Tropes From Hell: The Kinky Billionaire Businessman

Welcome to our new feature where we discuss common and overused themes (a.k.a tropes) that are making the rounds in the book world these days. For our very first post, we start with the extremely hot “Kinky Billionaire Businessman” trope that has been on fire recently. Here you’ll find the answer to several questions…Why are there so many billionaire CEOs in Romanceland? Just how many billionaires are out there, anyway? What do they really look like? Why are they so kinky in bed?

Books with this trope: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (of course), Bared to You by Sylvia Day, Release Me by J. Kenner and lots of others.

Billionaires in Romanceland are nothing new. Since time immemorial (late 90s), Harlequin has been spewing category romance titles featuring billionaire heroes (and not all of them CEOs!) But since the advent of Fifty Shades of Grey, dozens of books featuring Billionaires are being published every month but with a Millennium twist: not only are these men filthy rich, debonaire, powerful and super hot…but they are KINKY!

We’ll discuss these men’s preferences in the bedroom later on but let’s focus on the why…why are billionaires so popular in romance? My theories…

  • Women want rich and powerful men that can be good providers and have a lot of influence.
  • Lots of couples have money problems (one of the biggest reasons for divorce!) so when women read romance, they don’t want to worry about money. They want to imagine themselves in the life of a woman that can afford the things they cannot (expensive jewelry, world travel, fine dining etc.)
  • Women want to imagine what it’s like to attract the notice of extraordinary men. They want to feel special by getting a man that lots of other women want (if men were the primary readers of romance, lots of heroines would be Victoria’s Secret models.)
  • It’s easy to write about a man whose main attributes are in his wallet/looks. Developing character and personality is way more difficult!

But why are Romance Billionaires into whips and chains all of a sudden? The answer is very simple. Danger. Women like men with an aura of danger but this is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of CEOs (however cutthroat they may be in the boardroom.) But add exotic tastes in the bedroom and all of a sudden, readers can see an alpha male lurking in the eyes of the staid businessman.

Sadly though, there are more young billionaires in Romanceland than there are currently alive today. As of 2012, there were 1,226 billionaires in the world and only 28 of those were single, male and under 50. In the WHOLE WORLD. Sorry to burst your bubble, ladies but you’ll have better luck trying to marry a movie star.

And what about looks? Are real billionaires as hot as their fictional counterparts? Judge for yourself. These were the best looking I found among the young billionaire contingency.

But the question is…should you really want one of these men? Yes, they have money and power but to keep that money rolling those men work A LOT in sedentary jobs (and this is not conducive to hot bods.) I’m sure there are exceptions but these are not the kind of men who have lots of time for a wife and family. You may have a luxurious life but you’ll spend a lot of it on your own. Unless like Bill Gates, your billionaire hubby leaves his job to help you run a charity that improves the life of poor people in the world.

If I were interested in a rich man, I would totally go for a different class of professionals. Yes, they are “mere” millionaires but on the whole they are younger, taller, huskier, handsomer and more numerous! Who am I talking about? Professional Athletes of course! Yes, I know I have a partiality for athletes..but can you blame me? Just look at these!

Now we open the floor to you. Have you read books with this trope? What do you like and don’t like about them? Do you dream of your own kinky billionaire? Tell us in the comments!

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