Why Is It Called Birds And Bees?

Ever wondered why we use the phrase “the birds and the bees” to talk about something so human? We often hear this term when it’s time for parents to explain the complex subject of human sexual reproduction to their children.

Our blog post dives into the fascinating history behind this curious euphemism, unpacking its origins, cultural references and meanings. Ready for a deep dive into language and nature? Let’s go!

Key Takeaways

  • “The Birds and the Bees” is a phrase used to talk about human sexual reproduction, especially with children.
  • The origins of this phrase are tied to cultural references, such as a poem by Samuel Coleridge Taylor and a book by Dr. Emma Frances Angell Drake.
  • It also has roots in natural observations, as birds and bees symbolize love, new life, and the natural process of reproduction in nature.
  • The phrase is widely used in literature, music, and popular culture to discuss human sexuality metaphorically.


Understanding the Phrase “The Birds and the Bees”

“The Birds and the Bees” is a saying we use often. It is a way to talk about human sexual reproduction, especially to kids. This phrase might seem odd at first. But birds and bees are part of nature’s cycle of life, just like humans.

Birds lay eggs to make more birds. Bees carry pollen from one flower to another helping plants grow fruit or seeds. Such acts link with how people have babies too! We’ll see that it makes sense as we dig into its origins further on this topic.

Possible Origins of “The Birds and the Bees”

“The Birds and the Bees” may have origins in cultural references and natural observations.

Cultural References

The phrase “The Birds and the Bees” has deep ties to culture. One such bond is with a poem by Samuel Coleridge Taylor, called “Work Without Hope”. It speaks of birds and bees in nature.

Culture also ties this phrase to Dr. Emma Frances Angell Drake’s book, “The Story of Life”. This book used the tale of birds and bees as a way to teach about human sexual reproduction.

Songwriter Cole Porter put his own spin on the phrase in 1928. In his song “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love”, he made the words famous worldwide. Today, TV shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show and Red Dwarf have shared stories about ‘the birds and the bees’ talk too.

Natural Observations

Birds carry out tasks like nest building and pair bonding. Bees move pollen from male to female flowers, which helps plants make seeds. These acts stand for love and new life in nature.

People see these things happen in nature every day. So they used birds and bees as symbols of natural facts of life, including human sexual reproduction. This idea gave us the phrase “the birds and the bees.”.

The Birds and the Bees in Popular Culture

Literary references to “The Birds and the Bees” can be found in works such as Samuel Coleridge’s poem “Work Without Hope” and Emma Frances Angell Drake’s book “Safe Counsel,” while in popular music, Cole Porter famously sang about it in his song “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love.”

Literary References

Literary references to “The Birds and the Bees” as a metaphor for sexual reproduction have been found in various works of literature and poetry. Here are some notable examples:


  1. Samuel Coleridge Taylor’s poem “Work Without Hope” from 1825.
  2. Emma Frances Angell Drake’s book “Safe Counsel” published in 1890.
  3. John Burroughs’s collection of essays titled “Birds and Bees, Sharp Eyes, and other Papers.”


Media and Entertainment

“The Birds and the Bees” has made appearances in various forms of media and entertainment, showcasing its cultural significance:


  • It was featured in the musical “Six” and an episode of “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
  • The phrase has been referenced in literary works, such as John Burroughs’s “Birds and Bees, Sharp Eyes, and other Papers.”
  • It has also been mentioned in songs, including Jewel Akens’ “The Birds and the Bees” and by the band The Bird and the Bee.
  • In popular culture, “The Birds and the Bees” serves as a euphemistic way to discuss human sexual reproduction.


What Does “The Birds and the Bees” Mean?

“The Birds and the Bees” is a phrase that carries symbolic meanings, serving as a euphemistic way to discuss human sexual reproduction and teach about the mechanics of sex.

Symbolic Meanings

The phrase “The Birds and the Bees” carries symbolic meanings beyond its literal interpretation. It represents the natural cycle of life, growth, and reproduction found in nature. Just as birds build nests and bees pollinate flowers, humans engage in sexual reproduction to create new life.

The phrase also symbolizes courtship, love, and relationships between individuals. It serves as a euphemistic way to introduce discussions about human sexuality to younger audiences by relating it to natural facts of life.

Additionally, the metaphorical story behind “The Birds and the Bees” helps convey important messages about consent, respect, and understanding within intimate relationships.

Teaching about Reproduction

Teaching children about reproduction is an important part of their education. Parents and educators use various methods to explain this topic, including using the metaphorical story of “The Birds and the Bees.” This approach helps make the subject more understandable and less intimidating for kids.

By comparing human reproduction to birds laying eggs and bees pollinating flowers, children can grasp the concept in a relatable way. This teaching method has been used for generations and continues to be a popular way to introduce the facts of life in a gentle manner.

Examples of “The Birds and the Bees” Usage

Parents often use the phrase “the birds and the bees” when explaining reproduction to their children. Teachers may also utilize this expression in sex education classes.

Everyday Conversations

People often use the phrase “The Birds and the Bees” in everyday conversations. Here are some examples of how it is used:


  • Parents may use the phrase when talking to their children about where babies come from.
  • Friends might use it jokingly when discussing relationships and dating.
  • Teachers might use it when talking to students during sex education classes.
  • Couples might use it as a euphemism when discussing intimacy.


Educational Contexts

“The Birds and the Bees” is often used in educational contexts to teach children about human sexual reproduction. Here are some examples of how it is used in these settings:


  • Parents may use the phrase to explain sex to their children in an age-appropriate way.
  • Teachers may use it as a metaphorical story to explain the mechanics and results of sexual intercourse.
  • It can be found in books, such as “It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health” by Robie Harris and “It’s So Amazing: A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families” by Robie Harris.
  • The phrase is also used by organizations like the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) to provide comprehensive sex education.



In conclusion, the phrase “The Birds and the Bees” is a metaphorical story that parents use to explain human sexual reproduction to children. Its origins are unclear, but it has been used in popular culture and music for many years.

Today, it is widely recognized as a euphemism for discussing sex education with young ones.


1. Why is it called the birds and the bees?

The phrase “birds and the bees” is a metaphor used to explain the concept of reproduction, especially to children, by comparing it to how birds build nests and bees collect nectar.

2. Who came up with the term “birds and the bees” for talking about reproduction?

The exact origin of the term “birds and the bees” is unclear, but it has been used since at least the 18th century as a euphemism for educating young people about sexuality and reproduction.

3. Is explaining reproduction using birds and bees still a common practice today?

Yes, explaining reproduction using birds and bees is still a common practice today as it provides an age-appropriate way to introduce children to this topic in a simplified manner.

4. Are there other metaphors or terms that are used instead of “the birds and the bees” to talk about reproductive education?

Yes, there are other metaphors or terms used instead of “the birds and the bees,” such as “the stork brings babies,” or simply discussing biological processes without relying on metaphors.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.