Don’t trust Alexa Crazy Fact: the name “Wendy” wasn’t invented for Peter Pan (and pig orgasms don’t quite last as long as all that)

One of the skills of Amazon’s Alexa is Crazy Fact. This skills allows Alexa to pop up with a fact which is a little unusual or offbeat. From this, I learnt that in space, no-one can hear you snore.

Recently Crazy Fact informed me that the name “Wendy” was invented by J M Barrie for Peter Pan and didn’t exist before this.

It sounded dubious, and a few seconds of web searching revealed that it is not true:

But we have absolute proof that there were earlier Wendys, thanks to the just-released 1880 U.S. Census and the 1881 British Census (available here). These documents show that the name Wendy, while not common, was indeed used in both the U.S. and Great Britain throughout the 1800s. I had no trouble finding twenty females with the first name Wendy in the United States, the earliest being Wendy Gram of Ohio (born in 1828). If you include such spelling variations as Windy, Wendi, Wenda, and Wandy the number triples.

So there you go. Crazy Fact also claims that pigs’ orgasms last 30 minutes.

This is largely not true, so to speak:


There is one final rumour that has to be addressed: the oft-repeated “fact” that male pigs can orgasm for 30 minutes.

According to observations of males with real sows, copulation duration is typically 4-5 minutes, but can last up to 20 minutes

The first thing to say is that we don’t know what sensations the males – or the females for that matter – experience when they mate, so any talk of orgasms is speculative.

But based on the ubiquitous “gloved hand” method used to coax sperm from male pigs, ejaculation does appear to last a very long time. In a 2012 study of “high performance boars”, the average duration of ejaculation was around 6 minutes. But there was considerable variation, with one male apparently yielding semen continuously for 31 minutes.

It is difficult to know whether this kind of protracted ejaculation can occur in the absence of the “gloved hand”, but it is certainly a possibility. According to observations of males with real sows, copulation duration is typically 4-5 minutes, but can last up to 20 minutes.

Whatever the truth about orgasms, an online primer on how to artificially inseminate pigs warns practitioners not to interrupt the male before he’s done, unless they want a very angry pig on their hands. “If you let loose too soon, be prepared for a challenge.”

I’ll say.

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