Dax Shepard thinks he had a ‘sex addiction at some point in my life’

Long before Dax Shepard was a family man, he battled what he believed to be a sex addiction.

“I’d say I’ve had what could maybe be called a sex addiction at some point in my life. Not one that I had to seek treatment for but … there are worse addictions,” the Parenthood alum, 44, revealed on Dr. Phil McGraw’s new podcast, “Phil in the Blanks,” on Tuesday, January 15. “But up ’til then, I would have just said, ‘Oh, I have 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.’”

Shepard said his viewpoint changed, however, when he decided to further explore the possibility that he was an addict.

“I had a girlfriend. She was away. We got in a fight over the phone. I hung up the phone. I was driving in the car, and I immediately got horny,” he 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 gonna text this girl I know,’ and I text that girl and there was a delay.”

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Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell together
PROVIDENCIALES, PROVIDENCIALES - JANUARY 30: Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell pose as she vacations with her family at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa on January 30, 2018 in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Beaches)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Dax Shepard (L) and Kristen Bell attend The 2017 Baby2Baby Gala presented by Paul Mitchell on November 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Baby2Baby)
WESTWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 30: (L-R) Actor Dax Shepard and actress Kristen Bell attend the premiere of STX Entertainment's 'A Bad Mom's Christmas' at Regency Village Theatre on October 30, 2017 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Barry King/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Actors Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell visit the SiriusXM Studios on March 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 20: Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell arrive at the Los Angeles Premiere 'CHiPS' at TCL Chinese Theatre on March 20, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 20: Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell fool around at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'CHiPS' at TCL Chinese Theatre on March 20, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: (L-R) Actors Matt LeBlanc, Kevin Hart, Kristen Bell, and Dax Shepard backstage at the People's Choice Awards 2017 at Microsoft Theater on January 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: Actors Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell attend the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard attend the fifth annual Baby2Baby gala honoring Jennifer Garner at 3Labs in Culver City, on November 12, 2016. / AFP / CHRIS DELMAS (Photo credit should read CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell wear Game of Thrones Shirts at Tattoos on a date night at the premiere of HBO's 'Game Of Thrones' Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 28: Actors Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard arrive at the premiere of USA Pictures' 'The Boss' at Regency Village Theatre on March 28, 2016 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actor Dax Shepard and actress Kristen Bell arrive at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Actors Dax Shepard (L) and Kristen Bell arrive at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
SANTA MONICA, CA - FEBRUARY 21: Actors Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell arrive at the 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 21, 2015 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
SANTA MONICA, CA - FEBRUARY 21: Actor Dax Shepard and wife actress Kristen Bell arrive at the 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 21, 2015 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07: Actor Dax Shepard and wife actress Kristen Bell arrive at The 41st Annual People's Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on January 7, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07: (L-R) Actress Kristen Bell, actor Dax Shepard and actress Monica Potter attend The 41st Annual People's Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre LA Live on January 7, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for The People's Choice Awards)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 01: Actors Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell arrive at the Los Angeles Premiere of 'The Judge' at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on October 1, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Actors Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell arrive at the premiere of 'This Is Where I Leave You' held at TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 04: Actors Dax Shepard (L) and Kristen Bell attend 'The Judge' premiere during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 4, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 04: Actors Kristen Bell (L) and Dax Shepard attend 'The Judge' premiere during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 4, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 04: Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell attend the 2014 CMT Music awards at the Bridgestone Arena on June 4, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 03: Actor Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell attend the 100th Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on May 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 03: (L-R) Nick Loeb, Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell and Justin Mikita attend the Bloomberg & Vanity Fair cocktail reception following the 2014 WHCA Dinner at Villa Firenze on May 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/VF14/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 05: Actor Dax Shepard (L) and actress Kristen Bell attend the 2nd Light Up The Blues Concert - An Evening Of Music To Benefit Autism Speaks at The Theatre At Ace Hotel on April 5, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for LUTB)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: Actors/husband & wife Dax Shepard (L) and Kristen Bell attend the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) (L-R) Actors Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Kristen Bell, and Dax Shepard attend the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/VF14/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 2: Dax Shepard (L) and Kristen Bell arrive at the 86th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage)
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The CHiPS actor described feeling a sudden “moment of clarity” after sending the message.

“I was like, ‘That’s suspicious. I just felt disempowered by my girlfriend and immediately I got horny. Could my brain be, like, taking care of me?’” he said. “You can feel powerful and attractive and all of these things, but that biochemical thing that happened, the physiological thing, how would I not interpret that as real horniness? It was real horniness. It was just that my brain made me horny so I didn’t have to feel that other thing. That’s so complex.”

Shepard went on to marry Kristen Bell in October 2013. They share daughters Lincoln, 5, and Delta, 4.

“We decided when we had kids to be very, very honest with them and never to sort of spin a fairytale, even if it’s about hard subjects,” the Frozen star, 38, told Us Weekly exclusively in September 2018, explaining that she and her husband once tried to have the sex talk with their young children, but it didn’t go according to plan. “Truly, by the second sentence, they had walked outside.”

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