How It Looks/Works
For the most part, “suppressants” do double duty in the omegaverse. They’re both a way to minimize a character’s omega traits like scent or slick and a form of birth control. Sometimes, alphas have their own suppressants but since the omegaverse is omega-oriented at most points, there are less stories that focus on that. What alphas have for sure are knot-safe condoms that have to be strong enough to deal with an alpha’s knot and a mid-to-excellent pullout game. They just… never want to use them. Art mimicking real life, I guess.
When it comes to abortion, however, that’s where I feel the omegaverse fails. There are so many stories where characters get pregnant on accident or as a result of assault and they refuse to get an abortion because of
- Their omega instinct to be pregnant/have babies
- Fear of letting down the/any alpha in their lives
- “I can’t kill my baby”
Compared to birth control in omegaverse – and sure it has a high fail rate but at least it’s always present positively in most contexts – abortion remains an aspect of reproductive health that we shy away from in omegaverse unless it’s to show how desperate an omega is or how bad a situation they’re in.
Non Traditional Take
While I’m largely satisfied with the presence of birth control (or rather suppressants-as-birth control) in current omegaverse, I’d love to see more breakaways from the established worldbuilding that transcends settings and time. More alpha and beta-focused birth control, please? Why does the person who can get pregnant have to be the person responsible for birth control especially when they also are often subject to purity culture, isolation, and ignorance around sex?
And when it comes to abortion? The non-traditional take in the omegaverse would simply be to normalize (yes, I said it) writing worlds where characters aren’t punished for having abortions. As we know, anti-abortion or anti birth control policies are explicitly draconian, going against the development of a cohesive society and putting people who give birth at major risk for risky off-books medical procedures. In worlds where characters take birth control and have access to abortions as part of regular reproductive health care, no one is shamed for needing an abortion and it’s not something that would cause the end of a relationship or reputation ruin.
Thoughts on Thoughts
One of the things that always yeets me right out of an omegaverse story — be it in manga or a fic — is a character rejecting getting an abortion because they don’t want to kill or otherwise “get rid of” their baby. First of all, the character has almost always instantly known they’re pregnant like one week after having sex for the first time – not how that works, mind you. Second of all, until it’s born it’s not a baby. And it’s really not a baby at one to six weeks into a pregnancy. It’s just a clump of cells.
That we’re seeing how, worldwide, omegaverse creators can’t break free from that aspect of their real lives as so many people lack comprehensive reproductive healthcare including both birth control and abortion care? It speaks to something I’ve seen across different fandom spaces about the limits we put on ourselves and our created worlds. I find fandom extremely fascinating in particular because we’re always writing for ourselves in fandom, no one else, and yet we collectively cannot dream of better worlds for ourselves and the characters we see ourselves in.
For example, it’s interesting but depressing to realize how easy it is to imagine a world where we’re accepted on one avenue (being a pregnant man, for example) but punished for another aspect (the sex you had to have to become a pregnant man). Even when you’re like “I’m just a trans masc who wants to imagine being a breeding vessel without the scary parts of like… actually living through that” there’s this element of “I cannot have my breeding kink and cake at once, the characters who are like me must suffer the exact same way I do”. It’s likely not even conscious. I don’t think most people are sitting there writing omegaverse directly replicating the reproductive health issues of our actual world out of some glee that reproductive healthcare is so inaccessible. (Really, I’d say 99% of the people who do the dang thing are not even remotely thinking this way. They’re writing what they know because even in their self-indulgent fantasy, the real world intrudes.)
My early critical engagement with omegaverse – even as I wrote it – focused on how fandom was layering things like misogyny and maternal fears onto what I understood at the time to be cis dudes. (Or cis male omegas for a value of sex-gender understanding that is still Quite Complicated To Explain.) Over a decade later and I largely have rethought my initial understanding of omegaverse in some key ways. It’s incredibly Gender and allows room for trans mascs specifically and primarily to imagine parenthood in ways that allow their bodies to be uplifted and welcome in society – even in the worst anti-omega Omegaverse universes.
However, that doesn’t mean that the work we create that’s Extremely Gender ™ in the Omegaverse… can’t have problems? It doesn’t mean that we’re not writing pro-life worlds or unthinkingly replicating the lingo as we get ourselves immersed in kink. I know people recoil violently at the idea that we can think critically about what we’re creating in fandom but like… we can? We kind of… have to as we put together new worlds and spool out the breeding kink knot-fest to be something that’s Actually Gender ™.
Anyway, in before the “well write your own” reactions… I actually do!
I’ve been writing omegaverse where characters use birth control and abortion access is available for ages. Was it easy to worldbuild properly at first? Nope. I had to work to remember that if I’m imagining a world, even one set in the technical dystopia of the omegaverse, I get to do what I need to make it interesting and accessible on a broader scale.
In the “Florida Omegaverse” and “Hybrid” universes I write, any character that can get another character pregnant usually chooses to get a birth control implant in their arm. Sometimes a character won’t have an implant but it’s fully for (breeding) kink purposes because sometimes the threat of “I’m not pulling out, hope you’re ready to become a parent” is absolutely on the menu.
I don’t have characters monologue about their birth control or mention that there’s a Planned Parenthood on every corner (there’s not), but it’s definitely important to me to think about what characters who are having tons of sex need to keep all of their bodies in the best shape especially if they’re not interested in or ready for kids. In stories with more conservative worlds or characters – especially in historical settings or relationships with power imbalances/arranged marriages – reproductive healthcare may not be on the page but it’s always in my mind. You can balance the kinky shit with language/worldbuilding that doesn’t alienate your audience? It’s not even that hard!
No one needs to do what I do. But fans should (be able to) talk about how, as we really make Omegaverse into this progressive site for Gender Exploration on top of the breeding kink, nods to comprehensive and progressive reproductive health care – or at the very least, not having main romantic/sexual partners repeat lines about abortion that we’d hear in a pro-life protest – might not be out of place in the future of Omegaverse content.