The Hebrew Bible’s penchant for euphemism can lead to surprising reinterpretations of familiar passages. Everyone knows that Eve was created from Adam’s rib, right? But ribs aren’t mentioned anywhere in the Hebrew—that is a translation made by the Septuagint, the early Greek version of the Hebrew Bible. The word actually used is side (tsela), and, as we’ve seen, side can be used as a euphemism for the genitals (Gen. 2:20-23). Scholar Ziony Zevit takes this euphemism and runs with it, arguing that in the Genesis narrative Eve is actually made from Adam’s penis, in particular from his penis bone. Most mammals have a baculum, a bone in their penis, which helps with erections. Only humans, spider monkeys, whales, horses, and a few other species lack it, achieving erections through blood pressure alone. Zevit thinks that the ancient Israelites would have been quite knowledgeable about comparative anatomy, given that they probably encountered lots of skeletons—of animals in fields, and of humans in caves where bodies were entombed. They would have known that men and women have the same number of ribs, another mark against the rib theory, and would have seen that the bone men were in fact missing was the baculum. It makes a certain kind of sense, then, to have God create Eve from Adam’s baculum. This explains the bone’s disappearance in humans and gives new richness to Adams famous welcome of Eve: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”—flesh, of course, being one more euphemism for the penis.
—from Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing