Sexual Standoffs

August 29, 2014

Reagan says his wife of two years, Sara, refuses to have sex with him, which has forced him to turn to gambling and other women “for an adrenaline rush.” Sara says Reagan is acting like an impulsive teenager — and not meeting her needs emotionally. Plus, after only a year of marriage, Skyla and Ryan say they are at a sexual standoff that has pushed them to the brink of divorce. Can Dr. Phil help these couples get back on track?







More than 16 million kids in the United States are at risk for hunger each day. Fortunately, you can help. Visit Feeding America to find your local food bank. And, help Dr. Phil raise enough money for 10 million meals. Donate today!


ReaganSaraTimeline of Reagan and Sara's relationshipRyanSkyla

Reagan and Sara

"Boredom is my enemy," Reagan says. "I have a problem with adrenaline, and I will use the adrenaline to get excitement, whether it's getting a text from a woman, gambling or watching sports." Reagan admits to cheating on his wife, Sara, twice — once in 2007, when she was pregnant with their son, and also seven months ago, when Reagan says he had a "sexting" relationship with a woman.

"Reagan tells me that he gambles and he cheats because he's bored," Sara says. "I think that's bull-crap. I'm bored all the time, and I don't do that. What about all the husbands who aren't cheating and sexting and gambling? Are they never bored?" Sara insists that if Reagan wants their sex life to improve, he needs to put more effort into meeting her emotional needs. "I feel a lot of resentment toward Reagan, and I have no sexual desire toward a man who acts like a teenager," she says.

Sara explains that she found out about Reagan's sexting from their 6-year-old son. "We were driving one day, and our son, Grayson, says to me, ‘Mom, I saw this video on Daddy’s phone' ... I just thought, ‘What on Earth? What could he have seen?'” Sara recalls that Reagan brushed it off, but then several months later, she found explicit pictures on his cell phone. "I knew then that Grayson was telling the truth," she says.

Dr. Phil drills down on Reagan about his behavior: "Are you sure your mother didn't drop you on your head or anything?"

A Troubled History?

"The past eight years have been a roller coaster," Sara says. She recalls that she got pregnant just one month after she and Regan started dating. "I stopped drinking, and I would see him drink and end up having these emotional outbursts that were very scary," she claims. Sara says she decided to have an abortion — and told Reagan she had miscarried. "A few months later, I told him that I had really had an abortion," she continues. "I felt like I needed to make up for the mistake, and I wanted to believe we could make it work."

Additionally, Sara and Reagan both accuse each other of getting physical during arguments. Sara recalls an incident that she says happened while she was pregnant with their daughter. "He pinned me up against the truck, and I punched him in the nose," she says. "He threw me to the ground and dragged me around by my feet."

Reagan says, "Sara and I have fought for nearly all of the seven years we have been together." He claims that when Sara found out about his first affair, she hit him in the face, leaving him with a welt. "If I've put my hands on her, it's usually in defense of keeping her from whooping up on me," he insists.

Dr. Phil reviews the couple's history of break-ups and make-ups. And, Sara reacts: "I'm ready to fix it and move forward or be done."

Sara has a confession of her own for Reagan. How does he respond?

"I’m not a perfect guy," Reagan says to Sara. "I’ve done stupid stuff, but I take care of you. I take care of our family. I make it so you don’t have to work. You don’t have to do anything except take care of the kids."

"I'm a woman. I need an emotional connection," Sara replies. "You are so disengaged in our marriage, in our life. It’s like I’m supposed to do my duties, and you go to work, and I sit there and look pretty and have sex with you." She continues, "You need physical; I need emotional. Meet me in the middle."

"Both of you need some help, and you have kids in the middle that deserve you doing the work."

Dr. Phil tells Reagan and Sara he wants to set them up with professional counseling, separately, so they can work on their individual issues before deciding whether to stay together. They both accept the help.

Skyla and Ryan

Skyla says that before she and Ryan got married, they had a very active sex life, but now, a year later, it's almost non-existent. "Ryan and I were having sex, and I don't know what happened, but I heard a pop, and then I got a really sharp pain," she recalls, explaining that after that, sex was painful, which caused her to withdraw. Skyla adds that because they have an infant daughter, it's hard to find any private time.

"Without sex in our marriage, it really made a big impact, especially as active as I am. I was bummed out," Ryan confides. He continues, "I turn into a child sometimes and walk around the house like a kid having a temper tantrum. I like to slam doors and get angry, just because I'm sexually frustrated."

"I hate that it's come to this," Skyla says onstage, tearfully. "I'm 18. These aren't issues you should be having this early on, or at all. That's not what I wanted for my marriage or for myself."

"I have anger issues," Ryan admits. "It's resulted a lot from my childhood. It needs to be resolved, and I'm willing to work on it."


"Are you physically abusive to her?"

"One of my main issues is pornography. He watches it, and as a new mom, it’s hard." How does Ryan respond?

"I think we have two very damaged individuals here, who are now damaging each other," Dr. Phil tells Ryan and Skyla. He mentions that they both had difficult upbringings: Ryan ended up in foster care, while Skyla was a victim of molestation. Dr. Phil says those experiences color how they perceive things and interact.

Dr. Phil offers to arrange professional counseling for Ryan and Skyla, and they accept.