It has occurred to me that Vulcan must have some form of sex industry to handle those going through Pon Farr who aren’t currently married or otherwise involved. Otherwise, they’d have constant issues with violence from those suffering the “blood fever” whose spouse was far away, or had died, or for some other reason had no one to mate with.

Given Vulcan attitudes towards sex, it’s probably kept out of sight, and is only “officially” available to those experiencing their “Seven Year Itch,” but it has to exist, right?

  • @[email protected]
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    296 months ago

    seven year itch

    Wow - I had never put those two together before.

    Anyway, Memory Alpja states that intensive meditation is also used to alleviate the problems associated with pon farr.

    What doesn’t make in-universe sense to me is that the condition comes from a neurochemical cascade. Even in our time, we recognize many of these conditions and have targeted drugs and therapies for them. Surely a society that is medically and technologically more advanced than ours by orders of magnitude would be able to simply treat the condition.

    As a plot point it makes sense, and Roddenberry both personally and as a person of his time saw things like brain processes as strange and mysterious. It allowed them to play with the still evolving character of Spock and with Vulcans in general. It allowed them to do that “put a human condition into an alien and turn it up to 11” kind of thing they loved so much. The same would go for Lon Suder, of course.

    They just get really hand-wavey around medical questions.

    • qantravonOP
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      256 months ago

      Meditation had been shown to be less than effective (Tuvok and Vorik both tried and failed to use meditation to get through their Pon Farrs).

      It seems that, in universe, something about Vulcan physiology also prevents medication from being particularly effective as well (also failed for both Tuvok and Vorik).

      • @[email protected]
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        126 months ago

        Coming from someone with an academic background in biology, the treknobabble in biology and medicine is pretty terrible.

        There’s a concept called the neural correlates of consciousness that basically states that every thought, memory, emotion, or other mental process has a direct correlation with the wiring and states of the cells in your brain. We can debate on whether or not to include other body states or gut bacteria, but the essence of the argument is that there is no “mind” as a phenomenon apart from the brain. This being a more serious sub, I’d argue that something like transporter technology implicitly assumes this, since you arrive with the same thoughts, memories, and emotional states as you had when you were decompiled.

        So you’d be able to say that the Vulcan amygdala becomes hypertrophic during pon farr due to signaling by some other physical brain structure and activates the limbic system which itself becomes hypersensitive to stimulation and so on. So you can govern your pointy-eared patient some space Xanax, which increases the effectiveness of Vulcan GABA, which calms them down. Or using your advanced knowledge of physiology that no doubt extends down to the level of quantum effects, find another avenue of intervention.

        Basically, I’m acknowledging your point - it’s a necessary complication that makes for interesting plot lines - but it really doesn’t line up with a justifiable in-universe answer.

        • @T156
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          26 months ago

          So you’d be able to say that the Vulcan amygdala becomes hypertrophic during pon farr due to signaling by some other physical brain structure and activates the limbic system which itself becomes hypersensitive to stimulation and so on. So you can govern your pointy-eared patient some space Xanax, which increases the effectiveness of Vulcan GABA, which calms them down. Or using your advanced knowledge of physiology that no doubt extends down to the level of quantum effects, find another avenue of intervention.

          Applying human neurobiology to Vulcans might not be too useful, since there are too many variables that come into play, from their telepathic abilities, to vastly different blood chemistry.

          We know that at the very least, the Ponn Farr is more than just a simple neurochemical rush, at least in a way that makes it so that it isn’t possible to safely suppress, or deal with via other methods. Otherwise, Voyager could have dealt with Tuvok’s by giving him an epinephrine shot, rather than the somewhat complicated affair with a holodeck.

        • @Dasus
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          13 months ago

          but it really doesn’t line up with a justifiable in-universe answer.

          I went over to have a little look-see about Pon Farr on Memory Alpha.

          “You only take a mate once every seven years?” “The seven-year cycle is biologically inherent in all Vulcans. At that time, the mating drive outweighs all other motivations.” “And is there nothing that can disturb that cycle, Mister Spock?” “Extreme feminine beauty is always disturbing, madam.” – Droxine and Spock, 2269 (“The Cloud Minders”)

          There’s pretty much no justification for the biological reason behind the seven year cycle that I can remember. But do we know what cycle it is? Perhaps it’s something to do with the planetary bodies around Vulcan? Like in humans, the menstrual cycle is about the same as one moon. (Sandi Toksvig once noted how it was definitely women who came up with the earliest calendars [in context they were talking about the “earliest man-made calendars”])

          So if their planet had some sort of a cycle that every seven years there’s a nice long summer because of some planetary alignment, it could be a good time for fighting and fucking.

          Oh but I was just supposed to say “nice comment, thanks”, and not babble on about something I was thinking about, lol.

      • @Seasm0ke
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        86 months ago

        Shoulda paired it with a wank. There’s gotta be a holodeck treatment for this that can fool the body

        • qantravonOP
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          126 months ago

          The holodeck can work, but seems to be less than 100% effective. It worked for Tuvok, but not for Vorik.

        • @T156
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          16 months ago

          Something that also seems to work is a fight, so it is possible that a boxing match, or something like that might be effective in letting off steam enough to deal with it.

  • @Easyreever
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    126 months ago

    That is the most logical explanation Captain.

  • Colonel Sanders
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    126 months ago

    I always got the impression that Vulcan society operated similar to traditional Japanese or other societies where couples were “arranged” by families. Not sure about the one off cases though so maybe there is some kind of sex industry given the physiological toll if it’s not addressed in time

    • qantravonOP
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      96 months ago

      It does seem to be primarily on an arranged marriage system, but there are plenty of exceptions. Pairings that don’t come together for some reason, partners that die either due to age or accident, etc.

      • Colonel Sanders
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        26 months ago

        As I recall on Voyager with a little coaxing Tuvok was able to use the holodeck to get “relief” so I’d imagine the same goes for most vulcans who might be on long away missions

        • qantravonOP
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          46 months ago

          It did work for Tuvok, but not for Vorik, so not a totally effective solution.

        • @T156
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          16 months ago

          I’m not sure that it is. Voyager likely only went with the holodeck solution because they were stranded in the delta quadrant, and no other alternatives were available.

          Within the Federation, a Vulcan who felt the Ponn Farr would take leave, like Spock tried to do, or couples would try to serve on the same ship/station together to minimise issues.

  • @MimicJar
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    96 months ago

    It seems like a Vulcan Mind Meld can cure just about anything.

    In “Flashback” from Voyager Tuvok melds with a close family member, in this case Janeway, to fix his disease.

    In “Endgame” from Voyager it is implied that a meld will cure Tuvok’s disease.

    In “Sarek” from TNG melding with Picard resolves Sarek’s emotional control.

    I would expect rather than a sex industry they have those that specialize in mind melds. Perhaps a specific family member.

    Having a backup option would still be logical, so random sex is still on the table.

    • @T156
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      6 months ago

      In “Sarek” from TNG melding with Picard resolves Sarek’s emotional control.

      In this case, at least, it was less a cure, and more temporarily offloading it to someone else to deal with. Basically the equivalent of Lwaxana affecting the entire Enterprise when she was going through The Phase, or someone with an injured leg leaning on another person to use as a crutch. Except that Sarek was relying on Picard’s emotional processing capabilities.

      Presumably his symptoms would return when he ended the psychic connection.

  • magnetosphere
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    56 months ago

    That does seem like the simplest, most reliable, most effective solution. We’ve seen things like meditation and medical treatments fail.

    • @[email protected]
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      6 months ago

      Presumably they would have solved this issue before becoming space fairing/having Orions available. If so, I’d imagine they’d be most likely to stick with their original solution out of tradition and simplicity.

      • wuphysics87
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        16 months ago

        Becoming space fairing creates a diffusion of mates necessitating such a solution

        • @[email protected]
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          26 months ago

          Sure, but it wouldn’t be the first thing. When humans became seafaring the same diffusion of mates happened. It was then exacerbated by the invention of the train. And then even further with airplanes. And in the digital age people meet each other online despite living thousands of miles away.

          Becoming space faring would also exacerbate the issue, but it wouldn’t be the start.

  • @[email protected]
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    6 months ago

    From that voyager episode with horny belana we learn that Vulcans are basically assigned a mate, so the chances are slim that a vulcan would need release without an outlet. And aside from that, the ponfarr can also be dealt with through meditation and discipline, probably particularly created for the situations you mention where there actually is no partner available.

    • qantravonOP
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      116 months ago

      Vorik and Tuvok both claim the problem can be dealt with through meditation, but both of them also fail to resolve the issue in this way, so we don’t know if that’s actually an effective treatment.

      There’s also lots of ways a Vulcan could end up single, not to mention we’ve seen at least two instances of Vulcans rejecting their arranged marriages (T’Pol and T’Pring), so there’s no guarantee any given Vulcan has a mate, despite their customs.

      • @T156
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        26 months ago

        In the T’Pring case, we also see that sex isn’t the only outlet. A fight to the death is just as effective, with Spock ending up not needing to bed T’Pring, having resolved his Ponn Farr by fighting Kirk.

        While the cultural custom is a fight to the death, it is possible that some form of extended, high-stakes physical combat might be enough to relieve things, but Vulcan sensibilities might simply prevent them from choosing that as an option.

        • qantravonOP
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          36 months ago

          This is true, and ultimately fighting is how Vorik’s Pon Farr is resolved as well. So there could also be a Vulcan fight club for those afflicted.

  • Zorque
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    16 months ago

    They have meditations they can do with a group of fellow Vulcan’s to help suppress the urge in the case of not being able to procreate with their mate. It comes up in Voyager.