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Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission has defined sexually explicit content in connection with virtual worlds as

[d]epictions or descriptions of: (1) sexual references; (2) full or partial nudity, including depictions of uncovered female breasts, aroused or unaroused male or female genitalia, and unrealistic or overly detailed genitalia; (3) bestiality; (4) sexual acts to or with minors (anyone under the age of 18); (5) sexual acts including, but not limited to, penetration/intercourse, and/or oral sex with or without another avatar or any other object, including overt sexual toys and/or sexual aids; or (6) sexual behavior that has a violent context."[1]


Sexually explicit material (video, photography, creative writing) presents sexual content without deliberately obscuring or censoring it. The term "sexually explicit" is often used as euphemism for pornography. It includes unsimulated sex acts, sexual intercourse and uncovered genitalia.


The term is not very specific, and what is or is not sexually explicit varies from culture to culture. Visual exposure of female breasts are considered mildly explicit, display of genitalia is widely considered sexually explicit, and unobscured sexual intercourse universally so. Some also consider certain language or writing (authentic reports or fiction) to be sexually explicit.

Sexually explicit material usually have age ratings on them to ensure that unsuitable viewers are not exposed to them.

While some observers often label all sexually explicit material as pornography, this is not generally accepted, as it does not examine the intent behind the material. For example, sexual intercourse may be shown to illustrate principles of safe sex and as such be a component of sex education, or in a film it may be part of a complex story and be viewed to contribute to overall plot development. An explicit rape scene may in fact have the purpose of negative conditioning.


See also

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