But Redundancy is not the same as Interchangeability...
What you keep confusing is attraction and sex. You are missing the point that attraction is the device while sex is the outcome.
While you can't have much sex without attraction you can have attraction without sex. They aren't the same things and what drives the one is not necessarily the other.
If there are no other requirements other than sexual stimulation then Marriage Builders is a complete waste of time and no marriage has ever been saved by following Plan A since sex is seldom even involved in Plan A and many would actually counsel against meeting that EN for an actively wayward spouse. I didn't lure my wife back into the marriage by giving her great sex. I lured her back by doing other things that she found attractive.
In fact my wife stated that the sex between us was great, but added that it wasn't enough. There were other things that attracted her to OM including his income.
If nothing more than sexual attraction, the drive to orgasm and the need for procreation is required then that would be all that is necessary to maintain a marriage. I can also tell you that when you see your own death as a possibility, sex drops so far down your list of needs as to become unnecessary.
Emotional needs aren't like physical needs. They aren't the same as food, water, shelter, warmth and safety. They aren't required for life to be sustainable. A man doesn't need sex to survive. He won't die if he doesn't have an orgasm once a day, once per week or even once per year.
Emotional Needs are like physical needs in many regards, but they are not requirements for life to exist. Yet what is most important at any given moment in time is often dependent on what is missing at that very moment.
For example, if you are wandering around in a blizzard without a coat on, your body temperature is dropping and your brain is beginning to shut down, the most important thing at that moment is getting warm. Someone invites you into their home to warm up and you stumble in, fall down in front of the fire and bask in the warmth as your body begins to function normally. As you warm up you realize that you are also hungry, thirsty and tired. You gave no thought to those needs while you were freezing to death but now, once the need to be warm has been fulfilled, you realize that you have other needs that also require something in order to be met and fully satisfied.
If sex is missing from a marriage either husband or wife or perhaps even both might desire sex above everything else that they need to be happy. But there are in fact other things besides sex that make a marriage fulfilling.
Those other things can lead to attraction just as sexual attraction does. You can be attracted to someone for how she looks, for how smart she is, for how well she cooks, for how great she is at taking care of children...She can be attracted to you by how you look, how you make her feel when you talk to her about subjects that interest her, by how much money you make, by how you share your feelings honestly...
We aren't talking about having sex, we're talking about falling in love. And falling in love happens because a bunch of things other than great sex are happening.
You keep coming back to how self reporting is inaccurate. Yet in reality there is no possibility of observing a random population to ascertain what is motivating people to respond to each other. If I go to a singles bar where everyone is there to hook up with somebody, everyone I observe is going to be flirting, flaunting what they've got and doing the things that will allow them to out perform their rivals but only as it pertains to hooking up. If I were to observe a group of people at a prayer meeting I would find a completely different set of standards, actions and interactions, yet the percentage of people in the church who have affairs is exactly the same as the population as a whole.
Additionally, if it all boils down to sexual attraction and that is all that matters, then as long as great sex exists and the attraction factor is promoted then no one would ever have an affair as long as those things take place. I just know you didn't get married just so you could have sex. Yes you were attracted to your wife, but there must have been other things she did besides get your rocks off or you could have paid for a hooker once a week and saved a lot of time and grief.
Dr Harley came up with his theories based on what his clients told him. Yes, some of what they told him might have been skewed and therefore not fully reliable, but what he found was that he heard the same things over and over again as to what was missing in relationships. He heard the same list of what people expected and wanted from a marriage and the list was clearly weighted as to which things were most important to men and what was important to women.
There might be any number of emotional needs. Some might need Blue Bunny Double Fudge Brownie ice cream to be happy. Some might only really be happy when living in Mexico on the beach at Cancun. But over all, men and women have ten things that they desire in a marriage and all marriages have at least most of these same ten things as a requirement for happiness in the marriage partners. Of these ten things, every person, that is not addicted to something as the one qualifier, will desire above all else some combination of these ten things. Men might need Financial Support above Admiration, and women might desire sex above Honesty and Openness, but the typical, that is the majority by an overwhelming margin, of men will have as three or more their top 5, things from the list normally attributed to men by Dr Harley and women will desire three or more from the list attributed to women within their top 5.
That isn't to say that either sex doesn't desire the things on the other list or even that they aren't important enough to be considered if you are trying to meet your spouse's ENs.
Horses need food, water and safety. As a prey animal in the wild, their number one need is safety. Owners of horses often have trouble getting a horse into a trailer. To the horse a trailer is a cave on wheels. Predators live in caves and people are predators; they smell like what they eat, that is, meat. So now you ask a horse to follow you into a cave and he balks. So you try to lure him in using food. You dangle a carrot in front of him and expect him to follow you into the trailer. He follows you alright, up until it is time to get into the trailer and then find out that safety overrides food as a need, especially if he isn't starving and is well fed.
Generally the owner keeps trying and tries to trick the horse in some way. This is when they discover another emotional need of horses, that is, recreation. The whole thing becomes a game. You want to observe it for yourself? Go to any stable on any Sunday afternoon and watch folks trying to catch their horse in the pasture with other horses around. Ever try to catch a two year old to give him a bath? It becomes big fun...though not always for the one doing the pursuing.
People will use carrots or treats to lure the horse to them. With the same results as with the trailer...Food is a huge need for horses, but safety trumps food and most of the time unless they are underfed, fun will as well. And sex, is way down the list except when a mare is in season and then the stallions will go crazy trying to get to her. Even the geldings will jump fences, knock down gates, kick down a stall and walk through an electric fence to get close to a mare in season. But for most of their lives, other things come way ahead of sex as a motivator. And for mares, the only time they will allow a male to mount them is when they are fertile. The rest of the time they are willing to allow them to provide protection, lead them to fresh food and water and provide a safe environment for their offspring to play.
If sex is the only motivating factor, then affairs should be easy to stop and even easier to prevent. But to say that women are more attracted to the sex as to other things and discount them saying that to be false as not understanding sexual attraction for what it is because they have been taught to not be sexual is a ridiculous thing to try to justify. If all that was required was to get the hots for each other...
The reactions in the human brain can be measured and quantified. Sexual stimulus, Intimate Conversation, Admiration, Affection and all the rest cause the release of the same chemicals in the pleasure centers of the human brain in lesser or greater quantities and in varying ratios to one another depending on the individual and circumstances. They are not merely observable and reportable but also measurable. Research within the past couple of years on levels of oxytocin, vasopressin, serotonin and dopamine in prairie voles, who are mate for life kind of animals, show that the way their brains react is very similar to that of humans and other animals that tend to mate for life. For humans it can be shown that things other than sexual attraction can stimulate these pleasure centers and cause release of these chemicals and the same is true for prairie voles.Oxytocin levels are high while in the presence of the mate. When the mate is removed for long periods of time oxytocin levels drop, but so do serotonin levels. The voles basically go into a state of depression.
Why isn't the research readily available? There are references to it in various publications but the research itself is ongoing, many of the studies have begun within the last couple of years. There is also a societal constraint on researchers that prevents them from inserting electrodes in the brains of people in order to collect data. What is being done is comparing the human brain to other animals that exhibit the same kinds of reactions or the same kinds of brain activity. This research is showing that the same chemicals that we already know lead to certain behaviors in humans are also present in animals that exhibit similar behavior.
Enough for now...