Does it count as lust if I can just admire a women’s beautiful physicality (that includes her body and face) without even thinking about using her selfishly? Is it even possible that I can admire a woman’s shape and avoid lust at the same time?
Its human nature to admire beauty with our eyes but would seem to verge on vanity. Beauty on the surface is only one step in the process towards feeling the beauty without the eyes.
You can admire beauty without it being lust but that can lead to pride when you believe that you are invulnerable to lust and that whenever you look at a woman you are incapable of lust.
Appreciation is fine. But one must judge the self first. This, at least for men, lapses extremely easily into a near occasion of sin and then just as quickly into actual sin. Great caution must be exercised in the control of the eyes and the thoughts.
A far safer path is to focus on the eyes of the person, who was created in the image and likeness of God. Look at those eyes and see the eyes of Christ. That is something to appreciate, to long for, but never to lust after. This applies to Christ, but also to each and every human made in the image and likeness of the Father.
What if I were to look at a painting of a nude woman just to admire and as soon as I notice that I’m feeling aroused (because admittedly I am vulnerable to lust) I can just redirect my eyes and mind to something else?
If you’re vulnerable to lust why would you put yourself in the near occasion of sin? If a painting can invoke lust you should really think about avoiding naked depictions of women.