Beast with two backs

Making the beast with two backs is a euphemistic metaphor for two persons engaged in sexual intercourse. It refers to the situation in which a couple—in the missionary position, woman on top, on their sides, kneeling, or standing—cling to each other as if a single creature, with their backs to the outside.

In English, the expression dates back to at least William Shakespeare's Othello (Act 1, Scene 1, ll. 126-127):

The earliest known occurrence of the phrase is in Rabelais's Gargantua and Pantagruel (c. 1532) as the phrase la bête à deux dos. Thomas Urquhart translated Gargantua and Pantagruel into English, which was published posthumously around 1693.[2] Othello was written c.1601–1603.[3]

See also


  1. Othello, Act I, scene i.
  2. Gary Martin. "Beast with two backs". Retrieved 2013-12-09.
  3. Honigmann, E.A.J., ed. (1997). Othello (revised ed.). Baltimore: Penguin Books. pp. 344. doi:10.5040/9781408160206.00000010. ISBN 9781903436455.
  4. wikisource:Gargantua/Chapter_III
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