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Alphas, Betas, Omegas: A Primer

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Alpha/Beta/Omega Verses, also known as Omegavereses, or Knottingverses are one of the greatest, and most confusing things about fandom. They are a shared idea, interpreted differently by each author.

Here is what is promised by the omegaverse:
mating/heat cycles
semen. lots of semen. epic amounts of semen.
soul bonding

At least three of the five will be in every story. Assisted by a liberal helping of cock. And more cock. The  F/F omegaverse story is a rare creature and not often seen in the wild. Should you find one, you have a duty to return back and inform others.

That’s all you really need to know to go forth and read all the fic. But for a more detailed view of omegaverse fic, we should continue.

To get something out of the way: Werewolves. Lots of omegaverse AUs feature werewolves. Think of it as pack dynamics as written by individuals who have never spent time with actual wolves. Not every fic featuring werewolves is an omegaverse fic. Lots of omegaverse fics have nothing to do with werewolves. Werewolf fic is generally assumed to be the place where the knotting concept came from. (eta. Knotting apparently emerged from J2 bestiality fic. However, the author retains the belief that the concept was popularized by werewolf fic)

The omegaverse itself is something that appears to have been spontaneously created when J2 mpreg and J2 werewolves combined, had a soul bond, and created an idea that was perfect to spread out across all fandom.  If you don’t know what J2 is, you are going to be horribly traumatized by the rest of this document. You may want to google it first. “J2 Supernatural Fic” should get you where you need to be.

For the purposes of this discussion, the omega character and the alpha character will both be assumed to be male.

The five major signs of an omegaverse fic

mpreg: Mpreg is short for male pregnancy, colloquially known as "assbabies". This is possibly the most straightforward part of the omegaverse. A male character has anal sex with another male character. The receptive partner gets knocked up via some method that no one wants to think too carefully about-  it could involve magic, science, or porn.  Likewise, don’t ask too many questions about the exact genital and orifice structure of the pregnant character.   After a pregnancy that is exactly like the textbook one in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” (edition that the author found for a very small sum at a secondhand store), the baby will be born. Depending on the in-universe explanation for the assbaby, you will either see a c-section or a literal assbaby.

In the standard mpreg story, there is a fifty-fifty chance that the gestating parent was aware that becoming pregnant was a possibility. In an omegaverse fic, it is always the omega character who gestates the child. The omega character universally knows that sexual activity could result in impregnation.

Mating & Heat Cycles:  The idea of a mating/heat cycle is key to understanding any omegaverse fic. Indeed it is the defining characteristic. Characters who are omegas go into some sort of mating cycle or heat. This heat can occur as often as monthly,  as human menstrual cycles do, or as rarely as every five years. Heat frequency is entirely determined by the author.  The universal characteristic of each heat cycle is that the omega really really really really needs to have sex with someone, and the omega must be the receptive partner. Now.  The omega has conveniently been provided with a self-lubricating anus, to enable this activity.

Some omegas are able to resolve their heat by locking themselves away with nothing more than a few of the largest dildoes ever created. (The application of lubricant to the giant dildo is optional, as omegas are self-lubricating.) The majority of omegas require a penis, preferably that of an alpha, to be inserted in their self-lubricated, weeping hole.  Knotting is optional here -- in universes with knots, the omega absolutely must be knotted for the heat to end.

Heats, like menstrual cycles, can often be predicted. Unlike menstrual cycles, heats can also be triggered by such things as soul bonding an alpha, forgetting to take the needed pill, or being surrounded by too many alpha hormones.  Think of any terrible story you have heard about random periods starting, and that can be found in fic.

During the heat, the omega will issue hormones that serve as a siren call to all of the alphas, and some of the betas, in the area. These hormones are considered a public health hazard. This immediate pre-heat period, where the omega is throwing off huge quantities of pheromones that attract everyone in a set geographical vicinity, is the period of the most danger. The omega hopefully is able to get to a home or hotel room where they will lock themselves in for the duration of the heat.

This is also the point at which things tend to get rapey. The omegaverse is a gordian knot of consent issues.

Heat usually lasts from 3-5 days. Most of this time is spent having sex -- even if the omega immediately starts having sex with the alpha at the beginning of the heat, they are still locked into sex for the next several days. Many orgasms are involved, as are utterly insane amounts of semen. The ass of the omega provides a huge amount of fluid and lubrication. The alpha/omega partners appear to be hormone-addled enough that they do not get bored or chafed during this time. The many orgasms appear to help make the whole situation tolerable.

Once mated, there is a high likelihood that the omega will become pregnant.  Depending on the universe, hormonal birth control and/or heat suppressants will be available.  The hormonal birth control works generally like the pill in the regular universe, take a daily pill, take some sort of shot, etc. On rare occasions you will even encounter the omegaverse version of Plan B, for post-heat use.

In universes with soul bonding, sex during the mating period will cement the bond between the omega and partner. This bond can be for life, or it can be broken by some sort of omegaverse hormonal divorce.

Knotting: Knotting is the development of a knot at the base of the alpha’s penis, which cause the alpha to lock into the omega. The idea is based on that of the penises of dogs, cats, and other animals, where once the penis inserted, with an inflated knot, it cannot be withdrawn. (Cats apparently have some sort of barb, not knots. The author would prefer not to enquire further.) Knotting comes to omegaverse fic by way of many an AU where the characters are werewolves or something.

When the omega is in heat, the alpha has sex with them, locking the penis inside the anal cavity.  At the base of the alpha’s penis, the knot inflates. This frequently locks the alpha & omega together for hours. During this time there are many orgasms, and the alpha sends vast quantities of semen into the alpha. The knot locks the penis in place, and the semen inside, resulting in a much higher chance of conception than in regular humans.  Once the alpha & omega are knotted, there is nothing they can do but wait it out. Luckily orgasms are involved.  Knotting is usually the trigger for any type of permanent soul bound. Knotting the omega is what makes it count.

Depending on the verse, the alpha may be able to produce a knot outside the body of the omega, allowing them to detach. If the alpha can produce knots, it is universally agreed that they will do so during heat sex. Some alphas are able to form knots at any time, regardless of the alpha, beta, or omega status of their partners. Others are only able to do so with an omega in heat.

It is not advised that you google the animal origins of knotting. However there are many entrepreneurial organizations that will be happy to sell you adult entertainment devices with knots. It is still advised that you do not google.

Semen:  There’s a lot of it. Alphas, knot or not, have the giant penises for one reason, and one reason only: to better impregnate the omega. Alphas use this giant penis, and the concurrent large quantity of semen as a part of the heat process. The average standard human male produces no more than about 30 ml (or two tablespoons) of ejaculate a day. 10 ml per ejaculation. And that is being really generous, because the author of this guide can’t be bothered to google farther.  If omega heat usually lasts between 3-5 days, with between 10-20 ejaculations per day? Look, it’s a metric shit ton of semen, and it’s everywhere.  Somebody is getting knocked up, and the author doesn’t want to think about the poor bastard who is stuck doing the laundry.

Soul Bounding:  Alphas and omegas are often bound together at the soul level. When the omega goes into heat, the alpha claims and owns the omega, bonding them from two separate people into one spiritual unit. In some universes, the bond can be broken. This is especially common in places where there is a canon divorce. In some situations it happens to get get rid of an inconvenient spouse, and allow the fic OTP to be bound together.

In other canons, the alpha & omega cannot be separated by anything but death. Oddly, the inconvenient canon spouse obstructing the OTP dies at this point.  After the first spouse dies, alphas and omegas universally are allowed to rebond/remarry. Sometimes they try for another child. This depends entirely on the author and the OTP.

Some universes have the characters soul bonding to each other regardless of alpha/beta/omega status. Two omega characters might be soul bonded, but they will still be having sex with betas or alphas when the heat comes.

Some universes don’t have any soul bonding, but honestly, what fun is that?

Alpha Traits: Alphas are larger, aggressive, and have giant penises.  An alpha in the vicinity of an omega in heat cannot control himself. He must have the omega, bond with them and own them. Alphas frequently are in the military and politics. Think of any situation where someone would normally be described as an alpha male.  If there is knotting in this verse, only the alpha is able to have a knot, which they will use when fucking/breeding omegas.

When they scent an omega in heat, alphas are literally unable to help themselves, driven by a biological imperative to mate with the omega. This frequently is the point at which the story gets rapey, and dubcon at best.  Soul bonding will occur during this heat driven mating.

Omega Traits: Omegas are smaller, not as aggressive, and can be impregnated. An omega will go into heat, during which time they have little, if any, control of their actions. Omegas have a biological imperative to be bred, and want the giant cock, semen, and knots that an alpha is offering. Any alpha. This again, is the point where things get rapey.

Omegas are the ones who go into heat. Frequency and desperation level depends on the author. The percentage of omegas who are female vs. the percentage of omegas who are male tilts toward the female, with male omegas being somewhat rare in the omegaverses, and universal in fic.

Male omegas may have a penis that is the same as a standard male. They may have one that is a vestigial organ, and more like a clitoris. In all cases, omegas can be impregnated. As of yet, no author has claimed that an omega will have an enormous penis, but it is simply a matter of time before it happens and someone impregnates an alpha. Keep an eye on the J2 mpreg for breaking news.

Many universes have omegas banned from many jobs, such as the military. They also frequently suffer from a second class legal and social status. Insert any terrible legal, social, or workplace thing that women face in 2012, or at any point previous, and you have the standard omega.

Beta Traits: Betas are basically  normal everyday humans as you know them. Betas may be aware of omegas in heat, and may want to mate with them.  The success of this activity depends on the author. Beta males generally do not have knots.  Beta males cannot be mpreg’d. The ability of the beta to soulbond with an alpha or omega depends on the author. Even if soul bounded to the beta, the alpha or omega partner may be driven to sex with a non-beta partner during heat periods.

No one has ever written a story featuring a beta with a self-lubricating ass, or epic quantities of semen. For which we should all be thankful.

This ends part I of “Alpha. Beta. Omega. Explained.”. Part II will contain charts and graphs, Part III will be a vocabulary lesson, and Part IV will discuss worldbuilding.