What Is 'Rule 34'?

This is one for people who have dirty minds

Woman closing her laptop

 fotostorm / Getty Images

'Rule 34' is the pop-culture truism that every object on the Web has either been turned into pornographic or sexual content or can be turned into pornographic or sexual content. The Rule 34 expression is often used to caption comedic photos of non-human objects appearing to perform sexual acts.

The spirit of Rule 34 is that the Internet has humorously spread sexuality throughout communities. Shoes, soda pop, airplanes, video games, Shakespeare, housepets, household appliances and more: absolutely anything can be tied to sexual content if you search the Internet long enough.

How 'Rule 34' Is Used Online

Often the theme for demotivational posters and Facebook humor posts, 'Rule 34' is a common facetious caption for perverse and sexual photos. If you ever choose to share a picture of everyday objects behaving sexually, just caption it 'Rule 34' as you post it on Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram. That should ensure that people who see your photo know you are posting for reasons of humor.

Examples of Rule 34

  • Trees have been portrayed as performing sexual acts
  • Factory pipes can be considered porn
  • Red peppers can also be considered porn
  • Halo vehicles in Rule 34 position
  • Not even shopping carts are safe from Rule 34
  • Yes, even Tetris can fall victim to Rule 34
  • Military helicopter caught in a Rule 34 moment
  • Abrams tanks and the US Army: even these vehicles succumb to Rule 34

Perhaps Rule 34 is a testimony to human creativity, or perhaps it is a symptom of how sexually-motivated people are. Or perhaps it is both; Rule 34 is a humorous expression that has an undercurrent of truth to it.

Origin of the Modern Rule 34 Expression

While the origin of Rule 34 is up for debate, many believe that it can be traced to a cartoon drawing from the website Zoom-Out in the UK, 2004. The expression became an entry in the Urban Dictionary in 2006, and then the Paheal.net website created a full Rule 34 database for adults.

Through the use of meme viral spreading, Rule 34 has become a modern expression of daily online conversation.

Related: Rule 35

'If there is no porn found at the moment, it will be made shortly'. This is an offshoot of the Rule 34 claim that spawned in 2006 in response to people arguing that Rule 34 was incomplete.

Related: Rule 63

There is a lesser-known rule of online pornography called 'Rule 63'. This rule claims that for every Rule 34 occurrence online, there is an equivalent occurrence with the opposite gender.