🎧 Betwixt the Sheets

🎧 Betwixt the Sheets

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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.

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🎧 Betwixt the Sheets
  • 🎧 Hate Mail: A Scandalous History

    From tip-off letters about the gun powder plot to village quarrels that lead to jail time - today we’re going Betwixt the Sheets to find out about the history of hate mail. 

    Joining Kate is Dr. Emily Cockayne, author of Penning Poison and consultant on the forthcoming film Wicked Little Letters,...

  • 🎧 Victorian London's Hidden Porn Trade

    Holywell Street, just off London's Fleet Street, was the hidden epicentre of Victorian pornography.

    The Daily Telegraph described it as "the vilest street in the civilised world," so naturally, we wanted to know all of the smutty details.

    Joining Kate to take us into this hidden world is Dr....

  • 🎧 Cleopatra to Jane Austen: Perfumes of Powerful Women

    Why did Cleopatra soak the sails of her ship in jasmine? How did Queen Elizabeth smell? And why was perfume an essential tool of power for women across history? 

    Whilst it’s hard to research the history of something that leaves no physical trace, we actually know a great deal about how some of t...

  • 🎧 Beastiality

    When sex between two humans can be many things, how do we define beastiality - that is, sex between a human and a non-human? 

    Especially when the farming industry relies on certain sex acts on animals - or ‘animal husbandry’ to use the correct term - to function. 

    These are an uncomfortable but...

  • 🎧 Self Sacrifice in Ancient India

    Today we’re looking into self sacrifice in ancient India. Why did people do it? How did people think about death and the afterlife? Who were the gods people would sacrifice themselves for? And why would a widow sacrifice herself by sitting on top of her dead husband's funeral pyre?

    Kate is Betw...

  • Re-Run: History of Sex for Sale

    Many people claim sex work to be the oldest profession, but we can likely put that down to being midwifery or medical professionals of some sort.

    However, since money has changed hands, it has also done so for sex.

    In today's episode of Betwixt the Sheets we're going back to a conversation I ...

  • 🎧 How Fear Shaped History

    What scares you? Some of humankind’s most common fears and phobias include fear of heights, flying, spiders, snakes, injections, germs, public speaking and….death.

    When you think about it…fear, and the panic it produces ,has long been driving forces — perhaps the driving force — of world history...

  • 🎧 Gay Identity in Nazi Germany

    Berlin in the early 1930s was a place of incredible liberation for its queer community. 

    There were over 100 gay clubs, and Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science - the first sexology research centre in the world - developed pioneering gender assignment surgery. 

    Sadly, with the Nazis...

  • 🎧 Superstitions: Witch Marks, Touching Wood & Lucky Pants

    Many of them pre-date modern religions and defy what science tells us about the world - from saluting magpies, to wearing lucky pants. Yet why do superstitions still have such a strong hold on our lives?

    Today we’re joined by Sally Coulthard, author of Superstition - the History of Common Folk B...

  • 🎧 Polyamory: From Mormons to 60s Counterculture

    The polyamory movement has a long and interesting history. It takes in Pilgrims meeting Native American Indians, Mormons having their take on it, and a modern version born from 60s counterculture and the civil rights movement.

    But what beliefs underpin this lifestyle choice? And who are the figu...

  • 🎧 History of Kissing: Why do we lock lips?

    A good old smooch. It’s something that we do on a daily basis in one form or another (if we’re lucky), and yet have you ever stopped and wondered why we do it? 

    Wonder no more. 

    On today’s Betwixt the Sheets we’re joined by Emmy award-winning scientist and author of The Science of Kissing, Sher...

  • 🎧 History of Make-Up

    Most of us present ourselves with some form of cosmetic, so it’s strange that historically there’s been so much judgement around the use of it.

    It’s something that’s been there from the Ancient world to the present day, and speaks to so much of the human experience.

    Today we’re joined by Susan ...

  • 🎧 Eleanor Aquitaine: The Life of a Medieval Badass

    You would think that the most powerful woman in medieval Europe, who was queen several times and commanded armies, would need no introduction…yet here we are.

    On today’s show we’re joined by author and new co-host of the History Hit podcast Gone Medieval, Eleanor Janega, to bust some myths and l...

  • 🎧 Lube: A Slippery History

    From the seaweed-strewn shores of Ancient China to the American army camps in the Middle East, lube has been on a long and slippery journey. 

    Wherever it’s been derived from, the history and importance of this substance is as fascinating as its ingredients. 

    What does its marketing tell us abou...

  • 🎧 Victorian Abortion & Birth Control

    We’re connected to the past in more ways than you might think. 

    For example, the 1861 Offences against the person Act is an abortion law that is still largely in place today. What does this Victorian law dictate? How does it still effect our lives today? And who were the brave pioneers who chall...

  • 🎧 Barbie: Feminist Icon?

    Barbie is many things: an astronaut, a robotics engineers, a judge, and now a movie star! But can she be considered a feminist icon?

    For a toy with such incredible appeal around the world, especially to young children, it’s an important question to ask.

    Today we’re joined by Lenore Wright, au...

  • 🎧 Scottish Kings' Sex Lives

    One thing royal families strive for is the common touch. Whilst some have struggled with it, King James IV and V in the 15th and 16th centuries excelled in it. 

    It could be said, however, they took the term ‘common touch’ too literally, as it wasn’t uncommon for them to have sexual liaisons with...

  • 🎧 Althea Gibson: The Wimbledon Champion Who Beat The Odds

    The world of tennis in the 1940s wasn't made for someone of Althea Gibson's background.

    She was the descendent of slaves, and grew up in South Carolina with the nearest tennis courts available to an African American at that time being hundreds of miles away.

    How did Althea Gibson go on to bec...

  • 🎧 Mozart's Sex Life

    When we think of the biggest pop icons of all time, we might reach for Madonna, Elvis, or yes, even Michael Jackson. 

    One name that’s not thrown into the pot is Mozart. But why? His music was undoubtedly the pop music of his day, and as we’ll find out today, he had all the stardom and groupies o...

  • 🎧 Victorian Baby Farming Killer: Amelia Dyer

    In Victorian Britain, there was no formalised state adoption. Instead, desperate mothers paid other families to take their newborns. This tragic system was known as baby farming.

    As we’ll find out in today’s episode, Amelia Dyer was a notorious serial killer who saw this as a money-making opport...

  • 🎧 History of Breastfeeding

    How has our relationship with breast milk changed through history? Why are there associations of shame with this most natural act, of us consuming humanities first food? And what does the formation of our galaxy have to do with it?

    Joining Kate today is Joanna Wolfarth, art historian and author ...

  • 🎧 April Ashley: Paris Showgirl, Vogue Model & Trans Trailblazer

    As the UK’s second person to go through gender reassignment surgery, April Ashley was a trans trailblazer, breaking new ground fearlessly and with humour and grace.

    She wowed the crowds of Le Carrousel as a showgirl in 1950s Paris, graced the pages of Vogue and, when accepting her MBE for servic...

  • 🎧 Women Warriors: From Boudicca to Ukrainian Snipers

    From Boudicca to Ukrainian snipers, battlefields have always contained a surprising number of women.

    Today Kate is joined Betwixt the Sheets by Sarah Percy to get to the bottom of why women were allowed to be astronauts a full thirty years before they were allowed to fight in combat.

    From women...

  • 🎧 Stonewall Uprising: Liberation & Mafia Exploitation

    In 1969 America, it was illegal to be gay in 49 out of 50 states. You could be fired from your job and evicted by your landlord if you were found out to be gay.

    Whilst protests from the gay community and its allies had happened before there, anger against this oppression was reaching boiling po...