Leifer, You might try using the search feature. There have been more than a few really good discussion on the subject here through the years. Reading through the entirety of the threads would give you insight not only about Pon Farr, but how different Star Trek fans interpret the same subject material.
I'm just going to basically quote my old posts, so I don't have to re-type all this from multiple previous postings on this subject. Excuse me if the narrative is a bit disjointed.
If the purpose (one of) behind pon farr isn't just for a couple to engage in sex, but for that sex to result in a pregnancy, then it makes sense for the female to be experiencing pon farr too, not just the male. The way I see it, the female would begin her pon farr cycle when she entered the Vulcan equivalent of estrous, she would then "send" a signal to the bonded male triggering his pon farr to begin.
It wouldn't make any sense to arrive prior to the bride being ready, or at all if she were deceased. In historic times the groom would simply walk across the village or come in from the fields. But in ancient times, before bonding, the bride might have broadcasted her "readiness" to every male for hundreds of kilometers. All of whom would have come running. Part of the idea behind the arranged marriage of children would be a form of "crowd control." Because T'Pring was sending a signal solely to Spock, the signal could cross considerable distances, similar to Spock feeling the deaths of the Vulcans aboard the starship Intrepid . It's possible that Spock and T'Pring, since being bonded as children, have had a constant low-level contact.
3)What's happened to Stonn's arranged wife? Isn't she pissed? Has she been "dealt with"? Or does divorce by consent exist on Vulcan after all?
This assumes that all Vulcan's, as children, are entered into arranged marriages. Or maybe Stonn already has a wife and T'Pring is seeking to be Stonn's second wife. Polygamy.
4)Are there no sex professionals on Vulcan? With libidos on that socially and physically dangerous a scale, it would be amazing that they didn't. It sure would make things a lot easier.
The episode would seem to make clear the husband has to hook up with the wife, not just a T'Hooker or the ship's nurse. And I think that there's more than just sex involve with pon farr. Spock said that he has to return to Vulcan and take a wife, here is the social and evolutionarily reason behind pon farr. Not just to reproduce and perpetuate the species, but a psychological drive to take a spouse and form a family, which would increase the chances of children living and becoming adults, especially on a harsh world like Vulcan.
T'Pau's comments to Kirk seem to imply that T'Pring could have choosen any of the Vulcan's in the arena, in ancient times this would have prevented a woman from having to marry a weak husband. And I think it was pretty obvious that T'Pring intended to pick Stonn orginally, he was the only Vulcan present who wasn't part of the official wedding party, chime guys, weapons carrier, headsman. T'Pring brought him. As soon as Spock saw him, he should have know there was going to be a challenge.
Did you notice that after he hit the gong a second time and Stonn entered the arena, even as Spock approached T'Pau, Spock kept the gong's mallet in his hand? Subconscious need for some kind of weapon?
SPOCK : No. Nor am I man. I'm a Vulcan. I'd hoped I would be spared this, but the ancient drives are too strong. Eventually, they catch up with us, and we are driven by forces we cannot control ... to return home and take a wife ... or die.
Notice Spock didn't say "have sex with the ship's nurse or a T'Hooker," nor did he say to " return home and mate."
Spock specifically said "And take a wife." Not get laid, so something more involved than just sex is happening during Pon Farr. The compulsion may be to form a family unit, both to have children and take care of them through to maturity, family's stabilize socialites, that's the evolutionary advantage of Pon Farr. Form a family, a tribe, a community. This would prosper the entire Vulcan race and increase the likelihood of childhood survival.
Vulcan could be a dangerous place, especially during primitive times. If two females become pregnant by two (different) males. One male only has a psychological compulsion for sexual activity. The other male has a psychological compulsion to form and maintain a family unit. Of the resulting two children, one with a single parent, one with two parents, which one statistically has a better chance to grow up and pass on it's genes? Easy, the child with the genes to compulsively form a family unit.
Maybe not. Of the three friends that I have who are in arranged marriages, the intended spouse was always from the same town (in India), and usual a forth cousin. Arranged marriages throughout history tend to be inside of some kind of group, race, religion, money, social. If Spock's family was important (T'Pau), it's likely T'Pring's was too. And they might have been distant cousins as well.
The ancient practice of arranged (in childhood) marriage might have also served as a form of "crowd control." I believe Spock did not begin pon farr until after T'Pring was already in pon farr (female version), it wouldn't make any sense to arrive prior to the bride being ready, or at all if she were deceased. In historic times the groom would simply walk across the village or in from the fields. But in ancient times, before bonding, the bride might have broadcasted her "readiness" to ever male for hundreds of kilometers. All of whom would have come running.
T'Pau's comments to Kirk seem to imply that T'Pring could have chosen any of the male's in the arena, in historic times this would have prevented a bride from having to marry a weak groom to whom she had been bonded to as a child. In ancient times there might have been a free for all of combat.
I wonder if the weapons and weapons carriers are part of the usual wedding party, if T'Pring hadn't intended to challenge the marriage would they have been absent? If T'Pring hadn't intended to challenge the marriage Stonn definitely would have been absent.
Why does killing Kirk free Spock from the ravages of pon farr? This is weird.
Spock doesn't enter the blood fever until after T'Pring issues the challenge, up until then he was in at least partial control of himself. The blood fever might not be a common part of pon farr if there is no challenge. After combat the need for the blood fever disappears, Spock might not have been completely freed of the effects of pon farr yet, but had obtained the level of rational thought that would have come to him if T'Pring had simply accepted the marriage.
Where are Sarek and Amanda? (Obviously, this isn't Sturgeon's fault. On the other hand, he probably could have guessed that Spock had parents, if not specifically the parents created for "Journey to Babel." What's up with that?
If it was generally known that T'Pring was going to contest the marriage, Sarek may have keep Amanda and himself away. Given Vulcan strength and stamina, Spock and Stonn might have sliced and hack at each other for a extended length of time.
Leifer, in at least one novel, the intended bride not only issued the challenge, but choose to serve as her own champion as well. And there is a episode of Voyager where BeLanna Torrse did somewhat the same thing, when approach by a fellow crewmate who was in pon farr. Although in her case, she was rebuffing his advance.