The three matrons stumbled out of the Georgia Avenue porno shop, temporarily blinded by the bright Saturday sunshine. They were almost gasping for breath at the end of their brief fact-finding tour. Their conclusions:

"Yeech!" said Betsy Taylor, a neighborhood activist.

"I feel like I should go home and take a bath," said Rose Crenca, Montgomery County Council member from Silver Spring.

Lisa Craft, of the Silver Spring Citizens' Association, just nodded and shuddered, "Oooph!"

The women had toured Silver Spring's two porno shops, at 8231 Georgia Ave. and 952 Sligo Ave., at the request fo PORN (People Organized for Reputable Neighborhoods), which has been lobbying for a bill to place restrictions on live sex shows in Montgomery County. The County presently imposes no restraints on the sale, location or scope of pornographic shows or materials except for enforcement of state antiprostitution statutes -- a fact that so alarmed members of civic groups united under PORN that they asked each member of the County Council to visit the shops and see "exactly what we're faced with," said Craft.

To the disappointment of the small group, however, the only taker was Crenca, who in January introduced a bill to outlaw obscene live performances. cThat bill has since been tabled by the council, though Crenca still hopes to bring it back for reconsideration.

The redoubtable three carried on. They looked at magazine covers, peep shows and paraphernalia, trying to understand the mind of the enemy, to scout out the fuzzy-cheeked minors who residents of the neighborhood say are ignoring the "You Must Be 18" sign on the door and -- well, to see just what the big deal was.

"I was a biology major and I never saw anything like that in any biology textbook of mine," said Crenca, admitting, "this was my first time" in a porno shop. Not so with Betsy Taylor, who had previously inspected a rival store on East West Highway.

They started at the Sligo Avenue shop, which posts at its entrance a large, handlettered sign: The customer agrees that the material selected by him or her and purchased . . . is selected and purchased in scientific, EDUCATIONAL, GOVERNMENTAL, OR OTHER SIMILAR JUSTIFICATION.

"What do you think that means?" asked Crenca, "You think this stuff is for medical students?"

Inside was a large room filled with magazine racks, and in the rear they found about a dozen booths where 25-cent peep movies are shown. The women rifled through magazines under the wary eye of the handful of customers, all of whom were men dressed in denims or trenchcoats. The manager watched nervously but said nothing. One man spied the group, clutched a book close to his chest, placed it face down on the counter and hurried out.

On to Georgia Avenue. The glass facade of the Suburban News store is opaqued a sickly yellow and brown, covered with wire and emblazoned with a sign: You Must be 18, and Have Proper ID." The entrance, however, is a long hallway lined with about a dozen peep-show booths. There is a faint odor of disinfectant and no room for anyone to stand or sit comfortably to check identification. The only employe stood far in the back of the store, supervising purchases of magazines and sexual aids.

Several very young-looking boys, perhaps of junior high school age, darted out of the store as the women entered. The other customers, all men of various races and ages, began to giggle when they saw the women. Some of them ducked inside the booths.

"I have to admit," whispered Crenca, "that I broke down and put a quarter in one of those movies. It was no big deal; it's the same as the magazine covers."

The magazines were at the rear, behind a small theater-in-the-round that is chained shut -- until further notice, the sign says. The theater is designed for live acts. A customer pays several quarters for a few minutes of viewing time. The "one-on-one" booths, which have two doors and a partition, were also closed. "Where are the girls?" asked Crenca, looking around. "I asked the guy, I made like this was what I wanted to see, you know?"

The manager, in very broken English, told them the women were gone, at least temporarily, but would not say why. Montgomery County police said when undercover detectives last visited the store, on March 9, they found the live shows and booths had been closed.

The women walked determinedly to the rear of the store. There were gasps. Large -- nay -- gargantuan, anatomically correct vibrators decorated almost the entire length of the counter. Taylor and Craft stared at the floor but Crenca strode briskly to the racks and flipped through the magazines, which had titles such as Obedience, Slave and Bondage and featured photos of women restrained by shackles, dog collars and ropes. Others showed freckle-faced, girlish models with pigtails and braids, in various postures. Price tags said $5 and up.

"Look at that," muttered Taylor, "Did you see that?" She pointed at the photos but would not touch one.

A photographer peered intently at a cabinet displaying lotions, vibrators and rubber things, then pressed a button on the counter. The shaft of a pink-colored object began to wriggle vigorously from side to side before the photographer quickly withdrew her hand.

"Let's get out of here," said Taylor.

Later, they repaired to Gifford's for self-congratulatory ice cream sundaes, and to explain why they made the tour.

"We felt it was terribly important that (council members) know what they were going to legislate about," said Craft, who has two young children. "I think it's to her credit that Mrs. Crenca is the only one who dared come."

"I was impressed with the sleaziness of it," said Crenca, "Boy, that place made Playboy like looking at an art gallery."

The women said they worried most about neighborhood children having unrestricted access to that kind of sex education. They feared it would give children unhealthful attitudes toward sex and women. They said the visit had strengthened their resolve to push harder for Crenca's bill, which they hoped would serve as the beginning of legislative efforts to deter similar businesses from moving into Silver Spring.

What about the loss of tax revenue?

I'd rather have the taxes from a store of imported teas," said Crenca, "Or a real bookstore."

"A Brentano's," the others suggested.

Sighs all around.