Why Label Adult Content?

#Why Label Adult Stuff?

# landmineNothing kills the mood more than a kink you’re not into… and I definitely have a few. It would be pretty naive for me to assume everyone here shares my exact tastes. Even my favorite artists have a few quirks I’m not into. So it’s better to tell you what’s in my stories ahead of time. If I label things, you’ll have a better chance of finding something you enjoy without stumbling over some kink landmine you weren’t expecting. 

# A label is not just a warning, it’s a promise. It helps people find what they want, and avoid what they don’t. But it only works if it’s accurate.


# With movies, the genre is obvious from the plot synopsis. But with porn the plot doesn’t tell you anything useful. You need to know what’s in the porn, not what it’s about. You need to know the characters and fetishes.

# I ran into this problem in the early 2000’s when I tried to buy hentai VCR tapes during my college years. They weren’t cheap, and they often had fetishes I was not into. So I usually regretted most of my purchases. The problem wasn’t about me not liking adult content. I just couldn’t find what I wanted, and the descriptions on the back of the boxes just weren’t telling me what I wanted to know. It’s a failure of design. And solving this design puzzle became a minor obsession for me.

# But solutions existed in some unlikely places. “Booru” websites and Fanfiction.


# Danbooru and websites like it crowd-source the task of applying keywords to their pictures. They take the blunt yet effective approach of simply applying every keyword that might possibly apply to something in the hopes that accurate searching starts to become possible.

# Adult fanfiction takes a much more elegant approach of preceding each story with pairings. These just list the characters that fuck each other, or at least their genders. Like this:

# Spock/Kirk, or F/f or Woman/girl

# What’s brilliant about this “slash fiction” approach is that it very quickly tells you most of what you want to know by leaving out all the stuff you don’t care about. If you’re familiar with the characters, then just seeing their names tells you the age and gender of the pairing. Or you can just state those things directly if you’re writing an original story. Either way you get a ton of information in a very small space.


#How I Label Sexual Projects

# When I designed my website, I used a similar “slash fiction” approach to label my adult content. But I use icons instead of text.


# These icons are basically a visual version of “slash” gender pairings like M/F. But instead of “M” for man and “m” for boy. I use the familiar symbols like you see on road signs and bathroom doors.


# But there’s no such thing as “universally recognized” symbols. Icons always need to have labels. So when you tap on my icons or hover with your mouse, you will see a “tooltip” label. The icons are also color-coded so most people can recognize the pairings at a glance. Blue for male people, pink for female people, and green for… critters. Red-Green-Blue are also equally complimentary colors that contrast against each other, making recognition even faster. These pairing icons tell you most of what you want to know.

# But not everything. Who are the characters? And what else are they doing besides being lesbians to each other? What are the fetishes? These things are important in porn. I try to show these things with the thumbnail pictures. It’s not perfect. The thumbnails probably show too much. You’ll see kinks you might not want.

#How I Label NSFW Posts

# mastodon-post-with-content-warningWhen I post my projects on social media like Mastodon, I need to label things differently, because content warnings are not just used for sexual stuff. A person scrolling down a social media feed needs more information. NSFW could refer to any number of other things. It could be something violent, heart-wrenching, polarizing, or just tiresome internet drama. So first I need to point out that my post is sexual content. Then point out any major kinks involved. And then the genders portrayed. 

# To save space, I can use common phrases or grammar to combine a lot of this information together. For example the two words “Lesbian Sex” indicate “sexual content”, “lesbian kink”, and “female gender” all at the same time.

# When people are reading social media, they’re expecting to see things described in plain English, not abbreviated slash-pairings. And while I can use a few common emoji to indicate general things like “sex” and “furry”, I don’t have precise control over the symbols and colors so I can’t use my website’s custom pairing icons.


# But that doesn’t mean I’m doomed to write all these descriptions by hand. Since all of my projects have keywords, I can usually use them to generate the descriptions . And they tend to be accurate about 80% of the time!


# But… when is this not accurate? In stories portraying multiple situations. Keywords alone don’t tell you how things are being used together. They’re better at describing a single moment such as a picture. The automatic descriptions are based on the keywords so they cannot be any more accurate than the keywords themselves.

mastodon-post-with-custom-content-warningThis story includes a dragon and straight-shota, but that doesn't mean the boy is getting it on with the dragon


# When it comes to searching, I use the “booru” approach. Except that instead of only displaying the keywords in teeny tiny text after you find a picture… I show you all the words you can use before you search, in big touch-friendly buttons. In other words… here’s a short list of characters. Tap the ones you want.


# This approach might not be possible on archives that try to include every hentai ever made. But one artist’s website can keep the list usefully short. I only have a handful of interests because I’m only one person.


#Why Have a Disclaimer?

I didn’t sign up for this.

# Maybe someone came here looking for RPG Maker stuff and unexpectedly finds porn instead? That would be pretty annoying, especially in a public place. Better to spell it out up-front.

# And then there’s the question if whether a disclaimer is required by law. This isn’t about whether a law is right or wrong. It’s about what problem that law is trying to solve. Laws don’t explain why they’re made, so I have to speculate here. Maybe someone stumbled across an adult page by accident? Did a young kid get confused by some porn they saw? How could I usefully address these problems? Telling someone under 18 to “Get off mah lawn!” isn’t useful advice and it’s not going to change their mind. Instead, why not just state the obvious?

  • This page has adult content
  • Don’t do this stuff, because it’s unrealistically reckless.

# It’s really not that hard. Just be helpful.

# I remember when I was a kid the most frustrating thing was when people would refuse to explain the reasons for their restrictions. So why is porn unrealistically reckless? The same reason why most fiction is. It’s just more entertaining that way. Even if I’m wrong or you disagree, any explanation is still better than saying nothing.

Why? Because it’s so much fun!