If Rocketman gave a tempered view of Elton John’s addiction to cocaine, his new memoir, Me, holds nothing back. Previous excerpts of the book, out today, described the singer-songwriter bingeing cocaine “until I was absolutely certain there was no cocaine anywhere in the vicinity,” often to the point of blacking out. But another passage of the book details cocaine’s effect on John’s sex life. “I found it was an aphrodisiac, which is strange, because for most people it kills the erection side of things completely,” he writes. “Never a problem for me, I’m afraid. Quite the opposite. If I took enough coke I could stay hard for days.”
John describes the “fantasy” of being on cocaine, which made him feel open to new things sexually. “I did things on coke that I would never have had the courage to do or try if I hadn’t been,” he continues. “It takes all the inhibitions out of people. Even straight guys sometimes.” And his new Hollywood home, which he moved into in 1975, proved to be the perfect setting. “I mostly used the snooker room to seduce guys. Strip snooker!” John admits. “It usually seemed to do the trick, especially after a couple of lines of coke.”
Yet despite his self-described sex addiction, John “was never actually into fucking that much.” So what would he do? “I was an observer, a voyeur. I’d kind of set up my perversion, have two or three guys doing things for me to watch,” he writes. “That was where my sexual pleasure came from, getting a bunch of people who wouldn’t normally have sex with each other, to have sex with each other.” And that’s not all. “I just watched, took Polaroids, organized things,” he continues. “The only problem was that I was incredibly houseproud, so they’d end up having sex on the snooker table with me shouting, ‘Make sure you don’t come on the baize!’ which tended to puncture the atmosphere a bit.” You don’t say!
There was, somehow, a benefit to all this, John claims. “Not being that interested in having sex myself is the reason I never got HIV,” writes the singer, who says later in the book that multiple ex-boyfriends became HIV-positive. “If I had been [having sex], I’d almost certainly be dead.”
John finally gave up cocaine when he checked himself into rehab in 1990 — stars like Freddie Mercury and George Harrison, among many others, had told him to go for years, but he didn’t listen until his ex-boyfriend, Hugh Williams, checked into rehab while they were dating. He kicked his cocaine addiction, along with his alcoholism, but he says cocaine still haunts him, particularly through a recurring dream. John writes, “When I wake up, I can almost feel the numbing sensation of the coke sliding down the back of my throat — always the part of doing it that I hated — and I just think ‘thank God that’s over.’”