Dr. Phil McGraw has a way of getting people to open up.
In the latest episode of his Phil in the Blanks podcast, he had a candid conversation with Dax Shepard—so candid, in fact, that they dared to delve into the actor's sexual history. "I'd say I've had what could maybe be called a sex addiction at some point in my life," said Shepard, who has been married to Kristen Bell since 2013. "Not one that I had to seek treatment for, but..."
According to McGraw, "There are worse addictions!"
"There are worse addictions, yes," Shepard said with a laugh.
For years, the 44-year-old Ranch actor recalled, "I would just say, 'I've had sex with a lot of people. I like to do it. It's healthy. Who cares? I'm not getting diseases. I'm single. Whatever.'"
After a fight with his then-girlfriend (whom he did not name) on the phone, Shepard said he had an epiphany. "I hung up the phone, I was driving in the car and I immediately got horny," the actor recalled. "Now, that is a biochemical feeling; I'm getting a serotonin dump. Whatever I'm getting, that's a physiological thing: horniness. So, I'm just feeling authentically horny. And I think, 'Hmm, I'm going to text this girl I know.' And I text this girl—and there was a delay. And then I just had this moment of clarity. I was like, 'That's suspicious. I just felt disempowered by my girlfriend and immediately I got horny. Could me brain be, like, taking care of me?'" Later, he explained, it made Shepard wonder if his brain "made" him feel horny so he didn't feel pain.
McGraw agreed it was probable, saying, "Think about it: For every thought you have, there's a physiological corollary." But when it comes to how people's brains interpret complex subjects, McGraw told Shepard, "You assign the meaning to it: This is sexual arousal, this is fear arousal, this is excitement arousal, [so] you just point it in whatever direction your mind wants to take."
For more from McGraw's interview with Shepard, subscribe to his podcast.