Sir Elton John felt ''joyous'' when he lost his virginity at 23.

The 72-year-old singer is very proud of the sex scene depicted between himself and his manager, John Reid, in 'Rocketman' - the upcoming movie based on his life and music - because the lovemaking was a ''vital'' part of his life story.

He said: ''If I am telling my story, it has to be honest.

''I was a virgin until then. I was desperate to be loved and desperate to have a tactile relationship.

''When they tear their clothes off in the movie, that was how it happened. It was in San Francisco.

''I'm so glad it's in there because I am a gay man and I didn't want to airbrush it under the carpet.

''This is who I am and I was so joyous. When he is lying in my arms and I'm sitting back with a smile I'm thinking, 'Ah, I'm normal, I've had sex'...

''I'm proud 'Rocketman' is the first major studio film with a gay love sex scene in it. If I'd left it out, I'd have felt I was cheating people.

''If they don't like it, I understand, but it's part of who I am. That night was a very, very important part.''

The 'Tiny Dancer' hitmaker - who has sons Zachary, eight, and Elijah, six, with husband David Furnish - admitted conversations about sex were limited when he was young.

He told the Daily Mirror newspaper: ''When I grew up, my father told me if I ­masturbated I'd go blind. At 13 years of age, I started to have glasses and I went, 'Oh my God! This is coming true!' ''

The movie - which stars Taron Egerton as Elton and Richard Madden as John - lays bare the 'Your Song' singer's drug addiction and he admitted it was difficult to watch at times.

He said: ''Even though I was in a terrible state and I was doing a lot of drugs, I still kept working, I still kept making records and still kept touring and the music kept me alive. If I had stopped, I wouldn't be here. It's ­difficult to watch because I thought, 'God, I don't want to go back there'.''

While Elton still has his ''dark'' side, he thinks his husband and sons help him to stay on the right path.

He admitted: ''There are still parts of being a performer which will lead to the dark side. But it doesn't last long because I have David and I've my children.

''When my children are around, I never feel dark.

''I would never have thought I would be in a relationship for 25 years. I couldn't last with any relationship because drugs came into it.

''When I'm looking at those scenes when I'm alone, that's how I was. I was in my house just doing cocaine and I was afraid to walk down the stairs. That's craziness. I'm grateful... life is wonderful.

''I'd everything going for me, and I nearly threw it all away.''