I'm not going to be very original in my response because so many before me have explained these things with words I could never find. The post below was written well over year ago by one of the guys here. It has to do with acting out which is another term, in many ways, for the type of addictions I believe you are asking about. At the end of this quote, I also put a link to the whole conversation which was really, really intense. I hope it answers a few questions, although it's very likely to spawn some more too.
to be honest, therapists dont know, and i'm betting in most cases the survivor doesnt understand it either. not in terms he can tell you anyway.
one theory is that we are trying to regain control. we are drawn to it because as an adult we have the control that we didnt as kids. another theory is that survivors do it so that they can try and understand what happened and make it make sense. all that is well and good, but i bet the guy doing it doesnt think in those terms.
it is very confusing and complex. speaking from my experience, the first part of it is hating yourself. when you see yourself as sick and perverted, you dont respect yourself. i had this hopelessness that made resisting very hard. it was kind of like being surrendered to it. it was my destiny kind of.
you walk around empty and unhappy, looking for that magic thing that will fill you up. you love your wife and kids, your family, but you dont love yourself and you dont love your life. you dont value anything except maybe the idea of death. the only time you escape all that is when you're having sex. when you're having sex, you focus on the sex and the pleasure, and escape the reality of all that hate for a little while.
the problem is, because sex is a thrill, a high, an escape, it becomes more than just sharing with someone you love. it becomes your drug, something meant to take away the pain. you need that edge, that something daring and thrilling to make it better than the routine of your wife. you have all these fantasies that just eat at you all the time. you think about it, dream of it, look at porn showing it, write about it, until the draw is just so powerful there is no hope of resisting. it takes on a life of its own.
at first you resist. you dont want to hurt your wife. all you want is to feel good. you wish your wife would do this or that, but are too ashamed to ask, or worse, you have asked and she doesnt want to. the urge gets stronger, you fight it, but when you hate yourself, you have no value and no worth. you arent worthy of your wife. all you are worthy of is sickness and perversion. you see no good in the world, only pain.
you get so empty and feel so isolated that everything around you loses all meaning. the only thing that can stop the pain is that high. you need that escape so bad you can't stand it. maybe you've made arrangements to meet someone over and over, and each time in a last minute battle with guilt, you make an excuse and back out. then one time, after a fight or when you are really extra down, you give in.
for a brief instant, all you feel is the pleasure. you feel the high while you are living it. you block out everything and live for the instant. for that instant, for that blink of an eye, the pain is forgotten. you know you will pay an awful price after, but for that one instant, you have relief.
when it is over, the whole cycle starts again. you feel awful for doing it. you hate yourself, and that hate builds and grows until you need that next escape, that next moment where you can forget all the pain. that is what it is like for a survivor. it isnt that you dont love your wife or girlfriend. it is that you hate yourself. it takes self esteem and self worth to be able to resist when things get bad. remove all hope and all value from a person, and he just doesnt care what happens to himself any more. if he loses you, well it is just something else he deserves and has coming. the whole time it actually has very little to do with you or his love for you. it is all about him, about his pain, about making it go away for a moment. http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=60698&page=0&fpart=1