Birds and the bees

Posted by ESC on May 05, 2003

In Reply to: Birds and the bees posted by Bob on May 04, 2003

: Just wondering if anyone know the origin of the phrase "The birds and the bees".

: Thanks

I don't think anyone knows for sure. Here's what I found:

BIRDS AND BEES - "Perhaps the answer to how this phrase became a euphemism for 'sex' lies in these verses by Samuel Taylor Coleridge:
'All nature seems at work.The bees are stirring - the birds are on the wing.and I the while, the sole unbusy thing, not honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.'

In past times, when schools touched on such matters at all - which was seldom - sex was usually handled in classes with titles such as Hygiene or Health. The facts of reproduction of the species were presented by analogy - telling how birds do it and how bees do it and trusting that the youngsters would get the message by indirection." From Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).