Pornography refers to the graphic depiction of human sexuality whose purpose is to sexually arouse. Such depictions have existed throughout recorded history and have crossed all cultural boundaries. However, our current understanding of pornography, at least in the West, is rooted in the Victorian Era (i.e., from 1837 to 1901), when the legal control of sexual images took on the attributes of a political and moral crusade. Prior to that period, it was more common for the law to regulate sexual acts rather than sexual depictions. Defining pornography and determining its legal status is controversial because of the moral and social claims surrounding sexuality, as well as the political importance of freedom of speech.

During the first half of the 20th century, the two extremes of ...

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