Adult Content

MetaCert uses the term "Adult Content" to refer specifically to "Sexually Explicit Content". MetaCert believes that "Adult Content" is a more appropriate term to use when creating labels that children are likely to see.

The concept of ‘sexually explicit content' varies according to one's viewpoint, cultural background, experience and the legal framework in which one operates. Therefore MetaCert does not seek to define content as being sexually explicit for any purpose other than its own.

Sexually explicit content depicts actual, not simulated, sex acts including oral, vaginal and anal penetration. Typical depictions include the visual exposure of the erect penis, or vulva, and surrounding pubic hair, and sexual intercourse in clear view. Such depictions may be shown as filmed live action, cartoons, audio descriptions, textual descriptions or other media. Importantly, sexually explicit content is intended to cause sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction.

It is the perceived intention to elicit sexual arousal rather than the objective facts that determine whether other content, such as nudity and dramatized or implied sexual conduct, is considered sexually explicit. Nudity includes exposed or partially covered genitalia, buttocks, or breasts, as well as sheer clothing. Sites featuring individuals in minimal or revealing clothing may also be considered as sexually explicit if they are intended to elicit a sexual response.

Additional considerations include a combination of:

  • whether breasts, buttocks, or genitals (clothed or unclothed) are the focal point of the site;
  • whether the site setting is sexually suggestive (e.g. a location generally associated with sexual activity, such as a bed);
  • whether the subject is depicted in a pose that is intended to sexually arouse the viewer;
  • whether the subject's actions suggest a willingness to engage in sexual activity (e.g. kissing, provocative dancing, fondling); and
  • if a subject is minimally clothed, whether the clothing would be acceptable in appropriate public contexts (e.g. swimwear vs. underwear).

For videos, "focal point" is determined by factors including the length of time an image appears in the video (fleeting vs. prolonged exposure) especially relative to the overall length of the video, the camera angle and focus, the relative clarity of the images in the video, the lighting, and the video thumbnail (content that appears in a thumbnail is also considered to be its focal point).

Sexual Health

Content that offers information on sexual health in a manner that is devoid of any intention to cause sexual arousal is not considered sexually explicit even if it includes depictions of real sexual acts.


Depictions of lingerie, such as in an online catalog, are not considered sexually explicit. However, if the article of lingerie is overtly designed to elicit sexual arousal, then it may be considered sexually explicit.

Sex toys and Other Sexual Articles

Products such as sex toys and fetish wear that are designed to be used as part of sexual activity are considered sexually explicit even when shown in isolation, such as in a catalog.

Protecting children from adult content

Webpages labeled for Family Safety