Extreme Sex Differences: Connie and Howard

Extreme Sex Differences: Connie and Howard
Dr. Phil speaks with couples who say their sexual problems are destroying their relationships.
"I know this might sound bizarre, but my husband is sexually addicted to hair," says Connie. "When Howard sees another woman with long, straight hair, I know he's being turned on."

Howard agrees. "Watching hair being straightened or flat-ironed is very much a sexual turn on for me," he says.
"If I notice a woman with soft, silky hair and I get home and my wife is home, I want to make love to her right then and there."

But his fetish is hurting their sex life. "If Connie comes to bed and her hair is anything other than silky straight, it doesn't matter if she's wearing a sexy negligee or sensual perfume, I am not aroused. Lovemaking cannot occur. It's as simple as that," says Howard, who acknowledges that it can get out of control. "During my first marriage, when my wife was not wearing her hair the way I liked it, I had affairs with other women. I was also frequenting 100 different prostitutes."
Howard used to go with Connie when she would have her hair done at a salon, but it became a problem. "Directly from the salon, Howard would want to have sex," says Connie. "I would tell him, 'You're messing my hair up. I don't want you touching it.' He would go off into this deep depression and sometimes it would last for several days."

"Our sex life deteriorated dramatically," says Howard, who then turned to masturbation. Connie has discovered him masturbating in their bed and in their car.

As he prepares to meet with Dr. Phil in person, he admits, "I am so tuned in to hair that within five minutes of appearing on stage, I will be able to tell you how many women there are in the audience that have soft, silky hair and where they are." But Howard knows it needs to stop. "If I don't get help in resolving this problem, the marriage will end."

"Dr. Phil, my husband's addiction to hair is tearing our marriage apart. Is there anything you can do to help us?" asks Connie.
"Is this something that you truly believe is dysfunctional and you need to change or are you just saying that because you're in trouble with your wife?" Dr. Phil asks Howard.

Howard explains that he knew he needed to change to save the marriage, but got a new insight when he was preparing for the show. "I honestly didn't become aware that it was something I needed to do for me, that it was destroying me, until I had the conversation with your producer. When she asked the question, 'Is this something you want to change for yourself?' it was like a lightbulb came on," says Howard.

"The lightbulb didn't come on when your first marriage of 27 years went down the tubes?" Dr. Phil asks him.


Dr. Phil brings up Howard's past of 100-plus affairs with prostitutes and other women.

"No, the light didn't go on," says Howard. "For me, the connection between sex and hair wasn't anything I was aware of. It was just as automatic for me as eating. You have a need to eat, you go find food."
Howard explains that he's already scanned the audience and has taken note of the women with long, straight hair. He's aware that when his wife is around, he has to be discreet about it.

"I think it's very bizarre," says Connie. "And I think it's very disrespectful, the fact that he would do that." Initially, his focus was just on Connie's hair, but when she realized it went beyond that, she got so fed up that she cut off her own hair.

"I was not pleased with it," says Howard, explaining that he has an ideal length for arousal.

"Fetishes are usually regarded as pretty harmless," Dr. Phil tells them. "They really don't create problems most of the time, but the issue is when they start becoming so strong that they interfere with your normal functioning, with your life, then that's a problem."

Howard reiterates that he didn't realize it was a problem until recently. Dr. Phil has a hard time believing that, bringing up the fact that Howard has been arrested for soliciting prostitution and his relationship with Connie began as an affair during his 27-year marriage to his first wife."I just feel totally abandoned," says Connie. "I feel like I'm in it by myself. My needs are not being met because of Howard's focus on the hair."

When Howard says his wife sends him mixed messages, Dr. Phil responds, "You either acknowledge this and change it or you don't. You've been with 100 hookers! You've got to own this."

"I'm owning it," says Howard.

Dr. Phil tells him what he thinks it's really about: "I think you have a deadly fear of intimacy. You are totally focused on hair, which doesn't talk, doesn't engage, doesn't interact, doesn't require anything. You've been to 100-plus women outside the marriage, again no intimacy or connection whatsoever. There's no interaction, there's no intimacy."

"That's what I'm totally missing," agrees Connie.
"This is the point where it has become an addiction," says Dr. Phil. "You've never learned how to intimately engage with somebody. And if you will work to develop those skills of dealing with this woman, this spirit, this personality, her needs, her wants, her thoughts, her feelings, intimately engaging with her, whether she's bald or has long hair or whatever. If you will learn to get over that fear and develop those skills, then you won't have a need for that whatsoever."

Dr. Phil tells him it starts with acknowledging his difficulty with sharing and engaging with his wife. "And you have to understand sex is not all about you," he says. "Sex is about giving, it's about sharing, it's about her as well as you." Dr. Phil encourages them to read Relationship Rescue, so Howard can learn how to create intimacy with his wife and Connie can help him along.