When most of us talk about porn today, it's about the taboo – and, often, its relation to violence, feminism, or sex addiction. It hasn't always been this way. Society-level reactions to sexually explicit images have varied widely over the course of history, from considering them humorous to fearing they would make people go insane. "The existence of pornography and the strong emotional reactions people have – either pro or con – tells us something about our culture," says James Beggan, professor of sociology at the University of Louisville. Over time pornography has been revered, reviled, and accepted, and each reaction reveals something about the society that fosters it.
In the late '60s (a time when Playboy was at its cultural height) there started to be some backlash against pornography and other sexually explicit materials. President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed a committee in 1968, called the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, in order to study the relationship between obscene materials and anti-social behavior. By the committee's termination in 1970, they had found insufficient evidence to prove that sexual materials caused delinquent or criminal behavior. At this time, the sexual revolution was in full swing.