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Author Topic: A Definition of Lust?  (Read 892 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: July 19, 2011, 04:06:59 PM »

What is lust? Is it an intense sexual desire for someone else? Or is it an improper intense sexual desire for someone else? Can you lust after your wife? How about your girlfriend? Where is the boundary between lust and attraction, or lust and desire, and why?
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2011, 04:25:57 PM »

What is lust? Is it an intense sexual desire for someone else? Or is it an improper intense sexual desire for someone else? Can you lust after your wife? How about your girlfriend? Where is the boundary between lust and attraction, or lust and desire, and why?
Lust begins when your realization that there is a person attached to those body parts ends.
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2011, 04:51:02 PM »

What is lust? Is it an intense sexual desire for someone else? Or is it an improper intense sexual desire for someone else? Can you lust after your wife? How about your girlfriend? Where is the boundary between lust and attraction, or lust and desire, and why?
Lust begins when your realization that there is a person attached to those body parts ends.

That's one of the most interesting and insightful thoughts I've read on the topic Smiley
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orthonorm
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2011, 05:23:24 PM »

What is lust? Is it an intense sexual desire for someone else? Or is it an improper intense sexual desire for someone else? Can you lust after your wife? How about your girlfriend? Where is the boundary between lust and attraction, or lust and desire, and why?
Lust begins when your realization that there is a person attached to those body parts ends.

That's one of the most interesting and insightful thoughts I've read on the topic Smiley

I asked the same question and got pretty much the same answer from our sage above.

Totally makes sense to me in many ways and about the most concise piece of help I've gotten here. It completely makes up for all the 12,234 x 3,456 pixel maps he has posted.
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2011, 05:46:42 PM »

What is lust? Is it an intense sexual desire for someone else? Or is it an improper intense sexual desire for someone else? Can you lust after your wife? How about your girlfriend? Where is the boundary between lust and attraction, or lust and desire, and why?
Lust begins when your realization that there is a person attached to those body parts ends.

What if you genuinely like the person and still want to make the beast with two backs?  Or what if the person you are lusting over is fictional, never was a real person, only a figment of imagination?
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2011, 07:31:29 PM »

While I wholeheartedly endorse Isa's post, this is also one of those questions where, if one is honest with oneself, if one has to ask a question regarding one's motivation (assuming one is not already overly scrupulous), one is engaging in lustful behavior.

For the vast majority of people, the simple conscience God gave us all answers more questions than we'd like to admit.
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2011, 10:32:56 PM »

While I wholeheartedly endorse Isa's post, this is also one of those questions where, if one is honest with oneself, if one has to ask a question regarding one's motivation (assuming one is not already overly scrupulous), one is engaging in lustful behavior.

For the vast majority of people, the simple conscience God gave us all answers more questions than we'd like to admit.

I think this may be true for many, but I wonder how many have become like myself: completely desensitised to the whole thing. Or perhaps desensitised doesn't fully capture what is going on... perhaps a better word is warped?
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Mishakol
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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2011, 10:54:19 PM »

The Strong's says:

3715 o;rexij orexis {or'-ex-is}
Meaning:
 1) desire, longing, craving for 2) eager desire, lust, appetite 2a) used both in a good and a bad sense, as well of natural and lawful and even of proper cravings (of appetite for food), also of corrupt and unlawful desires


St John Cassian the Roman wrote about it. This is an ancient writing which describes what we are dealing with here. I do not recommend that you practice (the ascetical excercises) what is written here, just think of it as useful wisdom from the Holy Fathers:

St John Cassian
On the Eight Vices
On the Demon of Unchastity and the Desire of the Flesh


"Our second struggle is against the demon of unchastity and the desire of the flesh, a desire which begins to trouble
man from the time of his youth. This harsh struggle has to be fought in both soul and body, and not simply in the
soul, as is the case with other faults. We therefore have to fight it on two fronts.
Bodily fasting alone is not enough to bring about perfect self-restraint and true purity; it must be accompanied by
contrition of heart, intense prayer to God, frequent meditation on the Scriptures, toil and manual labor. These are
able to check the restless impulses of the soul and to recall it from its shameful fantasies. Humility of soul helps
more than everything else, however, and without it no one can overcome unchastity or any other sin. In the first
place, then, we must take the utmost care to guard the heart from base thoughts, for, according to the Lord, 'out of
the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, unchastity' and so on (Matt.15:19).
We are told to fast not only to mortify our body, but also to keep our intellect watchful, so that it will not be
obscured because of the amount of food we have eaten and thus be unable to guard its thoughts. We must not
therefore expend all our effort in bodily fasting; we must also give attention to our thoughts and to spiritual
meditation, since otherwise we will not be able to advance to the heights of true purity and chastity. As our Lord has
said, we should 'cleanse first the inside of the cup and plate, so that their outside may also be clean' (Matt. 23:26).
If we are really eager, as the Apostle puts it, to 'struggle lawfully' and to 'be crowned’ (2 Tim. 2:5) for overcoming
the impure spirit of unchastity, we should not trust in our own strength arid ascetic practice, but in the help of our
Master, God. No one ceases to be attacked by this demon until he truly believes that he will be healed and reach the
heights of purity not through his own effort and labor, but through the aid and protection of God. For such a victory
is beyond man's natural powers. Indeed, he who has trampled down the pleasures and provocations of the flesh is in
a certain sense outside the body. Thus, no one can soar to this high and heavenly prize of holiness on his own wings
and learn to imitate the angels, unless the grace of God leads him upwards from this earthly mire.
No virtue makes flesh-bound man so like a spiritual angel as does self-restraint, for it enables those still living on
earth to become, as the Apostle says, 'citizens of heaven’ (cf. Phil. 3:20). A sign that we have acquired this virtue
perfectly is that our soul ignores those images which the defiled fantasy produces during sleep; for even if the
production of such images is not a sin, nevertheless it is a sign that the soul is ill and has not been freed from
passion. We should therefore regard the defiled fantasies that arise in us during sleep as the proof of previous
indolence and weakness still existing a us; since the emission which takes place while we are relaxed in sleep
reveals the sickness that lies hidden in our souls. Because of this the Doctor of our souls has also placed the remedy
in the hidden regions of the soul, recognizing that the cause of our sickness lies there when He says: 'Whoever looks
at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart' (Matt. 5:28). He seeks to correct not so
much our inquisitive and unchaste eyes as the soul which has its seat within and makes bad use of the eyes which
God gave it for good purposes. That is why the Book of Proverbs in its wisdom does not say: 'Guard your eyes with
all diligence' but 'Guard your heart with all diligence' (Prov. 4:23), imposing the remedy of diligence in the first
instance upon that which makes use of the eyes for whatever purpose it desires.
The way to keep guard over our heart is immediately to expel from the mind every demon-inspired recollection of
women - even of mother or sister or any other devout woman - lest by dwelling on it for too long the mind is thrown
headlong by the deceiver into debased and pernicious thoughts. The commandment given by God to the first man,
Adam, told him to keep watch over the head of the serpent (cf. Gen. 3:15. LXX), that is, over the first inklings of the
pernicious thoughts by means of which the serpent tries to creep into our souls. If we do not admit the serpent's
head, which is the provocation of the thought, we will not admit the rest of its body - that is, the assent* to the
sensual pleasure which the thought suggests - and so debase the mind towards the illicit act itself.
As it is written, we should 'early in the morning destroy all the wicked of the earth' (Ps. 101 : 8 ), distinguishing in
the light of divine knowledge' our sinful thoughts and then eradicating them completely from the earth - our hearts -
in accordance with the teaching of the Lord. While the-children of Babylon - by which I mean our wicked thoughts - are still young, we
should dash them to the ground and crush them against the rock, which is Christ (cf. Ps. 137:9 ; 1 Cor. 16:4). If these
thoughts grow stronger because we assent to them, we will not be able to overcome them without much pain and
labor. It is good to remember the sayings of the Fathers as well as the passages from Holy Scripture cited above. For
example, St Basil, Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, said; 'I have not known a woman and yet I am not a virgin.'
He recognized that the gift of virginity is achieved not so much by abstaining from intercourse with woman as by
holiness and purity of soul, which in its turn is achieved through fear of God. The Fathers also say that we cannot
fully acquire the virtue of purity unless we have first acquired real humility of heart. And we will not be granted
true spiritual knowledge so long as the passion of unchastity lies hidden in the depths of our souls.
To bring this section of our treatise to a close, let us recall one of the Apostle's sayings which further illustrates
his teaching on how to acquire self-restraint. He says; 'Pursue peace with all men and the holiness without which no
one will see the Lord' (Heb. 12:14). It is clear that he is talking about self-restraint from what follows: 'Lest there be
any unchaste or profane person, such as Esau’ (Heb. 12:16). The more heavenly and angelic the degree of holiness,
the heavier are the enemies' attacks to which it is subjected. We should therefore try to achieve not only bodily
control, but also contrition of heart with frequent prayers of repentance, so that with the dew of the Holy Spirit we
may extinguish the furnace of our flesh, kindled daily by the king of Babylon with the bellows of desire (cf. Dan.
3:19). In addition, a great weapon has been given us in the form of sacred vigils; for just as the watch we keep over
our droughts by day brings us holiness at night, So vigil at night brings purity to the soul by day."
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 11:00:56 PM by Mishakol » Logged

"And in Him is no darkness at all,"--that is, no passion, no keeping up of evil respecting any one, [He] destroys no one but gives salvation to all. Light moreover signifies, either the precepts of the Law, or faith, or doctrine."

Clement Of Alexandria - Commentary on 1 John.
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2011, 11:24:05 PM »

Thank you Mishakol, and ialmisry.

  I also was wondering about this, so as to know how I can correct my thoughts when they wonder.  Trying to remember the person as a whole, instead of just looking at them as an object is I guess what we all need to do.  Sometimes I've felt this particular sin of *Lust* was probably far bigger for me than many others, ugh.  Or at least it's seemed that way.. although if I ever did overcome lust, I'm sure I'd find something else that I'd have to wrestle with on a daily basis.. (pride, anger, boredom) etc. 
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2011, 11:28:27 PM »

It's not just sexual desire.  One can lust after the opposite gender, or for food, or for a car . . .
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2011, 11:45:37 PM »

To me, it is bound up in the things that have already been posted, but I would express it as that feeling of base desire is lust.

To notice an attractive person is only natural. Like all temptations, where we go from there is what matters.

I recall a story about an elder who scandalized his monks when he remarked about the beauty of a woman they came across in the market. To this dispassionate holy man, her beauty was like that of a beautiful mountain or a landscape. To all of these things he could say, "How glorious are Thy works, O Lord" and have no feelings of lust.

On the other hand, it becomes lust when it is carried beyond that initial involuntary twinge and into that base feeling—or conscious thought—of "That's hot; I'd like a piece of that" (notice the objectification as well, after what ialmisry said). When the mind enters the sexual realm, and you start checking the person out, etc, the line has certainly been crossed. But it can be lustful even before such fantasizing begins.

A person can have sinful lust for their spouse, or even a non-existant person, such as a realistic computer graphic. It doesn't matter. When the God-given appreciation for beauty is twisted into an outlet for sexual energy and feelings, it is lust, in my opinion.

(That is, besides instances of marital relations, but even then it would be lustful if it were selfish).
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 11:51:05 PM by bogdan » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2011, 11:52:16 PM »

To me it is related to anything that violates the do not covet prescription. If you ask me, this includes gluttony, pride, etc. This is VERY difficult to overcome in a social order so related to consumerism as North American culture is.
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2011, 12:32:34 PM »

To me it is related to anything that violates the do not covet prescription. If you ask me, this includes gluttony, pride, etc. This is VERY difficult to overcome in a social order so related to consumerism as North American culture is.

All of these are interesting points.  However, I am not sure that Vamrat's question has been answered.  I tend to agree with the above, that some sort of desire is required for true lust.  However, that is not always seem to be the case.  I (and I am sure most males) can be sexually arroused even by something that I don't covet or even want.  Likewise, one can be sexually arroused by something that is not even a person.  What about an inflatable doll?  Since there is no person involved, is this lust?  How about the new sex robots that are being made?  I have been told that the average male could mate with a knothole in a tree.  I don't think that there is any coveting going on there.  I am not so sure about lust. 
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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2011, 12:49:20 PM »

Sex with a robot, or a doll, or a tree would be an elaborate form of masturbation, IMO. The desire to masturbate I would personally say is lust also. Not lust after a person, but self-centered lust—using one's sexuality (or the desire thereto), which was designed for use in marital communion, only for self-gratification.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2011, 12:49:43 PM by bogdan » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2011, 01:17:53 PM »

I have been told that the average male could mate with a knothole in a tree.

Now that you mention it, I am a bit of a nature lover...
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« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2011, 11:37:20 PM »

"RE: "I don't think that there is any coveting going on there.  I am not so sure about lust. "

To me, this sort of thing, no matter how absurd, involves coveting since the perpetrator wants the act itself whatever it may be, or they want to feel the gratification of the fetish as it is fulfilled even if not sexually expressed.

I guess what I am saying is that without coveting there is no lust. Notice that one can covet without lust but not the other way around. Therefore do not covet your neighbor’s wife, and do not covet in general.
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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2011, 11:08:40 AM »

What if you genuinely like the person and still want to make the beast with two backs? 
'Making the beast with two backs' is ok only with in Holy Matrimony. So if you are married to a person thru the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, genuinely still love that person and not just their body and then want to make the beast with two backs, it would be perfectly be ok.

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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2011, 11:17:33 AM »

What if you genuinely like the person and still want to make the beast with two backs? 
'Making the beast with two backs' is ok only with in Holy Matrimony. So if you are married to a person thru the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, genuinely still love that person and not just their body and then want to make the beast with two backs, it would be perfectly be ok.


I wasn't entirely clear.  I am referring to the desire to commit the deed, not actually committing it.  Surely the desire could also include the desire to be married to this person if they were not already committed to another.

I am looking at this theoretically.  I already have an idea as to what the answer to my question is...but the devil is in the details.  (Though technically, as Christians I figure it's best to be avoiding him!)
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2011, 11:24:51 AM »

I already have an idea as to what the answer to my question is...but the devil is in the details.  (Though technically, as Christians I figure it's best to be avoiding him!)

I can't help myself, but you do know that the phrase the devil is in the details is a variant of the earlier God is in the details. No matter what folks say the origin of the latter is disputed as is the diabolic variant.

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« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2011, 05:26:10 PM »

I already have an idea as to what the answer to my question is...but the devil is in the details.  (Though technically, as Christians I figure it's best to be avoiding him!)

I can't help myself, but you do know that the phrase the devil is in the details is a variant of the earlier God is in the details. No matter what folks say the origin of the latter is disputed as is the diabolic variant.



Well, Wikipedia - The Font of all Knowlege - backs you up so that's good enough for me.
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