🎧 Betwixt the Sheets

🎧 Betwixt the Sheets

Why did kings and queens have spectators on their wedding night? Who had the very first boob job? And did our ancestors have their unmentionables pierced?

Join historian, Kate Lister, Betwixt the Sheets as she unashamedly roots around the topics which seem to have been skipped in history class.

Everything from landmark LGBTQ+ court cases, to political scandal, to downright bizarre medieval cures for impotence. The etymology of swear words, gender bias in medicine, and satanic panic and cults - there’s nothing off limits.

She'll be bed-hopping around different time periods; from ancient civilisations, to the middle ages, to renaissance and early modern...right up to now.

You’ll laugh, you’ll wince, and you’ll ask yourself how much has actually changed.

So join Kate Betwixt the Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society - a podcast from History Hit.

Subscribe Share
🎧 Betwixt the Sheets
  • 🎧 The First Queer Activist

    On 29 August 1867, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs stood in front of the Congress of German Jurists in Munich and urged them not to extend sodomy laws across the soon to be unified Germany.

    He was booed off stage, but this stands as the earliest public queer protest in history. Similarly, his definition o...

  • 🎧Beer

    Pint, bottle, schooner, tinny … no matter how you drink it, beer is undeniably a part of social life here in Britain and around the world.

    But how did it come to hold this position? Why has this been more true for British men than for British women? And what did beer taste like before mass produ...

  • 🎧 The Museum of Sex

    We’re used to exhibits in museums detailing our ancestors’ home lives and work lives, but what about their sex lives?

    On a sunny day in London, Kate met Deborah Sim, the Keeper of the Museum of Sex Objects, who brought along a collection of objects that represent just that.

    From a china figurin...

  • 🎧 Fanny and Stella: The Men Who Shocked Victorian Society

    In 1870, two young women were arrested after leaving a theatre in London. These women, so-called Fanny and Stella, were in fact Ernest Boulton and Frederick Park, and they were charged with β€˜buggery’.

    So who were Boulton and Park? What was the evidence against them? And why did this create such ...

  • 🎧 Poppers

    *WARNING There are adult themes and explicit descriptions of drug use in this episode. All drugs come with their own risks and legal implications. For more information please see the links below*

    Angina treatments, room aromas and leather cleaners: amyl nitrite has had a wide range of reported u...

  • 🎧 The Femme Fatale & The French President

    This is the story of Marguerite Steinheil, the woman who shook Paris at the turn of the 20th century with one scandal after the next…one of which involving the French president apparently dying in the midst of a sex act.

    Marguerite is an ambitious woman, but being born into a middle-class family...

  • 🎧 BDSM

    BDSM...It was around before Christian Grey you know.

    As long humans have existed, there have been kinky humans in the bedroom, enjoying erotic play featuring whips, corporal punishment, humiliation and more.

    Kate is joined Betwixt the Sheets by three special guests - a sadomasochistic historian...

  • 🎧 Sarah Baartman: A Life On Show

    Who was Sarah Baartman? Why was she paraded across Europe as part of a 'freak' show? And why did it take until 2002 for her remains to be repatriated to her birthplace of South Africa?

    Born around 1789, Sarah, who was derisively named as the 'Hottentot Venus', was publicly examined and exposed i...

  • 🎧 Feminine Power: Divine to Demonic

    From goddesses to demons, witches to saints, women have held power of many shapes and sizes throughout history and around the world. Whether they were bringers of chaos, salvation, desire or justice, this year these women are being given the spotlight.
    On this Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth ...

  • 🎧 Corsets

    Have you ever been told you’re bringing women’s rights back one-hundred years because of what you’re wearing?

    The guest on Betwixt the Sheets today has. And it was a corset.

    Dr Alanna McKnight has dedicated her career to researching the social and cultural history of corsets, and to challenging...

  • 🎧 Death, Dissection & Grave Robbing

    Genital warts fashioned into necklaces, teeth harvested from the battlefield and blood vessels fashioned from wax: these are the things that you might find inside Edinburgh’s Surgeons’ Hall Museums.

    But who did they belong to? Kate is talking to Thomas Elliot, head of learning and interpretation...

  • 🎧 Vasectomy

    What do you think of when you think of birth control? Is it condoms, IUDs, the pill? What about vasectomies?

    From monkey testicles to possible cancer treatments to ties of honour, over the past 150 years β€˜the snip’ has had a few variations and uses … not all of them scientifically sound. But wha...

  • 🎧 Medicine & Misogyny

    Using leeches to suck the blood from patients, mercury pills, and removing limbs with NO anaesthetic - healthcare throughout history hasn’t been the most…appealing.
    But have you ever thought about the difference in how men and women were treated?
    From witch trials to hysteria to wandering wombs, ...

  • 🎧 Royal Sex

    Why did kings and queens have spectators on their wedding night? Was sex always just for the love of their country and the want of an heir, or were some of them into different kinks?

    And what about outside marriage? From an official mistress who does not have sex with the king, to one who put la...

  • 🎧 Sex Toys

    Hidden in bedside tables or proudly displayed on mantelpieces, wherever you keep them (if you do), sex toys have come a long way since the first phallic-shaped object was found around 30,000 years ago.

    But before they were arriving through our post boxes in unmarked, tracked packages, what did s...

  • 🎧 Bedlam

    Bedlam: a scene of uproar and confusion, a noisy situation with no order or, originally, the slang name for a mental hospital in London… which also happened to be a popular tourist attraction.

    From chains on the wall to leeching - the history of mental health treatments is a lesson in questionab...

  • 🎧 Tudor Sex

    *WARNING: This episode includes adult themes and explicit words.*

    Why did Henry VIII want everyone to know about his wet dreams? What animal product were condoms made from? And was coffee really ruining the sex lives of wives?

    Suzannah Lipscomb from our sister podcast, Not Just the Tudors, join...

  • 🎧 Psychiatric Drugs

    *WARNING this episode includes adult themes and conversations about mental health and drug use.*

    In 2020, the UK government revealed that 17% of the adult population of Britain were prescribed medication for their mental health. But when were these drugs invented? How were they tested? And how h...

  • 🎧 Shoes

    Humans have been protecting their feet for a very long time.

    But over the years the types of footwear we choose have developed and multiplied. Each new shoe has a new use, and often a new social meaning.

    So what is the history of shoes? To find out about the masculine beginnings of heels, the r...

  • 🎧 Boob Jobs

    Who had the very first boob job? Why were women injecting liquid paraffin into their chests? And, how has the procedure developed over time?

    Kate is joined Betwixt the Sheets by Professor Ruth Holliday and cosmetic surgeon Professor Vikram Devaraj to find out the bumpy history of breast augmenta...

  • 🎧 Victoria: A Greedy Queen

    Warning: There are adult themes, explicit language and talk about disordered eating and diets in this episode.

    Did you know that before Queen Victoria married Albert she was a well-known party-animal, who could easily stay up until 5am, drunk on a concoction of red wine and whiskey?

    Or that she...

  • 🎧 Voodoo

    Warning: This episode includes strong language and some adult themes.

    What comes to mind when you see the word voodoo? Most people tend to think of horror movies, zombies, dolls and witchcraft - but voodoo is a hugely misunderstood religion and spiritual practice.

    Kate is joined by two experts ...

  • 🎧 Medieval Sex

    *WARNING this episode includes explicit language and adult themes*

    What were your medieval ancestors getting up to in the bedroom? Join sex historian Kate Lister, Betwixt the Sheets, to find out.

    Medievalist and George Michael super-fan Dr Eleanor Janega is on the podcast to chat all things aph...