The term the 'birds and the bees' has been used for two centuries to describe the human relationships of how babies are made. Surprisingly, there is no specific story behind the phrase.
History of the birds and the bees
While the term may have originated from the concept that birds (who lay eggs) and bees (who pollinate flowers) represent the making of a baby, more than likely the term came about due to the storytelling of literary artists. In the nineteenth century, author John Borroughs wrote a pamphlet for children called 'Birds and Bees: Essays,' and in the 1920s, songwriter Cole Porter wrote a song called 'Let's Do It,' which contained the lines 'Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. Let's do it, let's fall in love.'
Modern versions of the birds and the bees
In an attempt to explain the story of the birds and the bees, two modern authors have crafted stories to explain the theory behind the saying.
Children's author Robie Harris authored a book called 'It's Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends.' In the book, a curious bird and a squeamish bee learn about the human body and how babies come to be. Scientific principles are the basis for the book, but the bird and the bee encounter many humorous escapades as they search for the answers to how the human body works. Harris has also authored two other books about human sexuality including 'It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health' and 'It's So Amazing!: A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families.'
Author J. L. Sweat crafted a book entitled 'Birds, Bees, Babies' which also explains a non-biological story of the birds and the bees in rhyming poetry. A lady wishes for a baby, but when she approaches her husband with her wish, he is eating a fish and says babies don't exist. She then proceeds to find someone in the forest who will help her find a baby of her own. The only animals in the forest who will help are the birds and the bees. They gather a pot of honey and add frogs and snails and puppy dog tails, however they don't have enough frogs and snails, and they are forced to start over. They then add sugar and spice and a few things nice, which results in a lovely baby girl. The stork, who reminds everyone he certainly is a bird, delivers the baby to the woman, and her wish is fulfilled.
Whatever its origin, the phrase 'the birds and the bees' is sure to be around for years to come as adults look for a simple way to explain a difficult topic.