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In the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode "Kayshon, His Eyes Open" (season 2 ep. 2) Beckett Mariner & Friends (except for Boimler) go to a large room full of sonic showers where people are cleaning themselves in full view of each other. Mariner explains to a crewmate (who is occupying Brad Boimler's usual spot) why Boimler is not present, saying something about his fear of "communal nudity." I could understand Boimler's shyness, and I doubt that he would be the only one unwilling to participate in this "public showering." It is likely that on a Starfleet ship with many different races, certain crewmembers would act like Boimler due to their cultural values and beliefs.

There should really be no reason why there are no dividers/stalls or even curtains to separate showers. In previous Star Trek shows, we've seen private showers before. Sure, they were usually in high-ranking officers' quarters such as Captain Archer or Lieutenant Torres, but they wouldn't really reduce the junior-grade officers to situations of such humiliation...would they? Are there private showers anywhere on the Cerritos? Or has it always been this way on all ships?

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    My college dorm in the 70s had showers like that. Not sure why you say 'such humiliation'. Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 4:18
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    (School) gyms, public swimming pools, public saunas, cheaper youth hostels, military barracks, job sites where you are expected to get dirty (e.g. coal mines), they all have communal showers. The only thing that's different about the showers depicted in Lower Decks compared to our present-day ones is that they are not gender-separated. But, given that Star Trek is set in a utopian future free of gender discrimination, that is not too much of a stretch … in fact, we are witnessing this happening right before our eyes. At the moment, it is only bathrooms that get de-genderized, but there is no … Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 5:16
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    … reason why that couldn't extend to showers in the next 360 years. In fact, there are cultures where such a gender separation never existed in the first place. Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 5:17
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    In addition to @JörgWMittag: I've been to events (LARP) where the communal showers weren't gender-separated. When people are adults in a community where you know each other, there's no problem with that. (plus it's not the prude USA). Having communal showers of this kind in Star Trek isn't a stretch at all.
    – Tom
    Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 19:04
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    @InvisibleTrihedron Heinlein assumed that the future would be much more sexually liberated than the past. There's quite a bit of that in many of his stories.
    – Tom
    Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 19:05

2 Answers 2

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NCOs and Ensigns have communal bunks and resources, while higher rank crew have their own rooms and showers.

See Flashback from Voyager or Lower Decks from Next Generation. So, lower level crew members don't have privacy for many things, including showers as you saw. This is common for military vessels because there's limited space and only higher level crew members get amenities like a private shower.

Lower level crewmembers don't have a lot of privacy and are expected to deal with said lack of privacy. We haven't seen what happens when someone has cultural beliefs that prohibit group showers or rooms.

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    As several of the answers there note, they have many of the common traits of military organizations, and so noting how military vessels have similar accommodations is normal.
    – Nepene Nep
    Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 10:29
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    @Valorum But those groups aren't ever actually used as militaries. They don't go war. Starfleet does. And everything crosses over perfectly--rank, weapons, etc. Even in peace time, you can be sent on war-type missions. There just doesn't really seem to be any way in which they are a not a military. It seems more a PR thing.
    – trlkly
    Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 18:42
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    @trlkly - For the record, I don't believe that the Salvation Army have any warships.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 18:59
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    @trlkly yup, its in the same vein as Uber claiming they arent a taxi service...
    – Moo
    Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 23:17
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    @Valorum You are correct, it's the Salvation Navy that has warships.
    – Andy
    Commented Nov 7, 2022 at 0:28
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Various Star Trek productions have tended to differ in how spacious or how cramped crew accomodations are.

Here is a link to a discussion of the vast space and realtively small crew on a Galaxy class starship.

https://www.quora.com/I-understand-that-the-enterprise-TNG-had-a-crazy-amount-of-empty-space-given-the-crew-size-How-empty-or-not-is-Deep-Space-9

So what is the crew compliment of California class starships compared to Galaxy class starships? What is the volume of the saucer sections of California class starships compared to the saucer sections of Galaxy class starships?

If there is any canon answer to those questions it will be easy to calculate the available volume per person in Galaxy and California class starships. And it seems to me that even if California class starships have far less volume per person than Galaxy class starships, it should still be far more volume per person than in 21st century warships and possibly far more volume per person than in the guest areas of 21st century cruise ships.

Thus it is possible that the cramped living conditions for enlisted and junior officers in California class starships might be due to sadistic starship design teams instead of technical reqirements.

Out of universe, it seems to be the product of showrunners who want to inflict harder living conditions on their characters. Possibly some of the showrunners were in the military and don't see any reason why their fictional characters should have any better accomodations than they did.

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