Custody & Friendship

So here’s my dilemma…

I struggle with lustful (impure, sexual, whatever you want to call it) thoughts and such. I pray regularly, go to confession regularly, etc. It’s something I’ve dealt with for years and have gotten to the point of being fed up with my inability to “win the fight”. I decided to try something drastic and deny myself even looking at or talking to certain women. I have found this to effect my emotional state of mind negatively as well as making me appear to be unfriendly or upset with some of my friends, particularly some of my female friends that I talk (and flirt) with regularly.

How do I reconcile my need for custody of the eyes and mind, with my friendships with certain people?

This problem really is in your mind and your “heart” (or your desires). The reason why you need to keep strict custody of your eyes is because the things you see will set off a sinful desire. The problem is that you (I’m not singling you out, I’m just saying in general “you”) deep down want a sinful and lustful action.

You’re really fighting lust. Not women, not visual stimulus. It’s a lust – grabbing something that doesn’t belong to you, indulging yourself in sensuality, seeing the other person as an object of pleasure – and not really as a true person. Why?

Well, first of all you’ve got normal desires for women and their attractiveness. That’s a starting point. Every norman man is attracted visually – that’s in our nature. Women are the visual attraction that catches us. Ok, fine.

But underneath that, you’ve taught yourself somehow that the attraction you feel goes directly to possession and then pleasure. Your heart wants to grab what you see, your body feels the connection.

Certainly, a lot of women present themselves that way, knowingly or not. Sadly, those women we virtually all have to avert our eyes to – and that is not easy or a comfortable process!

But then there women who dress well - not in a slutty way. Certainly, your mother or family members would not be a problem.

You have to decide inwardly what you’re looking for. Once you decide to seek purity, you will seek it in other people also. When you see something lustful, you have to turn away.

The last part is about being disagreeable and angry. This comes from the discomfort you feel – struggling against an out-of-control emotion and lust reaction. It makes you miserable. You’re a warrior and women are seen as an attack.

Much of that is true. Satan surely uses loose women to attack us and bring us down to hell. It’s really that simple. But the way to overcome your anger is to find your purpose – find a focus. Then stick with it. Stay with your spiritual plan – solid, regular prayers. If you really want to win the battle (and it takes a total committment), go to Confession weekly. Find a confessor and tell him at the start that you’ve been struggling with lust for years and years.

You can defeat this demon. Take it from one who has suffered like you have. To find a good woman for a spouse, or even just to live a fruitful life of any kind, you have to be free from lust. Remember, it’s lust that you’re fighting. The inner desire to possess a woman for your own selfish reasons. The purity of God – that you can experience in Confession and Holy Communion (and through the Rosary well prayed) will drive away lust. You will find it hard to believe that you ever felt that way about a woman.

Lust is also triggered by a feeling of loss, powerless and low-esteem. To overcome lust is to become a true man. But it starts by realizing that you are already a man – you’re not a slave to Satan, you’re not a slave to lustful women. Lust seeks power over women – to make up for the feeling of powerlessness and weakness we feel around sensuality. We feel weak, then we want to lash out by grabbing and indulging in lust, as if that makes us a powerful man. But it only makes us weaker and we fall even worse than before.

So, it’s really being a man. Truth, integrity, purity, strength – those are your watch words. Then you’ll see those things in women. Meanwhile, keeping strict custody of your eyes is an admirable thing. Strict discipline in your life can work wonders. But not too strict. That can cause a terrible backlash and relapse. You have to be gentle with yourself, reasonable, steady and not too harsh. If you fall down, get up quickly and get to Confession as soon as you can. Keep your friendships with women cheerful and positive – always wish the very best for them.

Sorry for preaching so much. I hope that helps.

Go and read the web site The author will teach you that you must not repress your natural desire, but instead put it toward something good–i.e., God. Killing the desire may seem like the right way to overcome the sin, but let’s face the facts–this natural desire is part of you and it will never go away. You must instead recognize that your desire for God’s creation, woman, is really just an echo of your desire for the Creator, who is all the more beautiful than His creation. “God of Desire, my desire is for You.”

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