The Birds and the Bees

Posted by Masakim on October 17, 2001

In Reply to: The Birds and the Bees posted by EG on October 17, 2001

: What is the origin of the phrase "the birds and the bees?" What does it mean?

birds and the bees, the
A euphemism for sex education, especially when taught informally. For example, It's time Father told the children about the birds and the bees. Cole Porter alluded to this expression in his witty song, "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love," when he noted that birds, bees, even educated fleas fall in love. This idiom alludes to sexual behavior in animals to avoid explicit explanation of human behavior. [Second half of 1800s]
From The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer

Birds do it, bees do it,
Even educated fleas do it,
Let's do it, let's fall in love.
--Cole Porter, "Let's Do It"