I am extremely lucky in that my dad will read anything I write. And I do mean anything. We have a standing understanding that he pretends I don’t write porn, and I pretend that he doesn’t read it.
Earlier this week, he asked about how the pre-order sales for The Country Omega were going and what I was planning to write next. Just before my 10-month-old son accidentally hung up on him, he asked a question I suspect he’s been mulling over for some time:
“But Penelope – why Omegaverse?”
The dial tone sounded before I could answer, as the baby giggled and drooled over the receiver. Which is probably just as well; I think the answer is much more complicated than what can be discussed when the baby is trying to eat the phone. The question stuck with me – the way questions do – and it took me a few days to figure out how to answer.
Why the Omegaverse?
- Because it’s more than just porn.
I know, I know. The Omegaverse is best known for having some of the weirdest, strangest porn out there. Half the population having spontaneous heats where they have to have sex for days on end. Self-lubricating orifices that aren’t meant to be self-lubricating. Male pregnancy as a matter of course. These are all standard in nearly every Omegaverse story that exists, even if the other details change.
Yeah, I admit. It’s weird. And I will absolutely grant you that a good chunk of the Omegaverse out there – whether original fic or fanfic – is heavily skewered toward the porny end of the scale. It’s so odd, more people will admit to reading vampire, werewolf, or BDSM stories much more readily than admitting they read or enjoy what is essentially one of the kinkiest skeletons in a very porny closet.
But Omegaverse doesn’t always focus on the porn. There are some wonderful Omegaverse stories that have very little porn in them – stories that concentrate on world building, on social structure, on characters dealing with situations we don’t expect them to have. And let’s face it – a world where a man can get pregnant is going to have some pretty radical shifts in how society is structured. There is huge potential for fantastic stories about Dystopian societies in which gender and procreation is the sole deciding factor in how anyone is treated.
Which leads me to:
- Because sometimes the best social commentary is when you’re not using your own society to make the comment.
There is a long history of sci-fi being used as a way of commenting on society. The original Star Trek episodes from the 1960s are perhaps the most widely-known example. Many episodes confronted issues present in society head on. Sexism, racism, militarism – nothing was off limits. If a hot-button topic appeared in the newspapers (or more likely, didn’t), Star Trek didn’t shirk at using an alien society to showcase it. This was a habit that wasn’t broken when the series was rebooted in the 1980s with The Next Generation, or even later with Voyager or Deep Space Nine.
The Omegaverse isn’t much different, except the focus narrows on gender politics and sexual equality. It’s one thing to talk about how women are still held to a different standard in society. Women don’t hold just one job: they hold half a dozen. They’re raising the children, they’re cleaning their houses, they’re cooking three meals a day, they’re repairing whatever is broken, they’re driving back and forth delivering packages, people, and groceries. And on top of that, many of them are working part- or full-time jobs outside the home, and are still expected to fill some of these roles. And if they don’t – if they put their children into daycare, or hire a housekeeper, or choose not to have children at all, they risk being seen as less because of it.
This different standard, however, is so much the norm that most people don’t even notice it. But when we turn the tables, and create a society in which men are just as likely to be held to that standard – it’s louder. It’s right in your face. Realizing that in the Omegaverse, Ethan is expected to give up his career in exchange for having children, is somehow much more horrifying than the fact that in our society, this is already true for most women around the world.
- Because it makes certain romance tropes plausible, just by the nature of the ‘Verse.
I love romance stories. I love the meet-cutes, I love the instant connections, I love that the main characters are drawn to be together. And yes, I love that the first time is almost always fabulous.
Ridiculous? Heck yes. Illogical? Completely.
That’s one of the best parts of Omegaverse. For those of us who are perhaps a bit more Spock than we’d care to admit, the Omegaverse makes the illogical plausible.
Need an instant connection between our loves? Let’s throw in some pheromones and scent markers and have them desperate to be with each other at first sniff!
Powerful desire to be together? Let’s create an actual physical/emotional/mental bond between them, so that they can’t bear to be apart!
Fabulous sex almost immediately? Well, sure – especially when one of you is going into estrus, and your body is craving it, the sex is bound to be awesome.
Still ridiculous? You bet. Still satisfying? Absolutely.
- Because it’s fun.
Because there are all the rules, and none of the rules. No two Omegaverse writers write the world exactly the same way. Every story is different. Every story is unique. Every story is individual.
Because it’s as political or as sexy as you want it to be. Every story has the potential to be a dystopian thriller about the rise or fall of a governing body – or just a smutty, sexy trip to the doctor’s office with a little role-play in mind. Or somewhere in between. It’s all good.
Because it’s creating your own world in a recognizable setting. Anyone can write a story about two lovers finding each other. But how else can you write about two lovers finding each other in a society that is just like ours – and yet profoundly, completely different too?
I think this is the same reason why people love writing (and reading) vampire and werewolf stories. Stories where wizards and fairies and other mystical, mythical creatures are present, if not accounted for. It’s a different world, encased within our own. Recognizable, and yet altogether new and exciting. Writers of these worlds – and of the Omegaverse – we’re creating our own worlds in a way that other stories seldom get to do. We’re writing the rules. We’re challenging the rules. We’re exploring and explaining and trying to shed a little light on things we don’t dare talk about outside of our own writing.
And if there’s a little bit more sex along the way… well. What’s the problem with that?
Why do I write the Omegaverse?
Goodness. Why not?