Everything I Know About Sex I Learned From Star Trek

A few years ago, I heard the best pick-up line I’ve ever heard uttered in real life.

Some friends and I were paying nerd homage at Quark’s Bar in the Start Trek Experience in Vegas and we overheard a woman trying to chat up a man on the other end of the bar. In a sexy, low voice (and in all seriousness), she purred, “So… Do you speak Klingon?” I laughed so hard, my Risa Colada nearly went out my nose. Still, I had endless respect for the incredible geekiness we were witnessing, and it warmed my heart to see people find such compatibility. Qapla’ to both of them.

Apparently, Trek fans are more sexually active than we give them credit for. This got me thinking about all the sexual lessons in Star Trek and what application they may have to the non-fiction universe. Here are a few:

1. Universal Translators would be useful in relationships. When encountering a new species, the Universal Translator is an invaluable tool for any starship captain who hopes to avoid an interstellar incident. Romantic partnerships can sometimes feel like living with an alien, and I often wonder how we terrestrial humanoids cope without this technology.

2. Confidence is sexy—but it can also be superficial. While I’ve never quite gotten the sex appeal of Captain Kirk (I’m more of a Spock girl myself), he certainly has a way with the ladies – of any species. Confidence, power, and (apparently) over-acting and bad toupees seem to do it for women throughout the Alpha Quadrant. Needless to say, these women rarely stick around for more than one episode.

3. Ears can be erogenous zones. The Ferengi, a species known for their pronounced lobes, are particularly fond of a sexual act called “oo mox.” During oo mox, one partner stimulates the outer edge of the other partner’s ears, while the recipient moans with delight. Sounds fun to me. Often people focus only on the genitals when, in fact, there are lots of other lovely, nerve-rich body parts to explore.

4. Many people enjoy a bit of pain with their pleasure. Klingons have quite a few BDSM elements in their mating. Klingon females will bite their desired males on the face when they want to mate. It is considered good luck for a clavicle or two to break on the wedding night. Klingon sex is depicted as rough, passionate, and intense, demonstrating the joy many humanoids find in combining consensual pain and pleasure.

5. Sexual orientation can be fluid. In one particularly famous Deep Space Nine episode, Jadzia Dax (who is a joined Trill) encounters a woman she married while living in a male body. Despite the strict Trill taboo about such romances, they share a tender, passionate kiss. It’s the only same-sex love story I know of in the official Star Trek canon, and I know I’m not alone in thinking this was a missed opportunity.

6. Hormones can be a bitch. Every seven years, Vulcans experience the “Pon Farr,” during which they experience all-consuming lust and must do (it) or die. The Original Series, Voyager, and Enterprise all depict Pon Farr story lines wherein the Vulcan characters must navigate this intense and intensely personal time. Sometimes they seek medical intervention, sometimes they commit violence, and sometimes they get their rocks off on the holodeck. I think there’s more wisdom in the latter.

Pop culture has recently gotten savvy to the appeal of nerdy. Even my not-as-nerdy friends enjoyed the Star Trek Experience. Yes, sometimes depictions of geek chic can be commercialized and a bit disingenuous, but I find it refreshing to celebrate geek love in all its forms. Love long and prosper, my fellow nerds.

Image courtesy of wikimedia commons.

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About Kate McCombs

Kate McCombs

Kate McCombs, MPH is a NYC-based sex educator + blogger. She's the founder of Sex Geekdom, a global community for sex educators, researchers, and other folks who love having geeky conversations about sex.

  • Kate

    Thanks for your comment. You’re right about that – the taboo was around rejoining with lovers from past hosts, not the gender of those hosts. That said, having seen the interviews with Avery Brooks and Rick Berman about this particular episode, it is clear that the writers/directors were trying to make a larger statement about taboos concerning same-sex attraction. This is one of the things that makes me love Star Trek! I love how a fantasy universe enables the airing of slaient social issues.