Hot/Cool Fictional Male “Subs”: Momo

We’ve looked at subs who were supposed to be taken seriously in the stereotypical masculine role, from fantasy lead, Richard, to the original super hero, but that’s hardly the entire picture. male submission is no limited to performance in traditional roles. This next sub, very explicitly in an Owner/pet relationship and the work deals with loving someone despite not measuring up to the assumptions about what a man should be.

You’re My Pet: Momo

Kneeling before his new ownerMomo is the name picked out for the male lead in a manga and live action television show (Kimi wa Petto/Tramps Like Us) about an explicitly Owner/Pet relationship between a stressed out career woman (Sumire) and a dance prodigy (Takeshi). After finding Momo homeless and sick on the streets, Sumire rescues the diminutive young man. As he recovers in her apartment, he begs to stay, and her joking suggestion that he can only stay as her pet gets met by enthusiastic barking.

She names him “Momo” after her childhood dog, and the two set up living together. But, she declares that it won’t be a sexual relationship, she only sleeps with men with higher height, higher income and higher career/education. This is part of her challenge as a character. Sumire is non-conforming with gender expectations, with (for Japan) stereotypically masculine hobbies. At the story’s opening she had just gotten a demotion for hitting a sexual harasser. Frustrated in love and picked on by female coworkers for her unemotional demeanour, Sumire hides a very fragile heart inside a shell of hard hitting professionalism.

Momo provides her with the unconditional love of a pet. His challenge is dealing with his own career, as a modern dancer. Unable to continue as a ballet prodigy because of his height, Momo has turned his talents to modern dance. As well as proving the stereotype  of dancers being kinky, for him, being a pet lets him feel safe, loved and wanted. Sumire looks after him, providing him with food, shelter and bathes and cuddles him. sometimes he acts more dog like, especially to amuse her, and sometimes he’s more human, although she generally has to look out for him and he’s goofy and a little derpy about his responsibilities

Bath time!

Momo’s boyish exhuberance is undimmed by Sumire’s controlling tendencies. But, don’t take my word for it, check out an english language translation of the manga!

A very typical exchange.

Although they are perfectly happy together, much of the tension comes from hiding their relationship from nosy people, and the fact that Sumire cannot reconcile the bliss she has at home with what she should want. The reintroduction of her college crush kicks off the main challenge of the story, where she attempts to date someone who is everything she thinks she wants. In practice she has a lot of trouble opening up and relaxing with Momo’s rival, and although she finds him hot, everything is depicted as stiff and awkward.  Faithful Momo allows her to lie and claim her pet is her brother in order to not scare his rival away, going along with her explanation and being supportive of her stated goals.

The rival!

Meanwhile of course, Sumire and Momo develop some healthy romantic tension. For Momo of course, this is forbidden and for Sumire, incredibly confusing. She’s only initially able to accept having a boisterous young man bouncing around the place by making it as unsexual as possible, and she also has to deal with redefining what she considers attractive.


To be a bit circumspect in the name of spoilers, resolving the conflicts of the story, mean reconciling who people really are. Momo is able to be the most honest, and his subplot is pretty much just figuring out his dance career and how that might take him away from his beloved owner, while Sumire must come to terms with the fact that she doesn’t really want a guy who outdoes her in everything and that she likes who she is and likes that he likes who she is.
The manga VS the show

It’s a romance comic/show aimed at women, and it’s a conflict that’s not unfamiliar in femdom, when you first set out to try to make sense of what works for you. While M/f has to reconcile explaining that it’s not some sort of reactionary right wing abuse excuse,  F/m bumps up against gender expectations in a way that’s often a challenge for doms and subs alike. Although I’ve never personally worried about being gender conforming, this post is a bit personal for me, because I know that Sumire expressions of dominance are really very close to mine- wanting to look after my property, and liking playfulness. It’s also a good example of something that’s very blatant without ever really touching on the explicitly kinky nature of what’s going on in the story. Which is pretty valuable because not everything kinky that people do is dressed up with whips and leather.

Fiction often gives us the tools to discuss the things that work for us and codify them. The entire manga/show “Kimi wa Petto” is also charming in that the dominant is not a villain and she doesn’t have to stop being dominant to be able to love Momo, nor does he have to stop being her sub. There’s some aspects of “melt the ice princess” but she doesn’t stop being a pet owner in her thawed out state. And, Momo is presented as the one you want to root for in the comic. Cute, bratty, but above all loyal, Momo does not lose his sexiness just because he’s property, neither does he need to have a “hero” moment where he has to put his submissiveness aside to get things done.

Next week, we’re getting thin on content again. I encourage you to post in the comments about a pairing you’d like to see, and why you feel the male half is a good example of a sub. It can be subtext or explicit, porn or not. The only rule is that the male sub needs to be either hot or be awesome. Or both!

Hot/Cool Fictional Male “Subs”: Richard (Sword/Seeker of Truth)

Just because I didn’t like a series doesn’t mean it’s not  good example. In this particular instance, I’m going to look at a fictional male sub character who is cast as being cool, awesome and all around great with inclusion of pretty explicit and blatant D/s. There’s nothing stealth here.

And it’s not surprising. While there’s always the odd image of a tied up, tortured hero to tease viewers and readers, male submission is just so inherently normal that it’s surprising there’s not more things with such strong kink focus.

Richard: The Hero Is A Sub

Our Hero Who Is Always RightThe “Sword of Truth” books are a series of fantasy novels following the standard tropes of chosen one heroes, magic swords and the author’s own particular love for Libertarianism and femdom. Writing about this one is accepting that just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s not a good example, because these books are bloody kinky- and more to the point, it’s about as close as it gets to a femdom Gor without being some sort of female supremacy porn story or other niche work. It is also popular enough to have rated its own television series, the Seeker of Truth.

And it’s chock full of plot facilitated female dominance. It starts with the canonical female love interest/lead, Khalan is a “Mother Confessor”, a magical being gifted with the ability to make anyone fall passionately and unrevokeably in love with her to the result of perfect obedience. And your only protection is to love her that much already. And guess who, of course just naturally loves her as much as one of those magical slaves?

But the series doesn’t stop with Khalan. By book one we are introduced to an order of leather wearing, pain magic wielding Mord-Sith, who train people as pets and demand to be called “Mistress”. Later, another group of matriarchs, this time magical wizard trainers, pop up and incidentally have a penchant for abducting magic men and locking collars around their necks.


(To which the wearer in wizard training must willingly lock around his own neck)

And then another whole book has Richard slaved to a woman by magic, so he’s forced to be her fake husband. By plot convenience, although his love for Khalan is labelled as True, Richard is constantly abducted and dragged away by one woman after another, with them all being cast as sexy, hot bitches who want to jump Richard’s bones until they rattle. And his constant slave/prisoner status is never considered to detract from him and his masculinity. Even when the poor bugger is raped by a Mord-Sith.


Rather the reverse- the noble suffering is seen as something that makes him cool and is used as a stand in for depth, as although he becomes emperor of the whole god damn world by the end, with all slavishly acting like he is Libertarian Jesus, he is explicitly allowed to have fallen in love with a Mord-Sith (simultaneous to Khalan) and sympathize with the numerous ladies who want him to be their property or teach him by force. The books have a bad habit of making the lead eventually show up everyone and everything by being just that awesome (all while being a “simple woods’ guide”), and I would not call them well written. But… when pop culture normally limits male submission to a punch line or a temporary inconvenience… the author managed to convince people to pay him a lot of money to talk about his submissive fantasies. And then film them without any self concious irony.

Superman, my last example, was very quiet about the femdom elements, but this one is loud, proud and in your face. He might not be *my* ideal male sub, but Richard is lovingly rendered, with highly successful sales, as the Best Person Ever and is widely adored by fans of the work.

Hot/Cool Fictional Male “Subs”: Superman

Okay, so last time we talked about Fenris, a not so well known character. But what about someone more well known? Sometimes your malesub fantasies aren’t about people who aren’t physically vulnerable, they’re emotional punching bags who just don’t measure up. They’re allowed to be less than. And sometimes a guy can get emasculated on a daily basis and still be popular.

Superman: Fun With Self Cuckolding

No, seriously. Superman might be superhumanly invulnerable, bends the laws of physics and take nothing after his biological parents (top tier scientist of Krypton), favouring a J-school background and problem solving based on hitting things. He’s a muscle bound power fantasy who can be hard to write for precisely because he is basically a god. But there’s a weeny little thingee in his canonical relationship with Lois Lane (or really with women in general) that hints the Man of Steel refers to his chastity cage not his strength…

Reluctantly. Riiiiight.

Superman dates back to 1938, making him a cultural icon that pretty much everyone knows. His creator, needing to make a living like everyone else, distilled him out of sketches of a socialist hero of the people into a heroic commercial success. But as well as a story about a man that bounces over buildings, it’s also a story about a rather repitative love life.

Once you leave aside largely forgettable perils, the general plot of the earlier stuff runs as a rejection tango- Superman as Clark gets pushed aside by the modern career woman Lois, who is, herself often depicted as chafing against her gender strictures and happily shrewish and controlling. She’s an Intrepid Reporter, of the kind that chases a scoop past sanity, and after being rescued a few times, develops a thing for manly-man superman, while overlooking her coworker- well actually she seems to like him a fair bit. They go on dates a hell of a lot for someone who is beneath her notice.

Of course she’s generally written as smugly thinking how nice it is she has Clark wrapped around her finger, something that is also spelled out that Superman knows. It’s dressed up as Charles Atlas-esque “needs a real man!” gender existentialism, and hand waved away that perpetually nebbish Clark is being trapped by his own unwillingness to share who he is. Which is ah…

I think the blonde is Lana. ;)The same artist who did this...

The artist responsible for Superman has a secret identity of his own, the pen behind a notorious book of BDSM comics, that was basically an insexe of its day. The publisher got time in prison, but Shuster escaped un-noticed thanks to anonymity.

But even as Shuster was dropped from his own product (comics are a mean business) that particular dynamic sees its echoes. For example, Superman and his cousin, Lana Lane. It’s essential to the character.

Even with cousin Lana, who knew him growing up.

He wants women who give him shit. Sure, he likes to play alpha when he rescues them, but this is like a guy with foot long cock wearing a falsie so he can have sph. And eventually, because the secret identity plots get resolved (repeatedly) if you tell the story long enough:

Lois, being Lois, even when being called “Young Lady”, still is going to boss Superman around, especially after she confirms she still has the upper hand in this relationship. Because the thing is, he is Clark Kent. Superman is a hyper mascho ideal he puts on to get shit done while still living as who he is, which is a guy who wants to chase women he knows are take-charge and think they are controlling him.

Of course you can take the character in other directions, and sometimes it wanders into tiresome Betty-and-Veronica style love triangles between the ladies in his life or into the wide range of superman being a dick.

However being reject by Lois is so iconic, that even when he comes back from the dead (Death of Superman, a desperate attempt to revive a moribund franchise) he has a shape shifter pretend to be him (as Clark) and have Lois reject the double to throw herself at Superman. We can’t have anyone thinking Lois likes Clark now, can we?

The most recent movie incarnation, as well as making him Jesus, dropped the journalism rejection subplot completely. But even that awkward mess of a movie still kept a bit of dependency. I’ll consider Supes hugging Lois’s legs and crying as fanservice.