* Names have been changed to protect the fictional.
Rebecca wants to know: Is it even realistic to expect that Donny, whose wife cheated on him, would be willing to accept the past of someone who has sexually exploited men (even without Kathy knowing she's done this)?
So I think the immediate answer to your question is that it's possible, but it would be more realistic if he didn't know on the front end, either by willful denial of Kathy's actions or blissful ignorance. That would be the key. No sensible, conscientious person would fall in love with someone like Kathy if he knew her full, sordid history. But if he were oblivious, attraction could take root before the apprehension of being used or abused would.
I think you're actually asking if Donny could still love Kathy if he found this out about her. Since I don't really know much of Donny's history other than a painful divorce, I can't really answer this. But I can give you some questions to ask Donny that might help.
1) How does having Kathy in his life bring about positive change?
2) Can he imagine a life without her? Is that life better or worse?
3) A year is a long time to have a relationship with someone, even if it's not romantic. How does this information about Kathy's past gel with what he already knows about her? How does it feel in his gut?
Rebecca also wants to know: Is it psychologically plausible for someone with Kathy's sexual addiction to find fulfillment in a monogamous relationship, or will she need extensive therapy in addition to finding someone who accepts that part of her and loves her as a whole person?
Sexual addiction isn't officially recognized as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (4th edition, text revision). It's also not up for inclusion in the 5th edition. But there are a lot of sexual disorders, usually involving some unusual fetish or urge, but there is a diagnosis of Sexual Disorders Not Otherwise Specified, and that's where Kathy might fit in. Within this disorder, you'd find someone who experiences "distress about a pattern of repeated sexual relationships involving a succession of lovers who are experienced by the individual only as things to be used." Symptoms generally focus more on a compulsive sexual behavior, like fixating on an unattainable target or compulsively searching for more partners.
Really, Kathy isn't as bad as I've known some people with true sexual addictions to act. When a person has multiple anonymous partners, masturbates constantly, is into porn/fetishes/strip clubs/adult stores, and unsafe sexual practices/prostitution, this is more the idea sexual addiction conveys. These exploits take up a tremendous amount of the person's time and energy.
Kathy's symptoms fall more into having repeated/sequential affairs and possibly objectifying men. She's had a large amount of shallow, short-lived affairs, and likely has viewed men as only objects to see to her needs, whether that's physical (sexual) or emotional (need for security, acceptance, etc) as well. Basically, she's been a little slutty. If I had Kathy in my office, I'd want to ask her tons of questions, because increased sexual desire (also called hypersexuality) is a symptom of bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, impulse control disorder, cyclothymic disorder, adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct and PTSD.
With that in mind, her chances of finding a monogamous relationship increase exponentially. Many sexual addicts join 12-step programs, much like an alcoholic or drug addict or gambler. There are communities out there for sexual addicts, even the website Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health, dedicated to the world of sexual addicts (even though it's not even clinically agreed upon what, exactly, that means!). Antidepressants are also commonly prescribed to help treat this.
In conjunction with therapy, her chances are fairly high at maintaining a normal, one-man kind of life. Therapy would help her find the deep wounds from her childhood that have driven her to her sexual behaviors. You wrote that you had read a book, Soul Wounds, that made you wonder if Donny and Kathy could actually make it. I'd just caution you not to take everything in a book like this to heart. I've not read it, but lots of therapists/psychologists come up with these great concepts for books that make a lot of sense, but it's never a hard-and-fast rule for life.
What I like about your premise is the seeming impossibility of Donny and Kathy's match. You'd have the reader rooting for this from page 1. Yes, Kathy needs to work through why she's felt compelled to use 'em and lose 'em. Donny needs to work through the trauma of his divorce and the pain that's caused. But I'm a firm believer in God taking two broken people and making a whole that just fits together perfect.
This service is for fictional characters only, so any resemblance to real life examples is entirely coincidental. Any other fictional character assessment questions can be directed to charactertherapist (at) hotmail (dot) com.