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  • Writer's pictureOlympia Black

Does Body Count Matter? My Human Wife. *Spoilers*

Updated: Feb 17



He’s awakened my body to my humanness.

Thank you for reading, My Human Wife. I would like to discuss my inspiration for this book. This book was not easy for me to write and that is because so many of the themes are dark and emotional.


But first let me mention the structure again, as I indicated in the introduction, some of the chapters are written in duet form for the narrators. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t allow me to deviate from the text more than a few words, so it was impossible to write a different eBook. I’m sorry for those who were disappointed by the duet chapters. I would encourage you to listen to the audio when it comes out as that is how the book is meant to be presented.

As for the story of My Human Wife itself, I was inspired to write this book after reading about human trafficking, watching videos about body count on social media, and seeing La bohème at the opera house this past winter.


Human trafficking is horrific. And what’s worse is that it’s more lucrative than dealing drugs or any other illegal activity. As of last year there were more than 50 million slaves worldwide.

Most would agree, slavery is terrible, but if that’s the case, then why is it so rampant across our planet? Why do so many of us turn a blind eye? There are laws in every country against trafficking and slavery, just as there are galactic laws against human slavery in my story, but they are rarely enforced in reality or fiction. As I researched the topic, I realized that there were many factors at play which made it hard to enforce the laws: racism, poverty, immigration laws, Stockholm Syndrome, shame, guilt, social isolation, language barriers, cultural differences, economics, debts, drug abuse, social inequalities, sexism, religion, war, propaganda, and many more issues that make it tough to prosecute criminals and challenging to rescue victims and subsequently reintegrate them into society.


Similar to survivors of trafficking today on Earth, Lara was left with a religious organization, the Fertility Temple, because it had become illegal for humans to be slaves, but at the same time, she could not become a member of galactic society because there were no jobs open to humans and she couldn’t be sent back to Earth because she had passed the legal time frame to be returned, so the IGC judge left her at a religious temple. This happens on Earth all the time with rescued victims of trafficking. They are no longer accepted into society so they live with religious groups or victim groups outside of normal society. It’s awful to be rescued and freed from captivity only to find out you have no means to support yourself and are not supported by your community.


In My Human Wife the Uru abbess lays out the truth for Lara, “This is just a stopgap for the IGC judge until he figures out what to do with you. And my guess is he assumes it’ll take you years for a male to pay homage with you which is why he sent you here in the first place. He can’t legally kill you and he doesn’t want to sell you because now it’s against the law, but he’s not going to set you free or he would’ve already done it. And that’s why I’m so annoyed. You’re going to be with us forever and I never wanted a human pet.” The abbess is not unlike many, especially in more conservative areas of the world, who are given the task to look after victims of sex trafficking and rape, many see these victims as having brought the crimes they suffered onto themselves as God’s plan, or in Lara’s case, the goddesses’ will. Given these circumstances, it’s not a coincidence that there are elevated rates of suicide, PTSD, and self-harm of survivors after being “rescued” from trafficking. And I am sure Lara would have suffered the same fate if Gael had not come for her.


Lara says of herself at Gala, “I only look healthy on the outside. In my mind, I’m completely disfigured. I’m hardly human at all anymore.”  And although she also thinks, “When I was with Gael and when he was kissing me, I was as human as I’d ever been.” Modern psychology tells us that what happens during childhood development greatly affects who you become as an adult. Lara was abducted and used as a plaything by tentacled aliens. Hela mentions she should speak to a counselor. But Lara knows how to be compliant and knows how to give the appearance of being “okay.” In addition, she probably believes her coping mechanisms are enough to see her through life. She has lasted this long. And another key element of her avoiding a counselor is that she might be afraid to open up to how she really feels about something that she is not in control of. At every point, Lara controls her own thoughts and her emotions and that’s not something she is willing to hand over to a therapist. Her thoughts and reactions are the one thing she owns (or think she owns).


Throughout My Human Wife, Lara is in control of her emotions and how she reacts to her situations at all times, except when she is with Gael.  Gael makes her feel things she cannot control. This is love. And love is a strange thing, it makes us trust strangers we just met. It makes us forgive people would we otherwise never forgive. And it makes us do things we would otherwise never do.


And make no mistake, Lara has a good understanding of sex, as she says, “What is sex anyway? Muscle contractions, a bit of bodily fluids.”  And when she says, “It wasn’t rape,” at Kamos’s palace, of course, she didn’t have a choice, but maybe, because of her strange upbringing, she does, in fact, enjoy the physical pleasure of sex, being able to separate her emotions and mind from her physical body. Lara often mentions she goes somewhere else with her mind. Pleasing hormones, dopamine and oxytocin, are released in the body when you orgasm no matter how that orgasm comes about. And if she did enjoy the physical aspects, sex for sex’s sake, why should she be punished by anyone’s judgement? Or not be believed when she says it wasn’t rape? Sex can come in various shades of grey it’s not just all rape or blissful sparks of love and pleasure.


Lara knows how different sex feels with someone you are attracted to, as when she’s with Gael, “I didn’t think Gael touching me, his lips to mine, would feel any differently than tentacled males putting their appendages all over me, but this feels incredibly different. He’s awakened my body to my humanness.”


It’s possible as well that Lara only wants to make Gael feel better about what happened with Kamos so they can move forward with their lives. She says it either out of truth or to put it behind her, or maybe both. But isn’t that what people do? Protect those they love by shouldering the burdens of what has happened to them because the past can never be undone and Lara believes she is strong enough to hold this line.


True love accepts many faults. Lara chose to go to Kamos to help others. Gael would not have forced her to go. It was her choice. Just like it was her choice what she told Gael about what happened with Kamos.


Does it matter that Lara has been with so many male aliens? Does it matter whether or not she derived physical, but not emotional satisfaction, from it? On social media this is a heated discussion citing only physical contact, ‘body count,’ not even the woman’s physical satisfaction for each sexual encounter, as a basis for whether a woman, based on how many men she has had sex with (not how many times she has had sex with the same man), should be deemed ‘worthy’ as a potential mate.


Lara aptly says, “Women have made it [sex] so important because it’s a way for the matriarchy to maintain its dominance. Insisting it’s the ultimate pleasure to have sex with a woman.”  I took this idea directly from our own patriarchal society and replaced the word ‘patriarchy’ with ‘matriarchy’ and ‘men’ with ‘women.’ I do not believe a matriarchy would be anymore just than a patriarchy, it would only be skewed in the opposite direction. Neither system is balanced, but I think it is the human condition to have a power imbalance between the sexes to keep sex/reproduction interesting.


But I digress. It seems some believe sex with an untouched woman, and the only motive in those situations to have sex is because the woman is untouched, is a kind of magical unicorn moment that has nothing to do with the woman herself, but a conquest of sorts, when in reality it’s the exchanging of bodily fluids for sexual physical desire (possibly even one-sided), which is what you see re-enacted in porn over and over again. And it’s flat because we know instinctually, it’s just sex for sex’s sake. Young attractive women will absolutely sell their virginity but there’s nothing emotional in that, it’s an economical transaction. Just like Lara in Lord Juo’s menagerie, all those tentacles were completely transactional for her survival. But she could pretend it was more if that pleased Lord Juo and her audience just like she does at Gala, just like the dolphins at Sea World. They get more fish the more tricks they do.  


Sex with someone you have a deep emotional connection to is the unicorn moment, and that emotional connection is not exclusively dependent upon physical body count.


People are all shades of grey and so is sex.

Body count does not matter to Gael. In fact, he’s surprised that Lara has never kissed anyone and must lead her in their sexual encounter so it is not completely mechanical and that is after he agreed to marry her.


But of course Gael also suffers from an Oedipus complex. Like Lara, Gael had a strange childhood. He was separated from his parents at a young age only to meet them again in adulthood. It’s clear, Gael wants to save Lara in the same way he couldn’t save his mother.

Lara definitely understands that Gael has issues, but she also recognizes she has issues as well. Gael tells her, “All families are messy in the galaxy.” Maybe he is correct? Lara doesn’t have the experience to know, (she only knows what she has seen through imported media from Earth what “normal” is supposed to look like on Earth, but many of the women who were also pets tell her what she saw is not accurate). But one thing is certain, Lara loves Gael and we know by the end of the book, it’s unconditional love. Gael was not only the first man who kissed her, but he rescued her and is offering her a “good life” in the galaxy that will mean something. Lara will be loyal to Gael forever once she makes the decision to keep the child. And Gael finally gets to save his mother by having saved Lara and his half-sibling.

Life is messy.

When I compare My Human Wife to other stories about body count, especially from the 19th century, like the opera La bohème by Giacomo Puccini, I think I have put a positive spin on these realities because despite the high levels of human trafficking now, I believe we are moving forward on these issues. In La bohème, Mimì, a prostitute, returns from her wealthy patron to die in her boyfriend, Rodolfo’s, arms. Mimì tells Rodolfo that her love for him is her whole life, “Sei il mio amor...e tutta la mia vita,” and then she dies. Yes, Mimì, Rodolfo, and all their poor friends lament their dismal lives, but they don’t question the system. It’s as if it’s a universal truth from the 19th century that poor women will be prostitutes and die cold and in poverty.  


In My Human Wife, Lara and Gael don’t give up. They actually fight for what they feel is morally right instead of accepting their fates in the galaxy (Lara must be given the opportunity by Gael, but once she is, she even risks going back to Gala, one of her worst fears, to save others). Gael and Lara risk their lives and their future happiness to prevent others from suffering the way they did. I think it’s one of the most noble things a human being can do.


There are many examples of these kinds of noble people in the news and social media today. People who have been through hell and back, rescued from human trafficking, and then go back into those dark places to help others, risking their own happiness and indeed their own lives. I find their stories so moving. There’s so much suffering in the world, but unlike in the 19th century where it was more or less accepted poor women be prostitutes, today there are men and women fighting back and trying to make sense of all of this and straighten it out. People risking everything so that in the future sex work will be chosen work and human trafficking will be history.


Many will want to look away from this book just like they want to look away from the atrocities of human trafficking, but if we look away, if we send the survivors out of our societies, then we might as well be like Puccini’s characters and condone it as a norm of humanity that will always exist.

 

And finally about the aliens. In most of my books, humans are mainly bought from galactic traders by aliens who look like humans, their only difference is their grey skin and their advanced technology. My first book, My Human Pet, was inspired by the tragic biography of Ota Benga. I was surprised that many readers believe that aliens would respect humans, especially if we shared similar characteristics. I don’t believe that is true. We can barely get ourselves to the moon, no spacefaring species would be impressed. I believe we would be treated as lesser beings, no matter how closely we resembled those aliens, not unlike how Americans treated Ota Benga because he was from the Congo and not unlike how we treat people who become victims of trafficking because of all the various reasons I mentioned above.

 

But because a few people think so highly of humanity, without consulting the rest of the planet (which I really think there should have been a global vote as it affects us all), we have sent our galactic address and all details about ourselves, biology, etc. on golden records traveling onboard two probes, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 (we have lost contact with Voyager 1). My only guess was that these scientists and politicians in 1977 could never imagine themselves like Ota Benga, Ensley, or Lara.  They couldn’t imagine themselves being seen as barbaric and lesser by more advanced civilizations, and if we don’t get our act together, this will be humanity’s downfall (if we don’t kill ourselves first through war, AI singularity, or pollution). Alien contact, at best, will be what happened to Lara, Ensley, or Ota Benga, and at worst, our annihilation as a species. I hope no one finds Voyager 1 or 2. I hope as a species we conquer poverty, war, and racism. And most of all stop hating each other. We are all human and all we have is each other in this galaxy.

 


My next book, My Wild Pet, will be in a series I’m calling ‘Imperial Paramours.”  It will be in the same vein as My Human Pet, but following a different human woman sold as a galactic pet.

 

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