Attraction vs Lust?


Hi, I am a male, in my late teens. I am concerned I committed lust, a mortal sin. I’m not sure if you know how snapchat works, but late last night I was talking to a girl I am interested in, we were talking and it was going good. She sent me a picture of herself sitting cross legged, and for a second, this is embarrassing, looked down at her, because she was wearing some revealing clothing. I immediately stopped, because obviously I don’t want to commit lust, as. Just got out of confession 2 days ago, and that is not the man I want to be. I feel different, when I did it, my heart felt like it got hit with something, I’m guessing guilt. This didn’t cause any impure thoughts, just a quick look then guilt, because I feel like I have offended God. I’ve been praying a lot for forgiveness if I committed a sin, what does it sound like to you?


I’m 30 and having the same issues (I’m a girl). :slight_smile: We’re made to notice the opposite sex, after all that’s how our species keeps going on.

If you feel you did something bad, then pray and ask forgiveness. It could be your “lizard brain” is making you feel bad that you didn’t keep looking. Sex is one of the basic human functions.

I struggle, even as a married woman, about lust and sexual adulterous thoughts about other men. It is a very big problem for me. My husband is porn free finally after 20 plus years of porn use so there is hope.

I don’t know if this is helping, just want you to know you’re not alone. I feel a big conviction when I am having lustful thoughts at other men and I pray for forgiveness.



You commit lust when your allow your brain to go into pornographic mode.

The more precise meaning of what Christ said is not “you commit adultery with her in your heart” but instead “in your heart you make her an adulteress”. There is an added layer of meaning to the second translation. Know what it is? In your imagination, you are damning her, not just damning yourself. After all, if any such sexual fantasies were to be realized, then it would involve the other person being an adulterer with you. It would involve the other person committing grave sin with you, and you being okay with that, and even eager for it.

The best way to handle it is to work with your body and not against it. If you see somebody beautiful, note to yourself what a beautiful & attractive sister or brother they are, say a brief prayer thanking God for the gift of your sexuality as it can be expressed in the intimacy of married life and a prayer for the other person that their life be filled with light, and then move on. In our original innocence, human beauty was meant to make us smile, because that person’s outward beauty is a reflection of the beauty of their soul. It wasn’t meant to be an occasion for objectification. Our damaged nature does that.

When is sexual desire natural, and when does it become disordered (i.e. "Lust")?

I think you handled the situation well, as it happened. I note that you immediately “stopped” as soon as your will caught up with your instinct.

I don’t think you sinned mortally, because you clearly did not give full consent to lustful thoughts.

I suggest that you fight lustful tendencies (which are a powerful part of a male person’s fallen nature) by avoiding occasions of sin. You can do this by simply avoiding Snapchat, or avoiding “Snapchatting” certain people who send you things that provoke you to sin, or by asking those people to stop sending you images that are immodest.

In any case, I think it is a very good thing that you are thinking about this, are aware of yourself, and want to fight lust. Keep fighting, keep being aware of what situations are an occasion of sin for you, and pray for God’s grace to assist you in virtue.


I think you’re fine, since you stopped yourself when you realized what you were doing.

BTW, what exactly makes Snapchat so… special? I’m a senior in high school, and I don’t see why it would be so popular. Anyway, maybe you can try chatting with her on Facebook rather than on Snapchat?

Also, you could try chatting with a priest and ask Father what is the difference between attraction and lust. I think Fr.'s answers will help you navigate this area of human sexuality.


I’m a male in my mid 60’s, and still haven’t figured it out! I just, as they say, “let my conscience be my guide.”

God will know if you’re trying your best to avoid sin.

closed #7
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit