The link between anomalous water sorption and dynamic porosity in cement pastes is explored using spatially resolved GARField 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) relaxation analysis. A model is developed in which the effective capillary diﬀusion coeﬃcient is dependent on the instantaneous pore size distribution. This and earlier data show changes in pore size distribution resultant from changes in saturation that do not occur instantaneously with changes in degree of saturation. Therefore, it is assumed that the pore size distribution is always relaxing exponentially towards a (saturation de pendent) equilibrium. It follows that the diﬀusivity is sample history (i.e.time) dependent as well as saturation dependent. This is suﬃcient to ex plain anomalies in rapid capillary water sorption. The same concepts are applied to slow drying. In this case, porosity changes occur on a timescale much shorter than drying so the system is always in dynamic equilibrium and anomalies are therefore not seen.