I was fifteen when a good friend loaned me his battered copy of John Varley’s novel Wizard. At that point in my life, I was the only girl running with an all-male group of nerds who were obsessed with computers and science fiction. Because my friends were mostly guys, I’d started to wonder if there was something kind of weird about my gender, and maybe my sexuality too. But I wasn’t sure what that meant.
And then I leafed through Wizard. In the section after the title page, where fantasy novels have maps, Varley had a complicated chart of all the sexual positions possible for his aliens, the Titanides, who possessed three sets of genitals. Every year, the Titanides competed for the best sexual positions, and the winners were allowed to reproduce. As I looked over the little boxes full of circles and arrows indicating group sex, solo sex, gay sex, and whatever-the-hell sex, I felt seen for the first time.