Every subculture has its own permutations of sexual fetishism, and geek culture is no different. There are certain kinks you see again and again among nerds. Cosplay, obviously. Furries. But also things like bondage and corsetry, especially among goths. And of course there are a lot of geeks who are turned on by various kinds of technology, from simple sex toys to elaborate devices for delivering very precisely calibrated electrical current to very precise locations.

It's not these fetishes define geek sexuality — far from it. I'm just saying that you see them a lot. Which isn't too surprising, given that many of the SF stories geeks love are full of psychic mind sex, futuristic orgies on giant halo worlds controlled by AI, robots who are "fully functional," shirtless vampires, magically sex-powered detectives, and of course ladies and gentlemen who wear nothing but teeny leather straps as they ride on the backs of wild Martian snake-dragons. I'm not naming any names here, but you know what I'm talking about. Science fiction is full of sex that goes way beyond vanilla missionary position stuff, and that reflects a certain amount of tolerance for kink in the wider geek world generally.


The connection between geek and kink is so strong that there was a fairly popular con in the early 2000s called Fantasm that was basically devoted to SF fandom and kinky debauchery — along with the usual con stuff like hanging out with friends, drinking, and just having fun. (You can read about Fantasm here and here.) And of course many non-kinky cons are nevertheless packed with people who just want to dress in their sexy cosplay outfits that they can't wear at any other time of the year. Maybe the fantastical self-expression permitted by cosplay also allows people to experiment with sexual identities that they might otherwise try to hide.

There is also something to be said for the idea that as geeks we tend to be inside our heads a lot. We like fantasies, whether they're about spaceships or demonically hot creatures of the netherworld. So when we have sex, we want to bring our imaginations along. Hence, the fun of roleplaying. Whether you pretend to be a fictional character, a coolly controlled domme, or a very bouncy werewolf, you're having sex that's half in the physical world and half in the world created by you and your partner(s)' minds.

I've been talking a lot about why nerds might get off on variations of cosplay or bondage/fetish/BDSM scenarios, but as I mentioned earlier there is also the bond between geek lust and technology. Especially in this era of makers, it's pretty obvious why geeks like to have sex using machines. When you play with gadgets all day, you start to get . . . ideas. I don't just mean FuckingMachines.com style ideas, though those are nice. I mean ideas that lead you to amazing places like the Slashdong site, where you can find documentation on how to hack your electronic sex toys. You can also see some of these hacker/maker sex notions at the fine annual conference Arse Elektronika, which is devoted to the crossover between sex and tech. And some of those ideas just lead you to the soldiering table, where I hope you are about to invent the world's most perfect mind-controlled vibrator because I want to buy one.


All of this is ultimately to explain why, when people tell me that geeks are "virgins" or "don't have sex," I usually boggle at them and wonder if they have actually ever met any geeks. Again, I'm not saying that all or even most geeks go shades of gray in the bedroom. But some do. And our naughty little dalliances reflect our broader interests in stories that take us out of the mundane, everyday world — or bring us closer to machines that could change the future.

Put another way: magic, wizards, robots, and spaceships are just kind of hot. Make of that what you will.

Illustrations by Frank Frazetta and H.R. Giger