Although both visual novels (VNs) and dating sims have been gaining popularity in western markets, many people still don't know exactly what they are or, more likely, have the wrong idea about them.
To be clear, they originated in Japan and, while many visual novels or dating sims are erotic (or at least sexy) in nature, it's not true that all dating sims have erotic content.
It's really a shame that people automatically label these games as "adult only" because, in many cases, is not true.
In the case of indie developers, few include racy themes or art as they are often trying to appeal a more family-friendly audience.
While it certainly helps - especially for gameplay - it's really not necessary to play original Japanese visual novels or dating sims.
For example, I've produced several visual novels and dating sims.
Some have been quite successful even though I have not played many Japanese games.
Instead, having very good writing skills is far more important for both visual novels and dating sims (although a bit more important for the visual novels).
Writing skills also means coming up with original plot ideas and carefully planning each path.
These games are very similar in structure to the old Choose Your Own Adventure books where the plot changes and follows a different path based on the reader's choices.