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The phrase “the birds and the bees” is a term used to explain the mechanics of reproduction to younger children, relying on the imagery of bees pollinating and eggs hatching to substitute for a more technical explanation of sexual intercourse. It is a way of deflecting the inevitable question that every parent dreads: “Where do babies come from?” and it is an alternative to the explanation that the stork delivers babies.

It is uncertain when the phrase was first used or how it gained popularity. It does not necessarily mean that parents are explaining how birds and bees reproduce. The connection between human sexuality and eggs and pollination is vague, which can cause some confusion among curious children.

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