Beast with two backs

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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 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):[1]

I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.

The equivalent phrase in French: la bete à deux dos, appears in Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel, circa 1532. This was translated into English by Thomas Urquhart and published posthumously around 1693:[1]

In the vigour of his age he married Gargamelle, daughter to the King of the Parpaillons, a jolly pug, and well-mouthed wench. These two did oftentimes do the two-backed beast together, joyfully rubbing and frotting their bacon 'gainst one another.

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  1. ^ Gary Martin. "Beast with two backs". Phrases.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-12-09.