The religious conservative opposition to pornography is based on a belief that people have an inherent human desire to sin and that pornography reinforces that tendency and so undermines the family, traditional authority, and the moral fabric of society (R. J. Berger et al., 1991). Unless strong social standards are kept, people will indulge themselves in individual fulfillment and pleasure, promoting material rather than spiri­tual or moral values (Downs, 1989). Users of pornography become desensitized to shock­ing sexual behaviors, and pornography teaches them to see sex as simple physical plea­sure rather than a part of a loving, committed relationship. This leads to increased teen pregnancy rates, degradation of females, and rape; in this, at least, the religious conser­vative antipornography school agrees with the antiporn feminists.

Nowhere has the issue of pornography been as divisive as among feminist scholars, splitting them into two general schools. The antipornography feminists see pornography as an assault on women that silences them, renders them powerless, reinforces male dom­inance, and indirectly encourages sexual and physical abuse against women. The other side, which includes groups such as the Feminist Anticensorship Taskforce (FACT), ar­gues that censorship of sexual materials will eventually (if not immediately) be used to censor such things as feminist writing and gay erotica and would therefore endanger women’s rights and freedoms of expression (Cowan, 1992). Some who argue against the antipornography feminists call themselves the “anti-antiporn” contingent, but for sim­plicity’s sake we will refer to them simply as the “anticensorship” group.