Episodes
She's the warrior queen who took on the mighty Roman Empire, but who really was Boudica? Separating facts from the myths we've read can be tricky, but thankfully Kate is joined by the wonderful Emma Southon, author of A History of the Roman Empire in 21 Women, to find out the truth and explore our most reliable sources. What happened when Boudica launched a surprise attack on the Roman headquarters in England? What is her legacy? And why has her story come in and out of favour through the...
Published 02/27/24
If you've seen the film Braveheart, you might have certain expectations about the real history of William Wallace. Separating fact from fiction can be tricky, but what do we really know about this iconic Scot, and the supposed relationships that sparked his rebellion against the English? Today Kate is joined by author and host of Gone Medieval, Eleanor Janega, to find out the truth behind William Wallace. How does his life tie into the Scottish Wars of Independence? Why did he receive such...
Published 02/22/24
The origins of the modern sex doll are shrouded in myth. Some say they came from crafty sailors in the 18th century, a long way from home and in need of, ahem, company. In today's episode, Kate is joined by Bo Ruberg, author of Sex Dolls At Sea: Imagined Histories of Sexual Technologies to uncover the truth. How were early sex dolls used to smuggle booze into Paris? What do the sex doll myths reveal about ourselves? And why is there such stigma around them compared to other sex toys? This...
Published 02/20/24
Medieval England was not subtle. Take sex work, for example. You knew exactly where to go, because the streets were labelled accordingly. Cokkes Lane, anyone? Not only that, but the areas were sanctioned by a Bishop. Yes, you read that correctly. Ever wondered how sex work was viewed in Medieval times? Were attitudes more progressive then than they are now, even? Kate is joined by friend of the show and co-host of our sister podcast, Gone Medieval, Eleanor Janega, to take us through this...
Published 02/16/24
What do Alexa, Adolf and Karen have in common? They're all names that have plummeted in popularity. The most recent, Karen, is largely due to the meme-powered phenomenon of calling out white privilege by calling someone a 'Karen'. What is the history of calling out privilege in this way? Is this a force for good, or has it become sexist? Today Kate is joined by Senior Lecturer of Language and Linguistics at Leeds Trinity University, Linda Walz, who has researched this social phenomenon in...
Published 02/12/24
What happened when medieval monks were told by the church that they had to be celibate? And how did their wives react? On today's episode, we're joined by Katherine Harvey, historian and author of The Fires of Lust: Sex in the Middle Ages, to take us back to the middle ages and answer the question: what was sex like in medieval times? This episode was edited by Tom Delargy. The producer was Stuart Beckwith. The senior producer was Charlotte Long. Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning...
Published 02/08/24
Joining us today is writer, actor and all-round Charles Dickens superfan Miriam Margolyes. You might be familiar with Dickens' hugely popular stories and characters, but what influence did the women in his life have on them? Having written and starred in the play, Dickens Women, Miriam knows better than most the complicated relationships he had in his life: from his mother who took him out of school to work in a rat-infested blacking factory aged 12, to his wife whom he had a bookcase wall...
Published 02/05/24
What comes to mind when you think of a neanderthal?  Probably a hunched, hairy, grunting version of a man who’s shuffling around his cave some 40,000 years ago. How accurate is this reputation? What were their sex lives like? And how much did they go back to the caves of us Homo sapiens?  Joining us is to explore the life and sex of neanderthals, is Palaeolithic archaeologist and author of Growing Up In The Ice Age, April Nowell. This episode was edited by Tom Delargy. The producer was Stuart...
Published 02/01/24
How sexually depraved were the Romans? Whilst they were a civlised, stoic and innovative bunch, they were also a promiscuous bunch with very questionable morals. Joining us today is friend of the show Emma Southon, author of A History of the Roman Empire in 21 Women. How did the Romans view incest? What fate awaited the Vestal Virgins? And what went on at the debauched festivals of Bacchus? Let's find out. This podcast was edited and produced by Stuart Beckwith. The senior producer was...
Published 01/29/24
How did the Ancient Egyptians differ from us? In many ways they did, but in terms of sexuality, perhaps not so much.  As we’ll find out, they were certainly partial to a filthy poem.  Taking us on a journey back to this ancient world is Egyptologist Sarah Parcak. Amongst other things, she talks us through the Turin Papyrus - possibly the oldest depiction of human sexuality we have.  This episode was edited by Tom Delargy. The producer was Stuart Beckwith. The senior producer was Charlotte...
Published 01/26/24
How did an 18th century working class farm labourer climb the social ladder to become the most beloved poet Scotland has produced? By the time he died aged just 37, he had taken the country by storm with his romantic verse and was welcomed into the bosom of Edinburgh high society gentlemen clubs. Another side of Robert Burns' work was his bawdy work, which celebrates sexuality and barbed satire, much of which wasn't properly published until the 1960s due to censorship laws. Ahead of Burns...
Published 01/22/24
Most people would assume that the Kamasutra is a book of hundreds of fantastical sex positions. They would partly be right, but mostly wrong! Sex is a small part of this ancient text, which includes fascinating insights into 3rd century Indian culture. It also includes some extremely modern-sounding advice on how to dump a boring husband. What happened in the Victorian era that made us think it was a catalogue of sex positions? What are some of the more feminist-leanings it features? And how...
Published 01/19/24
How real to true events is the Outlander series? The Jacobite uprising of the 18th century was led by Bonnie Prince Charlie to reclaim the thrown of Great Britain for the Stuarts. Recruiting Highland clans along the way, they put up a good fight. Anyone who's followed the series will know how brutal it could be, but what really happened? Did Prince Charles really flee the British army dressed as an Irish spinning maid? And were the sex scenes accurate to the time? Today Kate is joined by...
Published 01/16/24
Was he as great in bed as he was at conquering the Persian empire? Whether he even had time for it, is another question. In today's episode, we're revisiting a conversation Kate had with History Hit's Tristan Hughes, host of our sister podcast The Ancients. What did young Alexander learn from his dad's charming ways? Did he take both male and female lovers? Let's go Betwixt the ancient sheets, to find out. This episode was edited by Tom Delargy. The producer was Stuart Beckwith and Sophie...
Published 01/12/24
Have you ever wondered where the &%@! swear words come from? Well today, Kate is going Betwixt the Sheets to find out. Linguist legend Deborah Cameron is back on the podcast to tell us more about the history of some of your favourite curse words. From the f-word and the c-word, to nicknames for nether regions; we're looking at the etymology of these words, and discovering when they were deemed offensive by society. Saxon origins, medieval myths and internet abbreviations - you'll never...
Published 01/09/24
Going back hundreds of thousands of years, bumping uglies had to start somewhere. What was the first sexual position? Was sex even for pleasure at this stage of evolution? On today's episode we're going right the way back to the beginning, and talking to Professor John Long, the palaeontologist and author who discovered the fossils which showed us that copulation was invented by ancient armoured fishes - a lot earlier than scientists previously thought. Get on your scuba gear, Betwixters,...
Published 01/05/24
Perhaps without you realising it, history is marked by iconic body parts. From Frida Khalo’s monobrow, to Queen Victoria's swollen armpit, and let's not forget Napoleon's penis. That one alone has had quite a posthumous life. What amazing stories do they tell us of the people they belonged to? What trends did they spark? And is there any truth to the rumours about Hitler’s ball?  We're joined by friend of the show Suzie Edge, who's the author of Vital Organs, to find out more.  This episode...
Published 01/02/24
Haiti was under French colonial rule in 1791 when the revolution began, resulting in the largest and most successful slave revolt in modern history. It's a compelling story that deserves to be heard, and one with some incredible women at the heart of it. Who were they? How did the island's vodou ceremonies help galvanise the cause? And what is their legacy today? Joining Kate is Marlene Daut, author of Awakening The Ashes: An Intellectual History of the Haitian Revolution, to tell us...
Published 12/29/23
There had been sex manuals for hundreds of years, but by the 20th century they were quite underground. That is, until the Joy of Sex was released in 1972. It was a revolutionary book about sex, and sold over 12 million copies. Who was the man behind it? His name, aptly, was Dr. Alex Comfort, and he was a poet, novelist, anarchist and philosopher, amongst other things. Joining Kate today to explore his work and the impact the Joy of Sex had, is Eric Laursen, author of Polymath: The Life and...
Published 12/26/23
They say he comes once a year... ahem. Santa is back! To a lot of people that's no bad thing at all, and we're not just talking about the present giving - he's got the whole package, when you think about it. In the build up to Christmas, we're exploring why some people are big on Santaphilia - the Santa fetish. What is it about him that lead some to such mischievous thoughts? What's the origins of this guy? Today we're revisiting an episode of Betwixt with NHS Junior Doctor, Psychosexual...
Published 12/22/23
The words "the man, the myth, the legend" can easily apply to King Arthur. Today we're looking past the round table, the sword in the stone, and his magician mate Merlin to explore what his love life can tell us about this man. Did his love Guinevere really do the dirty on him with his mate Lancelot? What does his own love life say about him as a man? Today, dear friend of the show Eleanor Janega, host of sister podcast Gone Medieval and author of The Once And Future Sex, is joining Kate to...
Published 12/19/23
Margaret Cavendish was extraordinary for any time, let alone the 17th century. She was a trailblazer in fiction, writing and publishing what many believe to be the first science fiction book - her 1666 work 'Blazing World' imagined a planet led by an Empress. The story also featured a lesbian affair between the Empress and herself, Margaret Cavendish. Truly, fantastic. She played a provocative and starring role amongst London's elite, and Samuel Pepys was obsessed with meeting her. How did he...
Published 12/15/23
What was it about the Kennedy's that attracted so much tragedy, that many believed them to be cursed? From plane disasters in World War 2, to drug overdoses and of course, assassinations - it has to be said, they had their fair share. Is there something sinister going on, or is this tragedy the by-product of such a go-getter risk-taking attitude? Joining Kate today to explore the so-called Kennedy curse is Barbara Perry, Professor in Presidential Studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller...
Published 12/11/23
Sexuality is a funny thing. It's a social construct just as much as, say, virginity is. We use words like heterosexuality and homosexuality because they are convenient, more than because they're wholly accurate. What roots do these words have in 19th century Germany? How did the word 'straight' come from the gay community? And what is the future of sexuality and its terms? Joining Kate today is the fantastic Hanne Blank, author of Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of...
Published 12/08/23
If the Kennedy's were America's first royal family, then Jackie was its queen. She was a style icon who, alongside her husband and president JFK, symbolised a fresh hopeful start in post-war America. And then on 22nd November 1963, the unimaginable happened. But who was the woman who led the country in its grief? Famously defining that time in America as Camelot. Who was the woman behind the immaculate hair do and pink Chanel suits? What was her life like before the spotlight, and how did she...
Published 12/04/23