Perverts, Creepers, and Freaks: A History of Sexual Perversions


Which sexual behaviors qualify as perverted? What kind of person deserves the label “pervert” and its consequential ostracization? Who among us deserves to be locked in a cage for our sexual desires and actions? And, most intriguingly, why have certain sexual behaviors become the object of scrutiny at various points in history, while others have not? 

In this Olio, we will explore the history of sexual perversions, examining how and why particular sexual desires and behaviors were labeled as bad, abnormal, and unnatural at certain periods in Western thought. Why, for example, did Americans become so obsessed with pedophiles in the mid-late twentieth century? When did cross-dressing become associated with sexuality and thus marginalized as a perversion? Which rapists are considered perverted, or criminal, and which are just boys being boys? Is BDSM a healthy expression of desire, or a historically produced pathology? 

Grounded in feminist queer theory and historical analysis, this Olio will cover the history of sexual insiders and outsiders from the colonial era through the twentieth century. By examining just who and what constitutes the category of the pervert, we will learn something new about our assumptions of what we call normal, natural, or even worse, good. 




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue for our Friday night residency.




Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors


Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.


Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month



Other upcoming Olios


Sep 17

Our Pornographic Education

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7:30 p.m. at Crystal Lake

Sign Up - $15

Sep 18

Mediated Intimacy: The Dating App Landscape

Taught by Pani Farvid
7 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Sep 19

* Sold Out * OlioTrip | Cienfuegos, Cuba

Taught by Teresita Levy
10 a.m. at Cienfuegos, Cuba

Sign Up - $

Sep 23

New York, The Neoliberal City

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7:30 p.m. at The Old Stone House

Sign Up - $15

Sep 26

Living Room Salon | 'Dirty Computers', Voice & Visibility

Taught by Kashema Hutchinson
8 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Sep 29

Olio FieldTrip | Skateboarding and Modern Art

Taught by Ted Barrow
1 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $30

Oct 4

Modern Privacy: Reclaiming Our Self Narratives

Taught by Lawrence Cappello
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Oct 15

Olio Seminar | Kafka will Ruin Your Life and Make You Laugh About it

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Strong Rope Brewery

Sign Up - $60

Oct 22

The Fear of Leisure

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7:30 p.m. at Threes Brewing // Greenpoint

Sign Up - $15


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