The Omegaverse (A/B/O)
Do you want to write omegaverse? Do you have no idea wtf it is? FEAR NOT! I will guide you through this vast wilderness of chaos that is the omegaverse.
Omegaverse, or A/B/O, as it’s sometimes known, once began as a singular trope and has evolved into a full blown sub-genre that can claim its place under a variety of genres. Today we’re going to be specifically discussing omegaverse in terms of erotica.
Everything within this sub-genre is highly subject to the whims of individual authors leading to each omegaverse being heavily customized. There are basically no rules, however there are definite commonalities, which is what we’ll be talking about today.
We’ll start with the basics and then get into the kinky stuff 😉
What is the Omegaverse?
There is no simple answer to this.
The only basic requirement for something to be omegaverse is the inclusion of the secondary genders of alpha, beta, and omega.
Everything beyond that is up to the author. There are plenty of elements that are extremely common but none of them are explicitly required for something to be omegaverse.
Because everything is so dependent on the author, everything that is mentioned in this post will have exceptions.
What are Secondary Genders?
The secondary genders (also called dynamics) of alpha, beta and omega are literally just that—genders, but different from the primary genders of man, woman, nonbinary, agender, etc. Omegaverse stories can have any combination of biological sex, primary gender, and secondary gender.
Typically betas are the most common secondary gender. Alphas are usually the next most populous and are more commonly male. Omegas are usually the rarest of the three secondary genders and are more commonly female.
Common Elements in Alphas
- Alphas tend to more often be in positions of elevated authority and leadership. The world building usually sets them up to succeed and makes it easy for them to climb the various social ladders.
- If the omegaverse is more primal, then alphas may be viewed as more volatile and less able to control themselves.
- They tend to have an innate desire to serve omegas, to protect them, and ensure that their needs are met
- Usually more dominant in relationships
- May experience ruts—periods of profound hormonal spikes that drive them to copulate
- They are able to impregnate AFAB and omega partners regardless of their own biological sex
Common Elements in Betas
- Betas are usually just regular people who are unaffected by the hormonal cycles that rule the lives of alphas and omegas
- They may be devalued in the world building because they’re not considered to be special like alphas and omegas
Common Elements in Omegas
- Omegas are usually the submissive in the relationship
- They tend to have less control over their bodies compared to alphas and betas, and typically experience heat cycles—like the Alpha’s rut these are periods of hormonal spikes that drive the omega to copulate and produce offspring
- Some world building places omegas at the bottom of the pecking order, in some cases barring them from holding jobs, etc. (If there was an excuse used to prevent women from doing something in society, that logic is usually placed onto omegas in these situations)
- All omegas can be impregnated regardless of their primary gender or biological sex
Heat and Ruts
The world building surrounding the heat and rut cycles are always fascinating to me.
There are a few variations that commonly appear:
- Alphas and omegas being completely at the whims of their hormones, unable to safely predict or manage their symptoms.
- There’s use of birth control, hormonal suppressants, and extensive medical care that enable alphas and omegas to live relatively normal lives
- Sometimes heats and ruts are unpredictable and can show up without warning, usually triggered by their partner (or a nearby opposite dynamic). These “spontaneous” heats and ruts can be dangerous both for the partner experiencing them and for those around them.
What Goes On In A Heat?
The most common aspects are scent changes, nesting, and the heat haze.
- Scent changes tend to be indicative of hormonal shifts. Depending on the world building the population at large might be able to tell when an omega is going to be “in season”, and in others it might only be their family or partner that is familiar enough with them to notice the changes.
- Nesting is a general omega behavior that is a response to stress. If omegas are stressed, pregnant, have young children (or are children themselves), or are going into heat they will nest to reduce their stress. Nesting involves the gathering of soft fabrics and other items and turning them into, well, a nest. It allows the omega to chill in a comfortable environment that also smells like their partner (or family if they’re unpartnered) and helps them relax.
- The heat haze is when the heat is in full swing and the omega is no longer in control of themselves. Sometimes it’s accompanied by an actual fever and the omega is essentially delirious until enough stimulation/orgasms have happened to lower the hormone levels. Once the heat haze has passed the omega is usually fairly lucid, albeit extremely horny, for the remainder of the heat.
Scent is a BIG thing in the omegaverse.
Characters are likely to engage in scent marking or masking, their scent may have an influence on their partner or those around them, and characters are likely to have a “signature” scent.
Examples from my work: Leo in Conference Confidential – petrichor, Sidney in First Heat – citrus and cloves, Mateo in Heat Play Love – juniper and ginger
- Scent marking focuses around the scent glands (usually present on the throat, the wrists, and/or the inner thigh). This is usually the “this person is mine” calling card of someone’s partner
- Scent masking involves covering the scent of another. This is usually done by an alpha to an omega. In most cases this will be as a form of protection to mask the scent of an omega getting too near their heat.
- Scent can influence characters, usually in the form of relaxing them, turning them on, or encouraging submission. Alphas usually have more control over their scent and can manipulate it for those purposes. Omegas usually don’t have control over their scent. Betas might notice the scents, but are far less likely to be affected by them.
- Signature scents can usually be anything that’s pleasant. Usually alphas will be given “stronger” scents—leather, cinnamon, ginger, smoke, etc.— and omegas will be given “softer” scents—flowers, fruit, sweet things, etc.
- If it’s a more primal omegaverse then scent can be used by omegas to attract a mate and alphas are able to track down omegas by their scent
Mating in omegaverse isn’t simply fucking. It has a whole lotta layers, including things like bonding, claiming, marking, whether those things are voluntary, effects of being a mate, etc.
- When someone is mated in the omegaverse they “belong” to their partner
- Bonding is usually a two-way link where both partners decide that they want to be mates and will bond one another.
- Claiming is a one-way street where one partner (the alpha) decides that they want a particular omega and can claim them, usually by biting one of the scent glands.
- Marking is usually a temporary brand, usually a bite, that displays to others someone is taken.
Dubcon and Noncon in Omegaverse
Because of the nature of heats and ruts, dubcon and noncon can be very common within this subgenre. Consent lines get very blurry when it’s the hormones driving decisions and not any kind of rational thought.
Heats and ruts are not experiences that the characters can ignore. They will overwhelm inhibitions, provoke uncontrolled bodily responses, and require attention and care to get through.
If an omega goes into heat they are very likely to beg the nearest alpha (or anyone) to fuck them. They need sexual stimulation to get the hormonal overload to dissipate.
In some worlds the heat symptoms can be physically painful and not acting on them leads the omega to suffer.
In a rut the alphas (may) get more aggressive, some get violent, some will grab the nearest person to fuck.
If dubcon or noncon is a kink of yours then you probably won’t have to search very far in the omegaverse (books and fanfiction) to find it.
Sex and Kink in the Omegaverse
The omegaverse can get spicy. It’s a genre that lends itself well to primal kink, breeding kink, knotting, D/s dynamics, and mpreg. If you’re reading omegaverse the odds are high you’re going to encounter at least one of those in each story.
Once you delve into the heats and ruts you’re going to fall pretty hard and fast into primal and breeding kinks. Heats and ruts tend to make characters desperately horny beyond the point they can reasonably control, and the main purpose of a heat (biologically speaking, not necessarily for the story) is to produce offspring. Things are likely to get growly, bitey, and probably have some power play going on. If the omegaverse is a more primal one to begin with them you might even have an alpha hunting down their omega partner.
Knotting is where the base of the penis swells to essentially trap the participants together. In nature it’s to increase chances of conception and occurs in canine species, which is part of why the omegaverse
is super popular for werewolf and stories with shifters. I know there’s a whole subset of erotica readers that are into unique dicks, so omegaverse could be a place where you can sate that desire.
D/s dynamics are pretty common in the omegaverse as far as I’ve noticed. Depending on the omegaverse you’re gonna find a lot of power play. Alphas are usually the doms, and their whole job during a heat is to care for the omega and also to fuck them senseless.
Another thing that’s very common to omegaverse is mpreg, short for male pregnancy, because omegas of all genders and sexes can get pregnant. If you’ve got a pregnancy kink then you’re likely to find something that floats your boat in these stories.
So, now that you’ve read all this you might be asking yourself, Sierra, what the heck do you write in the omegaverse?
The omegaverse is incredibly flexible. You can apply pretty much any story line, any kinks, any dynamics you want and it’ll work within the world. It’s fun and can be entertaining as hell, but it can be hard to find what you’re looking for. Because of the flexibility authors can cherry pick any elements, so like with most things, you’ll have to wade through a lot to find the gems that fit your exact taste. With that being said, let me introduce you to the omegaverse that I work with.
I try to focus on consent and do my best in the stories to work around the potential dubcon aspects that come with omegaverse. Whether that’s to have characters already getting frisky when a heat comes up, signing a heat contract, or accessing heat services, you don’t have to worry about anything squicky occurring.
Alphas, Betas, and Omegas
The alphas, betas, and omegas in my verse are equal in society. None have any restrictions when it comes to jobs or healthcare, they all have full access to birth control, and there is no world stigma against any of
the dynamics (with the exception of some random assholes). My alphas do, on average, lean more to the dom side and my omegas lean more to the sub side, but that’s not a hard and fast rule.
Heats and Ruts
Heats are a pretty steady feature in my work. I haven’t written a rut yet, but that’s because of how I’ve designed them in my verse (they only occur with fully bonded pairs).
I created the Heat Helpers, which are specialized sex workers that are trained in omega care and often work in healthcare as well. The Heat Helpers show up in several stories and they’re basically guaranteed to give their omega partners a fabulous time.
The first heat (as appears in First Heat) an omega goes through is the most chaotic and the older an omega gets, particularly if they’re bonded, the more manageable their heats become. A spontaneous heat (as appears in Conference Confidential) is an occurrence in my verse that happens when ideal mates get frisky. It’s unplanned, unpredictable, and thankfully not as intense as a traditional heat. Ideal mates are alpha and omega pairs that are maximum biological compatibility (regardless of personal compatibility). A stress heat (as appears in Heat Play Love) is, like it says, stress induced. In the same way that stress can throw us out of whack, so too can stress mess up an omegas heat cycle and trigger them early.
A feature of my verse is that people can bond more than one partner, which leaves things open for long term polyamorous relationships. Bonding itself is a permanent and irreversible act, so none of the pairings I’ve written about thus far (as of June 2021) are bonded. In order to avoid accidental bonding I’ve introduced alpha collars which protect the most common scent gland that’s used for a first bonding. That allows the omegas to still enjoy being claimed, but there’s low risk of the alpha being bonded.
I don’t write mpreg, breeding kink, or pregnancy in general. I do dip into primal kink, power dynamics, and knotting. Other kinks are not specific to omegaverse, but you can find a lot of exploration with sex toys, oral sex, anal play, threesomes, video sex, among many other things.
I hope this helped enlighten you both on the omegaverse in general and about my work. Have you read omegaverse before? If you’re looking for a place to start, I’ve been told that my stories are the perfect entry to the genre. If you’re a veteran, please feel free to leave some story recs for me and other readers in the comments!
Thanks for reading!