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    Women Are Loving That Sex Joke In "Wonder Woman," And Here Are Even More Reasons To Love It

    It's the sex joke about lesbian sex/lady masturbation.

    If you're a woman who saw Wonder Woman, you probably laughed at the best joke in this movie, which is about ~bodily pleasure~.

    Warner Bros

    I will reprint it here for your amusement:

    Wonder Woman: "You refer to reproductive biology? ... Yeah, I know. I know all about that."

    Wonder Woman's male helper Steve: "I refer to that and, you know, other things."

    WW: "The pleasures of the flesh."

    Steve: "Do you...know about that?"

    WW: "I've read all 12 volumes of Clio's treatises on bodily pleasure."

    Steve: "All 12, huh? Did you you bring any of those with you?"

    WW: "You would not enjoy them. ... They came to the conclusion that men are essential for procreation but when it comes to pleasure, unnecessary."

    The crux: Men are essential for procreation but when it comes to pleasure, unnecessary!

    Warner Bros

    I laughed! But alas, I have a curious heart, and sitting in a theater in Los Angeles, I couldn't laugh without asking myself: Who is Clio, and where are these volumes? Thus began my investigation.

    Discovery 1: Clio is not real.

    Warner Bros

    I was ready to order all 12 volumes on Amazon, but they do not exist.

    Discovery 2: Clio is supposed to be an ancient writer, presumably an Amazon scholar.

    Thanks, Wikia entry on the Amazon scribe named Clio!

    Discovery 3: Clio's findings are totally at odds with what an ancient writer would have thought.

    Clay Enos / Warner Bros

    "The modern view of Amazons as lesbians is just that" — a modern invention, wrote Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz, a professor of comparative literature at Hamilton College who, despite being a serious academic, humored me.

    Rebecca Flemming, a senior lecturer in classics at the University of Cambridge, told me: "The surviving texts, medical and otherwise, were written overwhelmingly by men, and are not much concerned with female sexuality except insofar as it serves male interests." And University of Texas, Austin, professor Lesley Dean-Jones wrote in "The Politics of Pleasure" that one respected strain of ancient Greek medical thought allowed a husband to have sex with his wife whenever he wanted "for her own good," because a womb needed to be weighted down with either semen or a fetus so it wouldn't drift around her body wreaking havoc.

    Thus, the idea that men are superfluous to women's sexuality "is a reversal of the opinion generally expressed" in antiquity, said UCLA classics professor Amy Richlin, who described her research area as "the raunchiest kinds of ancient literature." "The only renditions of chick-on-chick sex that I know of in antiquity, they seem to imagine ... one of them has to be 'the man,'" i.e., one of them has "a strap-on," as she put it. (Rabinowitz mentioned dildos.)

    Furthermore, female masturbation "is very, very rarely mentioned," Richlin said, while male masturbation is frequently mentioned. "Among the people who wrote these texts, there’s just a massive disinterest in what gave women pleasure."

    But Richlin talked about Flemming's research into vulva votives — some of which depict the clitoris! A votive in the shape of a body part would be offered to heal that body part, so a votive with a clit "attests to some level of loyalty to the clitoris as a body part among actual women who could afford a votive offering."

    But wait! It's not all super sad news for the wives of ancient medical scholars.

    Flemming said medical writers were "aware of the possibility of female erotic pleasure without men, through either masturbation or sex with another woman." A famous physician writing in Greek around 100 CE "lists a rich vocabulary for the clitoris, for example, in his work on anatomical terminology (On Naming the Parts of the Human Being): …The fleshy muscle in the middle is the ‘rosebud/bride’ ... Some name it the ‘hypodermis’, others the ‘kleitoris’, and say that lascivious touching of this part is ‘to clitorize’ (kleitorizein)…"

    There you have it: Clio's 12 volumes of treatises that lead to a very correct conclusion are made up. But if they were a real part of antiquity, they might talk about floating wombs, so I am cool with it the lesbian way. Happy clitorizing, everyone.

    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

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