Fact Check

Ocean Romance Gets Couple 'Stuck'

Was a couple hospitalized when their getting romantic in the ocean resulted in an unbreakable suction?

Published Oct. 20, 2014


Claim:   Couple hospitalized after becoming stuck together while copulating in the ocean.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, October 2014]

Couple Hospitalised After 'Frolick' In The Sea

They were stuck together while frolicking in the sea and had to be taken to the hospital as a medical emergency to be released from their hold on each other.
Is this true? It's raising a few eyebrows among the genteel ladies in the boxes.


Origins:   On 15 October 2014, Italian tabloid Il Mattino published an article about a

mortifying sexual mishap off the coast of Porto San Giorgio, Italy. According to the article, two unnamed beachgoers became amorously inclined while swimming and decided to engage in an aquatic quickie.

At some point during the seaside sexcapade, however, their liaison went downhill: Reportedly, underwater suction caused the couple to become "stuck" together and forced them to sheepishly request assistance. A rough translation of the Italian-language article indicated that the embarrassed lovers were forced to somehow swim to shore in flagrante delicto, where they happened upon a convenient doctor:

So, in panic and fatigue, they reached the shore and called a doctor who accompanied them to the emergency room, where the woman was given an injection commonly used to dilate the uterus of pregnant women, the administration of which rectified the situation.

Several other web sites aggregated the single-source, medically noteworthy claim as real news despite a number of red flags in the story. Most notably, the tale closely matches the oft-repeated penis captivus urban legend, which has a notorious lack of corroborating evidence across decades of medical literature.

As is common to earlier versions of similar stories, the couple in the report were purportedly whisked away to the emergency room for separation. But no mention was made of how such a complex medical transport might have occurred. Were they lifted into an ambulance by paramedics? Did they somehow manage to walk to a vehicle for the journey? Was any provision made to avoid an embarrassing spectacle or to shield the pair and onlookers? And if treatment wasn't rendered on the scene, why was a doctor called upon to remove the couple to the emergency room rather than standard EMTs?

The lack of detail given in the original news report and its subsequent repetitions are also suspect. While one might expect patient names to be withheld due to the sensitive nature of the claim, the name of the hospital to which the pair was transported did not appear in any reports, nor were any of the treating doctors identified by name or quoted. Moreover, the date of the incident given in the original source was specified only as "yesterday," with no time of day mentioned at all.

Finally, the story concluded with the administration of a "drug given to pregnant women to dilate their uteruses," but the efficacy of such an approach is questionable — a simple muscle relaxant should have been able to rectify the situation had it really occurred.

In short, proof that an unlucky Italian couple really experienced unfortunate sexual suction during a seaside tryst is scant, and decades of medical literature and several logistical inconsistencies suggest the tale was, at best, shakily sourced.

Last updated:   20 October 2014


    "Italian Couple Get Stuck in Frolic at Sea."

    The Local.   15 October 2014.

    "Fanno Sesso in Mare e Rimangono Incastrati."

    Il Mattino.   14 October 2014.

    Murdock, Sebastian.   "Sex in Ocean Sucks in Worst Way Imaginable."

    Huffington Post.   18 October 2014.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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