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The Truth About the Semen Stomach Pump Urban Legend — And Why It Never Went Away

Did Rod Stewart really get his stomach pumped after… well, you know? The rumor has ruined careers and terrified sex partners for a century. Here's where it came from.

Throughout the long, sordid history of celebrity gossip and rumors, it doesn’t get juicier than a hush-hush scandal involving one of the biggest stars of the day being rushed to the ER after performing a lurid sex act. There is one in particular that has stood the test of time, and it was attributed to numerous stars throughout the decades, including David Bowie and Elton John in the 1970s, Rod Stewart in the 1980s, Jon Bon Jovi and Alanis Morissette in the 1990s and Britney Spears and Lil’ Kim in the early aughts.

The names may change, but the overall story doesn’t: After a night of swallowing copious amounts of cum, the star collapses and is rushed to the hospital where they have to get their stomach pumped.

I remember being shocked when I first heard the story about Bon Jovi in the early 1990s. The dirtbag girls I smoked with in the courtyard at school pointed out the evidence to me. He was a pretty boy with dick-sucking lips, after all. I gasped. I too had dick-sucking lips. Was my fate predetermined? 

The rumor that a big star was gobbling up cum like they were in a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos has endured for a reason: It hits the rumor mill trifecta — it’s outrageously hot goss, it offers a cautionary tale and it’s super flexible, unbeholden to any one celebrity.

The first known version of this rumor actually dates all the way back to the Roaring Twenties and silent star Clara Bow, the original “It Girl.” Bow reportedly sucked off the entire USC football team numerous times, and was generally known for her off-screen sexual proclivities, which were frowned upon back in the day and made her an early tabloid favorite. But the men who ran Hollywood were getting sick of her brazen sexual behavior. They wanted to put her in her place, and there’s no better way to ruin a woman’s reputation than to not just call her a slut, but a cum guzzler of epic proportions.

Although it’s near impossible to slut shame a man in the same way, there is one way to bring down guys who are drowning in pussy: Homophobia! 

Fast-forward then to the early 1980s version of the rumor featuring gravelly-voiced white soul singer Rod Stewart. The story goes that Stewart was visiting a San Diego gay bar after a concert, when a large group of sailors came in. Unable to control his need for seamen semen, Stewart proceeded to blow the whole crew, eventually filling his tummy with so much cum he collapsed and was rushed to the ER to get his stomach pumped.

Though I willingly ate up this story when I was younger, the science just doesn’t back it up. First of all, the procedure known as a stomach pump or gastric lavage has a very specific use. Patrick, a 15-year EMT vet, tells me it’s only ever necessary if someone has been poisoned — either by drugs, alcohol or something else. The process isn’t pleasant, to say the least. It involves tubes and flushing the stomach of the poisonous substance using saline or activated charcoal. Basically, barfing your brains out. It’s highly unlikely you’d be willing to go through that for a non-lethal upset stomach.

Patrick is aware of the urban legend, and says that it’s pretty common to hear jokes about Rod Stewart anytime stomach pumps come up at work. But in his expert opinion, there’s zero chance this story is true  — at least the stomach-pumping part. “I never participated in a lavage that wasn’t for the things I told you about,” he explains. “That’s why the Rod Stewart story is so stupid. What would be the reason to remove it? It’s not toxic.” 

As someone who has swallowed some unpleasant loads, I can add that while I sometimes felt sick to my stomach (and with my choices in life), it’s never been 911 worthy.

The act itself is called a blowbang, a gangbang with no ass or pussy penetration, just a whole lot of sucking. Per an ex-sex worker, it’s quite common. He’s pretty much out of the sex work game now, but back in his heyday, sucking multiple cocks at a party was one of his specialties. The most he ever sucked and swallowed was seven guys in a row, and he not only felt fine afterwards but “sexy and fun” — one of the absolute joys of being a ho.

Which brings me to another point: Rod Stewart allegedly blew nine sailors and ingested anywhere from a gallon to a pint of cum. For the sake of argument, let’s go with the smaller amount — a pint. The average load is about one teaspoon. Now sucking off nine guys is a heroic feat, but even if they all had above-average loads, we’re still talking about just a quarter cup of cum. You’d have to swallow 56 average loads to get one cup. A pint is two cups, which would equal 112 average-sized loads. That’s a real mouth workout! 

It’s also clearly impossible. Still, the rumor persists and has dogged Stewart almost his entire career. So much so that, in 2012, he addressed it in his insanely good Rod: The Autobiography. In the book, Stewart admits to a lot of things, including putting capsules of cocaine up his ass with the help of the Rolling Stones’ Ron Wood. But one thing he doesn’t fess up to is a sailor-inspired blowbang. He’s clear that there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not his thing.

He does, however, reveal how the story came to be — through his publicist, Tony Toon. (Yes, that’s a real person.) It all started on a family vacation to Hawaii with his then wife Alana Hamilton, his children Sean and Kimberly and his step-son, Ashley Hamilton. Toon came along as well, and because the hotel was overbooked, he had to share a room with seven-year-old Ashley. Despite bunking with a child, Toon still had to get that Hawaiian D. And so, he brought a guy he met up to the room, waking up young Ashley, and pissing off Stewart, who fired him the next morning.

Toon was left with two options: 1) Recognize he fucked up by trying to get laid under these circumstances, and take the hit; or 2) fly into a petty rage and call every tabloid reporter he knew with a demented rumor about his ex-boss. 

You can guess which option Toon chose.

To his credit, Stewart admitted to Toon’s evil brilliance. “Toon’s revenge was absolutely inspired. I have never orally pleasured even a solitary sailor, let alone a ship’s worth in one evening. And I have never had my stomach pumped, either of naval-issue semen or of any other kind of semen,” he writes in Rod. “With minor variations, this story has stayed with me ever since. Say what you like about Tony Toon — and God rest his soul — but he was good at his job.” 

I’d say so. I mean, even all these years later, almost as many people remember the story as the amount of sailors who supposedly contributed to Stewart’s stomach troubles.