What are the regulations for relationships on and off the clock?

In the new generation (Star Trek XI) Uhura kisses Spock in front of Captain Kirk. Now , Kirk and Spock were just about to try and board Captain Nero's ship to save Captain Pike. So it can be safely assumed that at least Spock was on duty as he and Uhura kiss for a while in front of other crew members and Captain Kirk.

Now I know that moments earlier, when Captain Kirk says he is also coming to try and save Captain Pike, Spock says to him:

I would cite regulations, but I know you will simply ignore it...

So no-one would expect Captain Kirk to make an issue out this, as he is not one who follows Starfleet regulations to the last word.

Was there any information on crew members fraternizing or having relationships? And what were the rules when a crew member was on duty?

  • 6
    On the clock - Don't do it. Off the clock - Shag whoever you like.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 7:46
  • 12
    Spock just mercilessly beat Kirk almost to a pulp on the bridge of Starfleet's newest and shiniest ship, and you're worried about a snog? Pfft, regulations! These guys seemed to have more important things to worry about :) Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 10:30
  • I suspect Kirk was hoping to have an argument about it so he'd have an excuse to mention his threesome with the two Caitan girls.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 13:03
  • 1
    In Voy: Fair Haven the Doctor said this to Janeway: "But, you are the captain. You can't have relationship with a member of your crew, they're all your subordinates. So where does that leave you? The occasional dalliance with a passing alien?" Which implies at least a distaste for fraternizing with subordinates if not an actual rule.
    – Bishop
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 15:26
  • 1
    @PaulD.Waite - not only prissy medical holograms -- Captain Kirk did not believe in having relationships with his crew (though he had no problem having relationships with non-crew...). Kirk to Spock (in The Naked Time): "I have a beautiful yeoman. Have you noticed her, Mister Spock? You're allowed to notice her. The Captain's not permitted". Granted, he was under the influence. But that just underlines how strong the restriction was to him, rather than the opposite.
    – Basya
    Commented May 24, 2022 at 20:59

5 Answers 5


It's the wrong timeline and 80 years too late, but it's pretty clear that in Star Trek: The Next Generation there is nothing resembling a ban on fraternization. Several major characters — including Data, who would certainly cite such a regulation if it ever became relevant — have romantic relationships with shipmates over the course of the series without worrying about violating such a ban.

The one time the idea of a fraternization ban comes up is in "Lessons" (about a romance between Picard and one of his department heads), which explicitly denies its existence:

PICARD: Sit down, Counsellor. I want to talk to you about a matter of protocol. I know there are no Starfleet regulations about a Captain becoming involved with a fellow officer, but —

TROI: You would like my opinion about you and Commander Daren.

In the Kelvin timeline, the only evidence that I know of is Spock and Uhura's relationship itself; again, it seems unlikely that they would be romantically involved if they knew of some regulation forbidding it.

  • Regarding your last line, I don't think the question was whether or not Spock and Uhura's relationship might be forbidden by Starfleet regulation, but whether or not one or more regulations exist regarding the showing of affection while on duty, which they certainly were in the scene described.
    – MattD
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 14:34


Starfleet apparently had a restrictive policy during this time period. It would seem that having sex with someone outside of your chain of command (and of the same rank) is acceptable, but otherwise not.

ARCHER: We heard you. What makes you think we're suffering from a lack of sexual activity?

TPOL: Starfleet forbids officers from fraternising with subordinates. Unless you've been violating regulations

Ent: Fallen Hero

2260s (prime timeline)

In The Original Series, there were apparently no specific rules that forbid a Starfleet officer from "fraternising" a non-Starfleet person.

KIRK: Lieutenant McGivers' idea to welcome Khan to our century. Just how strongly is she attracted to him?

MCCOY: Well, there aren't any regulations against romance, Jim.

TOS: Space Seed


In Voy: Scientific Method we get to see precisely what the rules are regarding 'fraternisation' both on the clock and off. In short, you're welcome to pursue a sexual relationship with whoever you want, but do it on your own time, and do it discreetly.

JANEWAY: Tuvok? I haven't heard a word from Tuvok. You two have been making enough of a public display that half the ship is gossiping about it.

TORRES: Believe me, that wasn't our intention.

JANEWAY: You are senior officers and I expect you to maintain the standard for the rest of the crew, but this adolescent behaviour makes me question my faith in you both. If you choose to pursue a relationship that's your business. But you consider yourselves under orders to use better judgment about it. Is that understood?

PARIS: Yes, ma'am.

  • 4
    "do it on your own time, and do it discreetly" To be picky, we only see that these were Janeway's orders, not Starfleet regulations. Besides, this particular advice would seem to fall under practical common sense, anyway. Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 10:31
  • 2
    @lightnessracesinorbit - The clear implication is that the crews are having a lot of sex. This is a futuristic society where there are no judgements over choice or quantity of sexual partner. The women of Starfleet do the nasty with Okona practically at the drop of the hat.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 10:40
  • 2
    In-universe it could just be a "you don't get the privilege of big quarters until you're committed and married, due to practical concerns and protocol" thing ... but both Voyager and Ent-D had plenty of spare quarters from what I see. And senior officer's quarters didn't seem smaller than the Paris family quarters (if anything, their shared room in Endgame looked smaller!). Though Voyager did also have low-rank crewmen bunking together right up to S6, so... guh who knows. Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 10:58
  • 2
    @LightnessRacesinOrbit - I think it's more of a tradition thing. Lower ranked crewmen share quarters regardless of available space. Having your own quarters is a privilege that comes with rank. Sucks to be on Voyager were there are bugger all promotions.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 13:01
  • 1
    The example from Voyager doesn't really fit, even as an example of a common preference - of a captain in general, or Janeway in particular. In this particular episode, she has invisible aliens drilling painfully into her head and injecting her with neurochemicals to make her anxious, sleep-deprived, and moody. The quotation comes from a scene wherein this effect is taking a severe toll on her mentally and emotionally, and it manifests by chastising Tom and B'Elanna - out of character. Even Tuvok, Mr. Regulations, mocks her for her attitude ("Would you like me to flog them, as well?")
    – Xodarap777
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 17:50

To add to Micah's answer, in the original series of Star Trek during the episode 'Balance of Terror', where the Enterprise came under attack by the Romulans, Kirk was due to officiate the wedding of two of the crew.


  • Excellent point
    – user46509
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 12:23

In the Star Trek: Voyager episode Elogium, Captain Janeway implies that there are no Starfleet regulations against fraternization off the clock:

CHAKOTAY: This morning I interrupted a couple who were kissing in the turbolift, and I've been wondering if we should establish a policy regarding fraternisation.

JANEWAY: Well, the couple in question might be urged to show a bit more discretion, but Starfleet has always been reluctant to regulate peoples' personal lives.

  • 2
    +1 for "has always been". That implies that for its entire existence, Starfleet has left people's lives alone.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 17:27
  • That being said, T'Pol is very very forthright in her expression that "fraternising" your subordinates is against regulations.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 17:38
  • 2
    @Valorum "Reluctant to" is not the same as "will not". Relationships with subordinates bring potential abuses of power that might override the reluctance.
    – ceejayoz
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 18:52
  • @ceejayoz - It at least speaks to Starfleet history
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 19:22
  • 1
    Earth's Starfleet is not precisely the same as the UFP's Starfleet, anyway.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 22:48

The rules of fraternization in the Star Trek Universe are far more lax compared to today's military. Members could engage in relationships but were kept under the unspoken 'rule' to not mix ship to ship business with their relationships. This is revealed between Riker and Troi in TNG, Torres and Paris in Voyager, Odo and Kira in DS9.

In short, do it in your own time and don't make spectacles of yourselves.

  • 4
    It should be noted that Odo and Kira aren't members of Starfleet.
    – Burgi
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 12:15
  • 2
    Starfleet is not a military. scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/54154/… No reason to compare it to one.
    – Agent_L
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 15:12
  • Fraternization in the US military is (varies by branch) generally any personal relationship between enlisted and commissioned members. Since Star Trek is not military and focuses on the officers, I am not sure that is relevant.
    – user31563
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 16:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.