The two most extreme positions are those who believe that feminism and BDSM are mutually exclusive beliefs, and those who believe that BDSM practices are an expression of sexual freedom. In , a leaflet was produced by the "Coalition for a Feminist Sexuality and Against Sadomasochism", an ad-hoc coalition put together by Women Against Pornography to protest the Barnard Conference.
Rape culture has been used to model behaviour within social groups, including prison systems where prison rape is common and conflict areas where war rape is used as psychological warfare. Stoltenberg wrote that sadomasochism eroticizes both violence and powerlessness. As with many issues within the feminist movement, there exists a diversity of opinions regarding prostitution.
The two sides included anti-pornography feminists and sex-positive feminists. In Friedan referred to growing lesbian visibility as a "lavender menace" and fired openly lesbian newsletter editor Rita Mae Brown , and in she engineered the expulsion of lesbians, including Ivy Bottini , from NOW's New York chapter. Unlike those feminists critical of prostitution, pro-sex work perspectives do not concede that prostitution sexual acts have an inherent element of coercion, exploitation, and domination.