Fifty Shades Of Grey is still making headlines. The best selling novel – soon to be Hollywood film – and pop culture phenomenon has swept the literary world in a wild frenzy that’s rarely seen. It matters little if you’re not interested in the book from British author E. L. James, the constant buzz surrounding everything about it, from casting the actors to how sexually mature mainstream feature films should ultimately become is deafening. Star Trek: The Next Generation, the syndicated, sequel series to the legendary Star Trek, may not come quickly to mind as having much in common with the erotic novel, but compared with many sci-fi franchises – Star Wars for one – it’s handled complex sexuality maturely for over four decades now. Star Trek: The Next Generation deals with a wide variety of sexuality – including Klingon S&M practices, androgynous partners and gender reassignment through host and symbiotic transfer.
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Fifty Shades of Sexuality
Writer and producer Gene Roddenberry created his sequel series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, as a sort of grown up and more mature version of the ‘cowboy diplomacy’ kind of attitude which infused the 1966 original sci-fi show. Not only was Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) older, wiser and calmer than the legendary lothario Jim Kirk (William Shatner), but Roddenberry stationed a psychological counselor (a perfect 1980’s therapy vibe) permanently on the bridge in the form of beautiful Marina Sirtis, who played Counselor Troi.
Right off the bat in the pilot, “Encounter At Farpoint”, there’s a sense of relationship maturity which seemed missing from Kirk’s Enterprise. Commander Riker, newly stationed on the 1701-D, meets up with his long lost love – or his Imzadi – none other than Deanna Troi herself. During the seven year run of the hit show, they’d rekindle their romance – go cold again – only to marry in the last feature film, “Star Trek: Nemesis”, where their wedding served as prelude to the adventure, featuring a cloned villain portrayed by Tom Hardy.
Roddenberry also created the no holds barred character of wacky barkeep Guinan, brought to wonderful, dynamic life by Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg. Guinan wasn’t Dr. Ruth or Dr. Phil by any means, but she still had plenty of romantic advice to anyone who came into her Ten Forward bar.
Holodeck Hijinks – Holographic Sex
What better way to have a healthy sex life – complete with the partner of your choice – and not really have sexual relations with a fellow human being. That’s the beauty of the Holodeck – a huge room where any fantasy can come to convincing holographic life. Crew members would spend lots of time there – some of the more socially backwards ones like LaForge and Barclay seemed to practically live in a holodeck. Unfortunately, for the privacy minded among the crew, anyone seemed to be able to just waltz in at anytime – completely unannounced. I guess the future has even less privacy than we have these days.
Before we met Worf (Michael Dorn), it was widely known that Klingons weren’t the sweetest or most gentle of humanoids, however, with Next Generation, Klingon sex – after a fashion – was depicted, albeit tamely. In the episode, “Hide & Q”, Riker is granted the awesome power of a godly being, by the mischievous cosmic powerhouse Q. Come the final act, the once human commander starts to grant the wishes – or so he believes so – of his crew mates. When it comes time to give Worf his fondest wish, he conjures up a sexy, barely clad Klingon female. She crawls over to Worf snarling and growling her mating call. The crew – puritanical little future people that they are – are taken aback. “Is this your idea of sex?” one of them crows. Indeed, and if he’s keeping to that regimen, Worf is probably less stressed out than the lot of them.
In TNG’s first feature film, “Star Trek: Generations”, we’re treated to three villains who oppose both Captains Picard and Kirk. Soran, played by Malcolm McDowell joins forces with the scheming Duras sisters. In devious plotting, these Klingon gals make most Klingon warriors look almost tame in comparison. When an enraged Soran is beamed onto their Bird of Prey, he hits one of the sisters right in the mouth. As her crew holds him down and restrains him, she dabs the blood from her mouth, and playfully smears it on his own, and hisses, “I hope for your sake, you are initiating a mating ritual.” Fifty Shades of Grey obviously has nothing on Klingons when it comes to rough sex.
Angel One – A Matriarchal Society – The Woman Are In Charge
Earth – for the most part – is a world where men have dominated in both societal and political circles. European cultures, and a few others, have allowed women to be national rulers – such as Queens – or today with Angela Merkel leading Germany, or Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the UK. Mostly though, the human boys still call the big shots on planet Earth. Not so on planet Angel One in this episode. Here, men waltz around in frilly nightgowns at the pleasure and service of the ruling females. When Commander Riker leads an away team to search for a lost freighter crew, he encounters a world where women fully dominate men, and he must adapt to the feminine power structure.
The Host – When Partners Change Gender In Middle Of A Relationship
Gender reassignment is a serious and very personal thing for an individual to face and go through. It can take years of meditation, psychological testing and counseling and then extensive physical alterations by surgery. But what if all of that complicated transformation could be done in a few hours? For the symbiotic race of the Trill, it’s simply a matter of popping in and out of host bodies, thereby changing gender is pretty easy. Sure, the new body has new physical demands, but the mental and emotional memories of the symbiotic creature remain and carry over into the new host body. When Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) must face a former lover in this condition, she’s both philosophical and diplomatic, but also completely absorbed by the weight of the emotional price to be paid for all involved parties.