Pardon the inherent ickiness of asking how an android and a human...become intimate, but this has genuinely puzzled me since I watched the Next Generation episode "The Naked Now." The summary for the episode on Memory Alpha states:

She asks how "functional" Data is; he replies he is fully functional and is programmed in many "techniques," a wide variety of pleasuring. She leads him to her bedroom, where Data gives a programmed smile. The door closes.

I'm not asking for specific details because, honestly, ick-factor, but:

  • What does "fully functional" really mean?

  • Why was Data built to perform a "wide variety of pleasuring"?

Also, I will not be offended by close votes. This question is insane.

  • 4
    Please make the edit summary "made less icky".
    – hairboat
    Sep 20, 2011 at 15:44
  • 6
    TVTropes has this listed: "The night with Data. He agrees to keep it quiet, but we see that it's one of his most precious memories. (In an extended version of Yar's goodbye message, she says, "Data? It did happen.")" The same page also points out that Data's ridiculous humanoidness is because, "His creator was far more interested in the puzzle of creating fully-sentient mechanical life than any commercial applications."
    – Aarthi
    Sep 20, 2011 at 15:52
  • 23
    My guess would be, that Dr. Soong intends to someday download himself into an android body... :)
    – John C
    Sep 20, 2011 at 17:53
  • 8
    I find nothing about this topic Icky. Me Gusta.
    – DampeS8N
    Sep 21, 2011 at 1:01
  • 12
    You know how it is. You've dedicated yourself to this huge complicated project ("build an android") and you can't figure out how to solve this one really tricky part ("give him emotions without making him a serial killer"), so you procrastinate by solving relatively simple problems ("make his junk work") instead. Nov 23, 2015 at 20:46

3 Answers 3


It is addressed again:

From Wikipedia,

Although stories about Yar are not normally connected to Data, the issue of Data's sexual encounter with Yar amid a ship-wide intoxication during the episode "The Naked Now" is recounted in stories about Data. Data carries a hologram of Yar with him and during the trial regarding his rights in the second season episode "The Measure of a Man," he admitted to the incident with the words "We were intimate."

As far as why he was built in this way, Dr. Soong made sure everything else worked (hair growing, et cetera), it makes sense that he would also supply Data with his own "special purpose."

It's also possible that it's part of Dr. Soong's attempt to make an android so realistic that he does not know he's an android, as referenced in the Season 7 episode "Inheritance."

  • 12
    Sub-question: In Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg Queen comes on to Data and asks him when the last time he was intimate and he states how long it has been for him - is he referring to Tasha Yar?
    – Katey HW
    Sep 20, 2011 at 15:57
  • 2
    @Katey - this is worth a post as a separate Q. Sep 20, 2011 at 16:09
  • 6
    The thing I don't get is, all that programming, and he can't program Data to whistle?
    – AncientSwordRage
    Sep 3, 2012 at 17:55
  • Or use contractions. :)
    – RobertF
    Sep 24, 2013 at 19:00
  • 4
    @RobertF which he then proceeds to use abundantly in many episodes. Seriously, there's a YouTube video showing a clips of times Data has used a contraction and it's minutes long.
    – user11521
    Jul 26, 2014 at 4:25

I'd have to say, in my opinion, it's assumed he was made to be very life like with all his capabilities; looks, adaptations, mental awareness, that it's not so hard to believe he'd also be equipped with physical functions (fully functional body, sexually) as a normal human being would, or at least a robot/android would. Who's to say Dr. Soong didn't want his android to be a fully functional human being, why not? The question would more or less be, why was he not comprised of more of an emotional awareness? Well that's what his first design was to be, Lore. So, in that respect he scaled down with Data, because Lore was just 'too humanlike'.

  • Everything but the skin tone. Speaking of Lore, if Data was designed to be less frightening to humans than Lore, why did Soong think it essential to leave in the sexy bits? Sep 4, 2021 at 7:09
  • Why would leaving in the sexy bits make him more frightening?
    – komodosp
    May 4, 2022 at 9:58

"Fully functional" I guess means "anatomically correct", which Soong just decided to add in. As for the pleasures bit I am not sure if that is limited to sexual pleasure, or if a "wide variety" includes sexual pleasure, but also includes other entertainment things such as the ability to wink.

  • Welcome to SFFSE! This answer doesn't really add much to the answers that have already been posted. Additionally, we tend to prefer answers that cite a source rather than just make assumptions. Thanks! Jan 7, 2016 at 5:22
  • I could totally see Data including the ability to wink into "a wide variety." But if he can't handle small talk, I worry about his handling of foreplay. Sep 4, 2021 at 7:12

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