Anybody can give you a list of Star Trek’s sexiest moments with the greats like Kirk and Uhura’s kiss, but I’ve never been much of a Kirk fan. The things I looked for when selecting this list were as follows: chemistry between characters, how the scene relates to the overall story arc, challenging social mores, sexy outfits, and tragic outcomes (all of my favorite things). I hand-selected this list not only based on the scenes themselves but also based on the larger context of Star Trek as a whole. Without further ado, here are my picks:
- Charlie X (TOS Episode 1×07): Uhura and Spock get musical together.
The real star of this scene is Uhura. She sings and dances along to the dulcet tones of Spock’s lute. Did I detect a smile from Spock? I love seeing him in moments of humanity. This scene is downright charming and the progenitor to Uhura/Spock in the Abrams Trek films—but that, my friends, is a blog post for another day.
- Amok Time (TOS Episode 2×05): Kirk and Spock go full-on American Gladiators.
I’ll be honest–the only time I really like Kirk is when he’s interacting with Spock. (Yes, Spock made it on the list twice–he’s a babe.) Their friendship, in the grand tradition of Greek literature like the Iliad, is masculine and ambiguous (depending on who you ask). It’s no surprise that they are ‘shipped so frequently. The fight scene in this episode is tense (I mean, just listen to the music!). There are sweaty men, violence, nipples. What more could you want? Oh, a twist that demonstrates the depth of Kirk and Spock’s friendship and reinforces the idea that they’d never hurt one another? DONE!
- The Price (TNG Episode 3×08): Troi and Dr. Crusher stretch in magical outfits.
This scene is the butt (heh) of the joke that is Star Trek. Where did they get these magical space leotards? What are they made of? Don’t they give them wedgies? This scene doesn’t even pass the Bechdel test because they’re talking about dudes. But I love this scene because, as weird as it is, it’s a cute interaction between Troi and Crusher and I kind of wish I was with them, in a purple glitter leotard, talking about sex and plotting to mutiny and create an all-woman crew. These are the adventures of the USS Feminist Killjoy. (Not to mention that there is a clip of this scene on YouTube dubbed over with farts. Okay, maybe that’s not sexy.)
7. Looking for Par’Mach In All The Wrong Places (DS9 Episode 5×03): Jadzia and Worf play rough.
Here, Jadzia and Worf, having tutored Quark in the ways of Klingon mating rituals, get hot and heavy on the holodeck. Jadzia hints that she’s into Worf and he Just Does Not Get It, so she jumps his bones, they spar with bat’leths, and then romantic history is made. These two are one of my favorite couples in all of Star Trek and I appreciate the rough-and-tumble nature of their courtship. This feeling is only intensified by the fact that Jadzia is assertive and demonstrates that she understands Klingon culture very well–to Worf’s pleasant surprise.
- Attached (TNG, Episode 7×08): Picard and Dr. Crusher smooch.
Picard and Dr. Crusher have a longstanding romantic tension between them that might be the hottest thing in all of Star Trek (but that’s neither here nor there). In this episode, they become telepathically connected via alien brain implants (whoops!). Their telepathic bond and their physical proximity while held prisoner during this episode heighten the tension that’s already there. At the end of this episode, Picard asks Crusher to excuse the naughty dreams he had while they were imprisoned and Crusher asks about the thoughts he had while he was awake. We are left wondering, just like Picard and Crusher, what the possibilities are between them as they kiss and part ways.
- Rejoined (DS9 Episode 4×06): Jadzia’s romance with the wife of a former host.
Jadzia also made it onto this list twice. Guess why? Because she’s fine, duh! I love Jadzia (my cat is named after her) because, via the Dax symbiont, she has experienced life from a variety of perspectives, including as a man. Like Tiresias, the prophet of Apollo who lived as a woman for seven years, she’s seen it all. (Sisko’s affectionate nickname for her is Old Man.) The metaphor in this star-crossed love is obvious: The Trill taboo against continuing relationships from previous hosts (called reassociation) is a stand-in for the taboo of lesbianism. This story has a bittersweet ending, but that makes the scene between Jadzia and Lenara even more effective.
- Human Error (VOY Episode 7×18): Seven of Nine and (holo-)Chakotay fall in love on the holodeck.
Seven creates several holodeck programs to learn how to socialize and experience romance as well as the full range of human emotions. She chooses Chakotay, because of his “many admirable qualities,” to be her romantic partner in these programs. Yes, okay, it was creepy when Barclay did it in TNG. But Seven’s experiments are not without consequence: her emotions almost kill her because her brain is programmed to shut down when she becomes emotional. (Story of my life.) This tragic turn of events casts a dark specter over her interactions with both holo-Chakotay and real Chakotay. But don’t worry, friends–these two find each other eventually.
- The Naked Now (TNG Episode 1×03): So many people get it on, but most importantly, Data and Tasha get it on.
This is a silly episode. Everyone gets space-drunk and wants to do it. But the scene between Data and Tasha is one of my favorites in all of Star Trek. First of all, Data is the ideal lover, okay? Fully-functional, programmed in multiple techniques, a wide variety of pleasuring. Additionally, he wants to learn about relationships and feelings (See: TNG: In Theory Episode 4×25). He accepts feedback and learns from it and–get this–he constantly wants to do better. (Do you hear that, men?) Later, Data remembers his relationship with Tasha fondly. Of course, the whole space-drunk thing is super problematic. Data is sober and Tasha is not . . . Okay, I think I just ruined this one for myself.
- Counterpoint (VOY Episode 5×10): Janeway gets hot and heavy with the enemy.
Janeway doesn’t get much opportunity to explore romantic relationships. As captain of Voyager, it would jeopardize her crew; as a woman, it would make her seem weak. When Voyager is under inspection by the Devore and the crew fears for their lives and the lives of their telepathic passengers, Kashyk gains her trust and convinces her that he actually wants to help Voyager escape the Devore. The flirtation between Janeway and Kashyk is only permitted to exist because of his ultimate betrayal and, as we learn, Janeway is on to him the whole time. Or was she? How much of their feelings and interactions were sincere, and how much was a front? The ambiguity of their true feelings lends a tension to these scenes that makes them especially poignant.
1.Blood Fever (VOY Episode 3×16): B’Elanna Torres is hot for Tom Paris.
B’Elanna manifests symptoms of the pon farr after Ensign Vorik, in the throes of the fever, attacks her. This is a classic example of a toxic masculinity; he cannot take no for an answer when he asks her to marry him. Not too hot so far, right? Well, this episode sets the stage for B’Elanna and Tom to fall in love. AWW. But, you may say, they don’t even get it on in this episode. Why include this in the list? Because CONSENT IS SEXY! Tom knows that B’Elanna is unable to consent due to her current mental state. This sets the tone for the rest of their relationship. Not to mention, it’s also super hot when B’Elanna is on the prowl. I’m all about those Klingon mating practices. (Side note: This episode also includes Vorik getting it on with a hologram to assuage his pon farr.)