’s spent the entirety of her life both effectively and literally being raped constantly by the only two other people in her household, and her mind has been deliberately manipulated into a heavily distorted state as a result. While she largely makes an effort to hide it from Shirou (not wanting to disgust him), the moment she runs away from Zouken for Shirou and needs a "Mana Transfer" we see the full extent of just how broken she is. There’s a reason people say Heaven’s Feel is the one time the sex scenes add to the plot.
    Western Animation 
  • Several lines in Bojack Horseman none-too-subtly imply that Sarah Lynn's promiscuity was at least partially the result of being molested by her bear-man stepfather. She mentions to one of her Horsin' Around co-stars that he homeschools her that he's a photographer. Later, she remarks that she knows what bear fur tastes like. This, plus Bojack telling her that she should always be vying for the audience's love and the general negative demands of showbusiness, particularly those it has of women, result in her growing up to be a sex starlet and, eventually, a junkie. She also seems to have an Electra Complex with Bojack himself, her significantly older colleague who played the role of her father on TV and one of her many sex partners. The one time we see her step-father, he's a caricature of fashion photographer and accused rapist Terry Richardson.
  • An episode of Drawn Together has resident slut Foxxy Love uncover a repressed memory of being gang-raped by a Captain Ersatz version of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. After failing to get them behind bars, she instead goes on a Kill Bill-esque rampage to get her revenge on her rapists (and Colonel Sanders). In the end, it turns out to be a subversion. Just before she can kill the Fat Albert analogue, it's revealed that the gang-rape never happened; Wooldoor simply implanted a false memory to help her justify her sluttiness.
  • Cheryl from Archer aside from being promiscuous, also has a series of strange fetishes including hardcore BDSM and asphixiophilia, the show's wiki theorizes that it might be related to her having been molested by her grandfather.


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