|See also:||Rating, Explicit, Age Statement Required, Porn|
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"Adult" was once commonly used to describe all fan fiction and zines that were not labeled gen; in practice, it usually included sexually explicit het and all slash. Another rating used at the time with the same meaning was Age Statement Required.
"Adult" is now more commonly used as an equivalent to the R or NC-17 ratings, or by authors who choose not to give specific ratings to their stories to warn for sexual or potentially disturbing content or mature themes. In zine fandom, zines labeled "adult" usually require an age statement to purchase.
Also see Sexually-Explicit Fanworks.
Some Fan Opinion
1969From the editor's comments in the fourth issue of Spockanalia:
THAT DIRTY ARTICLE ON PAGE _____ We've been told that a couple of the items in SPOCKANALIA 3 are embarrassing, dirty, or downright trashy. If we've embarrassed you, we are sincerely sorry. The recurrence of the theme of sex isn't surprising. Sex is a recurrent theme of life. The recurrence of the theme of sex involving Spock is also unsurprising. We STAR TREK femmefans find him attractive and highly masculine. Some of us are articulate, and the result is predictable (and even logical.) If anyone is seriously concerned... psychiatrists regard such feelings as perfectly normal (if they are non-obsessive) and artistic endeavour as a healthy outlet. Perhaps some of our readers are too accustomed to the tradition, in popular literature, of the male protagonist being aroused by the presence of attractive women. When they find that women write it the other way around, they find it strange. We, the editors of SPOCKANALIA, try our best to print only material which we consider well-written, interesting to us, and written within our format. We do not choose to limit ourselves by eliminating one effective segment of our submissions.
1987From a Pros fan:
Fade-to-black sex scenes. You know the kind... "They made love gently. The next morning..." and so on. Drives me nuts. It isn't that I require an explicit sex scene in every story. God, no. And not every sex scene has to be explicit. But when you're writing a first-time story, especially, then the love scene is damned important, and to just skip by it - for what ever reason - usually makes for a bad story. 
From a 1990 APA:It will follow the direction of the series with one notable exception... it will take a more realistic approach to the consummation of Vincent and Catherine's love. These drawings, while they would definitely be considered erotic, are in no way lewd or prurient. NO FRONTAL NUDITY.
I guess what I'm saying is that it is all a matter of taste. Whether or not you want any sex at all, how it is written, and how it relates to the plot are all a matter of personal taste. Some stories may be written with more skill, and therefore less likely to offend if they don't fit your taste, but there is no absolute right answer. And no one is forced to read anything they don't like. 
There are times when I want just a solid "wham, bam, this could be *anybody*" read and for that I usually do read porn. But when I read fanfic, I want the added layer; I want the characters. I certainly have no objections to some 'hot sex', but only if it works within the context of the story. I *do* think there are times when a sex scene just gets in the way of the story and when they do I would rather that they weren't there. And I don't care how hot it is! If you like it that much and (if you are inclined to work on this principle) think that other people would enjoy reading it, take it out of the main body of the story and see about getting it pubbed as a 'missing scene'. I'd much rather see that than a scene that is distracting from what the point of the story is and to break up the narrative rhythm. 
2001A zine editorial complains about reserving the word 'adult' for sexually explicit material:
As if sex, or lack of it, was all that distinguished children from adults. ... So, ... a zine aimed at adults, addressing adult issues, but not an ‘adult zine’. 
2012From an interview with Pat Massie:
It's funny; I do enjoy seeing well-executed nudes, or some graphic. But sometimes it's hard - you walk into a room and it hits you in the face. And there's erections all over the place. That's not really why I got into the fandom. I understand that this is going on, but I don't necessarily - I kind of like when they turn it away. And if I want to go in there, and I wanna really gaze into it, I will. 
- Erotica versus porn writing: I am actually going to be quasi-controversial today; archive link, March 19, 2009
- a fan comments in The Hatstand Express #12 about a personal dislike
- from Tell Me Something I Don't Know! #18
- a comment by Michelle Christian on Virgule-L, quoted with permission (July 9, 1996)
- TTBA: Conceptually Alien: An editorial (accessed 3 May 2012)
- Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Pat Massie