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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old January 5 2011, 12:45 PM   #1
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Vulcans, sex and Pon Farr

Both TV/film Trek and the books have been all over the place concerning Pon Farr and Vulcan sex. We're often told that Vulcans are driven to mate once every seven years, and yet in TV/film Trek (Trip/T'Pol, Spock/Uhura) we see (or have spelled out for us) Vulcans getting some outside of their seven-year cycle.

DC Fontana says in her intro to Vulcan's Glory that the writer of "Amok Time" intended Vulcans to have sex as often as they want outside of Pon Farr. In the novel, a young (Pike-era) Spock gets together with fellow Vulcan officer T'Pris. They decide it's the "logical" thing to do in their spare time.

The V'tosh ka'tur Vulcans in ENT "Fusion" claim that Vulcans mate only once every seven years, and that they're looking for ways to accelerate the mating drive.

There are examples in Treklit of Vulcans who seemingly only having sex during Pon Farr, and a few of them doing it whenever.

Which way to you all prefer your Vulcans?

How much leeway to the writers get with this nowadays?
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Old January 5 2011, 03:03 PM   #2
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Re: Vulcans, sex and Pon Farr

^Well, naturally, the books are obliged to conform to what's explicitly stated in canon. Canon information always takes priority over claims made only in offscreen sources, as a basic guideline.

On the other hand, canonical information is often ambiguous or conflicting, and many books have been able to find ways to reinterpret it (cf. the death of Trip Tucker). For one thing, "Fusion" only says that "Vulcan males are driven to mate once every seven years," and says nothing about females. And "driven to mate" doesn't mean the same as "able to mate." Kov's subsequent line, that the V'tosh katur have been "developing methods to accelerate the mating cycle," does imply a lack of ability to mate at other times, but that's ambiguous enough to leave some wiggle room. The desire to accelerate the cycle may have had some other reason besides simply making more frequent sex possible. Perhaps the V'tosh katur found the more intense mating experience of Pon farr more desirable than the normal kind of sex they're capable of the rest of the time, and wanted to make it available more often.

That's the great thing about ambiguous dialogue. With a little imagination, you can find ways to reinterpret things without blatantly contradicting or ignoring onscreen information.
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Old January 5 2011, 07:13 PM   #3
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Re: Vulcans, sex and Pon Farr

My opinion, FWIW, is that Vulcans can have sex anytime they want. Did Sarek go through Pon Farr with Amanda?

I think only Vulcans off -planet, without recourse to normal biological imperitives, must endure Pon Farr. GET HOME AND MATE--OR ELSE!!!

The bonding that comes with Vulcan arranged marriages must have something to do with it.

It might be that a mating without Pon Farr would be a logical conclusion, given the propogation of the species, and the need for the next generation without the illogic of killing off potential mates. Not survival oriented, nor logical.

REmember though, Spock was Vulcan nobility, and different rules must apply
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Last edited by UncleRogi; January 5 2011 at 07:16 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old January 5 2011, 11:01 PM   #4
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Re: Vulcans, sex and Pon Farr

Well hell, I thought this thread was going to have pictures.
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Old January 5 2011, 11:02 PM   #5
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Re: Vulcans, sex and Pon Farr

My rule of thumb for Vulcans is what D.C.Fontana says is how it is.
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Old January 5 2011, 11:16 PM   #6
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Re: Vulcans, sex and Pon Farr

ChristmasDaniel wrote: View Post
The V'tosh ka'tur Vulcans in ENT "Fusion" claim that Vulcans mate only once every seven years, and that they're looking for ways to accelerate the mating drive.
Well, there are many ways to have sexual intimacy that don't include a vagina being penetrated by a penis so that mating can occur.
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Old January 6 2011, 01:57 AM   #7
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Re: Vulcans, sex and Pon Farr

For a while now, I've been thinking that perhaps Pon Farr is the only time that Vulcan's can reproduce.
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Old January 6 2011, 02:44 AM   #8
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Re: Vulcans, sex and Pon Farr

That could be a decent way to split the difference. They can be intimate anytime, but they're only fertile for the specific period.
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Old January 6 2011, 02:58 AM   #9
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Re: Vulcans, sex and Pon Farr

I think UncleRogi's right (if I read him correctly): it's unlikely that a species that only reproduced once every seven years would be able to sustain itself. Evolutionarily speaking, that doesn't make much sense. In prehistory, if there had been, say, a few consecutive years between pon farrs of disease or natural disaster or frequent le-matya attacks or whatever, a given population of proto-Vulcans might die out completely before they got the chance to procreate again. Those populations that reproduced more regularly would thus outcompete them. Therefore, the population that proved viable enough to become the modern Vulcan species would presumably be capable of reproducing on a fairly regular basis.
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Old January 6 2011, 03:38 AM   #10
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Re: Vulcans, sex and Pon Farr

Perhaps Pon Farr is a fairly recent phenomenon. Imagine it as a side effect of the development of psionics in the Vulcan species. When Suark brought forth the suppression, or mastery, of emotions this psionic effect changed the Vulcans biologically, similarly to how stress can cause physical changes in the body. Pon Farr may have been quite different 5000 years ago, before the time of Surak. The seven year cycle may be only 1000 years old.
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Old January 6 2011, 04:08 AM   #11
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Re: Vulcans, sex and Pon Farr

Could it be some kind of mutation from all of the nuclear weapons used during the wars that lead to the Romulan Exodus?
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Old January 6 2011, 04:25 AM   #12
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Re: Vulcans, sex and Pon Farr

I always figured that the Vulcan reproductive system evolved the way it did in order to keep the Vulcans from greatly over-populating such a barren world.
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Old January 6 2011, 04:43 AM   #13
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Re: Vulcans, sex and Pon Farr

kkozoriz1 wrote: View Post
Perhaps Pon Farr is a fairly recent phenomenon. Imagine it as a side effect of the development of psionics in the Vulcan species. When Suark brought forth the suppression, or mastery, of emotions this psionic effect changed the Vulcans biologically, similarly to how stress can cause physical changes in the body. Pon Farr may have been quite different 5000 years ago, before the time of Surak. The seven year cycle may be only 1000 years old.
Peter David suggested that in one of the New Frontier novels. Selar said that the mating drive existed because otherwise each individual Vulcan would logically conclude their talents would be better spent elsewhere and leave it to others to perpetuate the species who could spare the time and trouble of child-rearing.
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Old January 6 2011, 08:47 AM   #14
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Re: Vulcans, sex and Pon Farr

Given its apparent absence among the Romulans, my inclination is to assume that the training to undergo cthia and suppress emotions triggers a fundamental re-wiring of the Vulcan brain, causing the pon farr drive to be triggered in adults as a result of a repressed reproductive urge.
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Old January 6 2011, 12:55 PM   #15
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Re: Vulcans, sex and Pon Farr

Sci wrote: View Post
causing the pon farr drive to be triggered in adults as a result of a repressed reproductive urge.
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