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Sorry if this has an obvious answer, I'm pretty new to the anime community.

I've seen covers of doujinshi for certain pairings/fandoms I like, but from what I've seen of the contents, most of them get pretty steamy. I really like the concept of fan-published works and seeing certain characters interact, but I don't feel comfortable reading something so...explicit? Are there doujinshi that are based around platonic/fluffy romance interactions, or is this typically the standard for doujinshi? (And is there a way I can tell a platonic doujinshi from others?)

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The term Doujinshi is rather broad, encompassing any self-published work. Sometimes, although rarely, even big name authors have created some doujinshi.

Wikipedia has a pretty decent article which defines it as:

Dōjinshi (同人誌{どうじんし}), often transliterated as doujinshi) is the Japanese term for self-published works, usually magazines, manga or novels. Dōjinshi are often the work of amateurs, though some professional artists participate as a way to publish material outside the regular industry.

These self-published works are almost always inspired by work created by someone else, rather than being original works. Since the authors usually don't have original ideas to write about, instead they want to express their love for a series by writing stories that could have happened, which is why you're often seeing these sexual situations in doujinshi. Sex is popular, and it is generally abstained from in source material. Thus writing about it is a good way to make your doujinshi popular easily, since many people will have had similar thoughts while reading the source.

As far as if there are doujinshi that do not involve sexual situations, the answer is of course. Since we are talking about self-published works, there is really no limit to what kind of stories you could find, just like in any fan fiction.

Finally, your question about finding out what is in them ahead of time, has already been asked here: How do I figure out the contents of doujinshi? While there isn't an answer to that question posted, it seems the consensus from the comments is that outside of learning about the contents from a doujin circle, it is rather hard to know what to expect.

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    To add, if one goes onto yuri-ism you can see from their ratings that there are still quite some doujin which aren't exactly sexual, Rank 1 is "mostly" Safe for Work and Rank 2 has Suggestive Themes, i would assume most sites that sell doujin would have some fort of filtering system – Memor-X Mar 17 '16 at 1:57
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    If you are to buy the doujin at comiket, then you'd have the chance to quick peek the content before buying it. – 絢瀬絵里 Mar 17 '16 at 2:05
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Though it is common for such themes to be done, doujinshi are basically almost always fan made manga/stories, which means they can have any kind of storyline. They are almost never made by professionals or with custom stories, and are instead just derived from a popular story, but with a "What if" scenario, which can be whatever the author of the doujinshi decides it to be. Of course, this usually is Pairings, especially when the main manga does little to satisfy that Romance urge, or even worse, tease it, for those fans. So overall, they do tend to be Sexual, but that is not a necessity for it to be doujinshi.

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    I've seen Haibane Renmei described as originating from a short doujinshi by the creator (so the anime came later), so I'm not sure if I'd quite say "almost never". – Maroon Mar 17 '16 at 0:09

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