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


Jan 24

Living Room Salon | Tough Poetry in Dark Times

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Jan 31

The Dangerous Pleasure of Art

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

Feb 1

Feb 2

OlioHouse | Our Stories, Our Bodies: Rape Culture in American History

Taught by Jamie Warren
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Feb 6

Olio Seminar | Space, Time, & Work: Understanding Labor

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $75

Feb 9

OlioHouse | The Love Symposium

Taught by Skye Cleary
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

Feb 15

A Good Friend is Hard to Find: Philosophy and Friendship

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Feb 21

Living Room Salon | Music and Environmentalism

Taught by Kristy Barbacane
7 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Feb 22

The Circular Road: Art and the Religious Imagination

Taught by Michael Prettyman
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Feb 25

What Would Buffy Do? Radical Feminism and the Slayer

Taught by Jamie Warren
7:30 p.m. at Neuehouse Madison Sq.

Sign Up - $20

Feb 28

Into the Mystic: Music & the Moving Image

Taught by Whitney George
7:30 p.m. at Blender Workspace

Sign Up - $20

May 17

Rethinking Refugee Trauma and Mental Health

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 29

Composing Beauty: Mapplethorpe’s Quest for Perfection

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at BAM Fisher

Sign Up - $20


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