How do you define lust?
Here are my thoughts:
What lust is not: The initial hormonal and neurochemical pleasure shot to the brain is not lust, although that can be trained. The noticing of another person is not an issue.
What lust is: Lust is a purposeful attempt to get sexual stimulation and gratification or coveting to do so, with someone who is not your spouse. It is going or attempting to go for “seconds,” real or imagined. When sexual temptation is nurtured and fed, sin tends to grow. James says, “And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (James 1:15).
I define “lust” as “to have a desire for”. Context is what makes it a bad (sinful), good, or neutral thing. If we look at the original language in the New Testament, we see the same word used in Mt. 5:28, “looks at a woman with lust“, Jesus also uses when speaking to his twelve in Lk. 22:15, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;”
I think I see it somewhere in the middle, closer to the beginning. It’s normal to notice people to an extent, but when you let yourself think something inappropriate or how they look in an outfit you’d like to see them in (that you’d find sexy) things like that are where lust starts, and when you let yourself think on them when they aren’t there in an intimate way.
Lust (as a sin) is sexual desire that is not consented to by all involved. Rape and adultery qualify. So would sex acts that are not mutually agreed to.
Jesus was quite specific about including lust that is not acted upon, but that was in the context of saying that it is impossible for us not to sin and that we need God’s mercy.
I’ve been wondering about this very subject. Example: A certain actor is a very attractive man. He plays a Super Hero and has trained himself to actually be able to do many of the things his character does, so he essentially “is” a Super Hero. What I have seen of his body on TV is a fine physical specimen. By all appearances he seems to be a truly “nice guy” and the pictures of him with his kids and the quotes of things he says about his wife are sweet enough to give you a tooth ache. I joke with my DH and my women friends about how “hot” he is, fan myself, and sigh wistfully. BUT I have no actual desire to engage in any physical contact with him. DH raised the question to me when we were having a thorough and loving (and teasing) discussion of our sexual fantasies and he specifically posited the scenario of the actor and me. I gave it a moment of serious consideration and told DH truthfully that I would not want that. 1) Knowing DH LOVES me is the reason I am able to open up and be free in my sexual expression and experience. The actor doesn’t love me. 2) The fact that I LOVE DH allows me to focus on his pleasure and submit my body freely to whatever he desires. I don’t love the actor. 3) The actor’s obvious affection for and dedication to his family is a huge part of his appeal; a liaison with me would by definition make him less appealing.
I do like to look at this actor, but I only ever want to have sex with my Dear Husband.
Oh, and full disclosure: I have occasionally wondered what the actor looks like below the belt. I don’t want to DO anything with what’s down there, but I am curious enough to wonder what it looks like. (I’m curious about a lot of things; I recently watched a PBS documentary on the history of toilets and I have been known to get lost in reading the dictionary.)
Is that lust?
Lust is the unbounded desires of heart and mind stretching out in longings for sex, money, power, greatness, legacy, admiration, respect, dominance, and any position or thing of want. Lust is embedded in our culture and played out nightly on television. It is the centerpiece of commercial sales and cinematic portrayals. Lust is alive in those who are without boundaries, who reject good parentage, and insist upon life as they know best.
There is a lot of active lust expressed here on TMB.
@Duchess, there is a difference between curiosity and a strong desire/lust for something. When I pass a crash I have a curiosity to look and try to figure things out, but I am not wishing harm or death on someone. As a female, especially in the developing years, I had a strong curiosity to look at girls in the locker room or in magazines to see what is “normal”, that didn’t mean I was having same sex attraction or lusting after them. I find myself having the same curiosities now when I people watch, about how others (male and female) are like in their relationships, are they sure or secure in their sexuality or not, what might their clothes be hiding, etc. That doesn’t mean I have any desire to personally check things out with them or that I am lusting after them.
@SlipTG, it seems you define lust as all bad and all sinful, am I reading that correct? Do you believe lust is possible within a marriage, from one spouse to another? If so, do you view that lust as wrong or okay? Also, how do you balance that if we look at Scriptural references, that Jesus Himself, uses the same original word (not English translation) in a non-sinful context with His disciples?