Look at a beloved genre TV show, movie, or comic book. Is there simmering sexual tension marked by shifting power and the exchange of control? Do the characters strut around in leather corsets and wield whips? Does someone get tied up? You’re looking at BDSM (variously standing for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism) at play. Which really doesn’t come as a surprise, because geeks are kinky as all get out.
Older, more conservative narratives would have us believe that people who engage in BDSM are somehow wrong or depraved. But the sheer presence of kinky characters across so many stories—whether hiding in children’s shows as jokes for the parents, or in the case of Farscape’s Scorpius, hiding in plain sight—simply proves how universal the notion of power exchange is.
Remember your safe words, ’cause it’s time to meet our favorite fictional kinksters!