Q&A How Does Attraction Work with Sex Addiction?

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I am new to EMS Online and after reading The Reality of Affairs; I need clarification on the topic of being "attracted" to someone other than your spouse. Two examples are given: "I have occasionally told my wife about someone I'm attracted to. In this life we're going to have people we're attracted to" and "Its natural for us to notice characteristics in others we find appealing or attractive". How does this specifically apply to a Sex Addict who has a visual addiction to attractive women and women's images and who used these women or their images for decades of compulsive acting out? The women he finds attractive fit the sexual arousal template that he created for himself through many years of pornography use. I can certainly understand being attracted to someone other than your spouse as a normal human experience. However, once there is sexual addiction in the mix, these words seem to justify poor choices and addictive behaviors. He clearly is still attracted to the women who fit his addictive arousal template.



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How Does Attraction Work with Sex Addiction?

How is the pattern of "seeking what is attractive" broken? How does the sex addict address "getting out of the loop"?

My husband believes he is in recovery from sex addiction because he is not currently acting out. However, he is having a more difficult time with "noticing" attractive woman that fit his arousal template; he often tries to look away and he will occasionally take a second "unintentional" look. Is this part of the process in breaking the "seeking cycle"? Is he unconsciously getting addictive dopamine hits when he notices such women.

Changing attraction?

My husband also suffers from a decades long pornography and online sex addiction. He is currently in treatment and I can see how God is graciously changing his heart. Throughout our marriage my husband has not pursued me sexually. I have been the initiator and have most often been denied save rare occasions when he will give in to my pleading for intimacy. Since D day 6 months ago, I have unfortunately seen the women he has been engaged with online and they appear extremely different than me. This has explained the years of rejection now learning that I have not ever fit into the sexual arousal template that he has created due to the decades long online behavior. Can this ever change? Can his brain be changed to find me attractive? I fear that despite giving up his online behavior, he will have to continue to force himself to be with me while wishing for (or imagining) the other women. Many Christian advisors suggest that my identity should be so rooted and hidden in Christ’s great love for me that it shouldn’t matter if my husband finds me attractive. That seems so contradictory to what I know about God’s design for marriage. Does sexual addiction change that? My only hope is that God has the power to change sexual addiction.


I have the exact same question in my relationship. I wish someone would help address this.

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