Lustful Glance?


Hi, I know I should be taking this to my confessor, but I am fretting about it and cannot at this hour. Anyways, I was watching a movie (Blind Side) with my fam. I was looking at my computer, and then I looked up and noticed the actress (Sandra B) was wearing a lowcut dress while posing for a family photo. I looked down because I knew it was not good that I stare, but then I looked again (I guess for a quick look to confirm what my eyes though they say?) and then instantly felt guilty.

I am not really scrupulous other than sins dealing with sexuality and lust. Does this sound like a grave sin? Not so bad? Lust? I didn’t develop any thoughts, just observed what was on the screen.

Please let me know, and I apologize but this was kind of urgent. Thanks.


The way you’ve explained it, it doesn’t sound very willful to me. I can’t see it being mortal sin.


Lust is more than a glance. It’s ok to notice beauty or to look at a woman finding her attractive. Lust is imagining and staring in appropriately. So if you paused it to stare at her cleavage that’s lust. If you engaged sexual thoughts about it that’s lust. Otherwise you did nothing wrong.


Okay, if you are scrupulous even with just lust, then you need to be meeting with your confessor outside of Confession to discuss this further.

Scrupulosity is not a good condition to have even if it’s only one category of sin you struggle with.


Lust takes more than a glance, believe me. Your scrupulosity needs professional assistance. It is a terrible thing. May you be blessed for your good intentions and may the good Lord take the stress of worry from your mind and give you the peace of an informed and well rounded conscience.


Doing anything to arouse sexual pleasure within yourself or others outside marriage is grave matter. The way I understand the catechism is that culpability may be reduced if, say, someone seduces you, flashes skin in front of you, talks dirty, Or if it’s a force of habit. There’s a lot of psychology and chemistry involved. But it’s best to confess it anyway. Many, if not most, of us tend to rationalize (it’s not so bad, I didn’t give full consent, etc.) although scrupulosity may be a problem in the other extreme. But that shouldn’t be confused with an examination of conscience when the intent is to find faults which need to be corrected. Eye control is a good habit to get into, but you can’t avoid peripheral vision either. You are going to be thinking about it, but trying to avoid it will make you think even more about it. Can’t win.

And let’s not overlook the fact we may be arousing lust in others either. But I would like a moral theologian to explain how to determine gravity there.


Something I have been taught by several priests, is temptation is never a sin. We are all tempted. It is what we do with the temptation that is sin.

So I might be tempted to steal, I may look at the store and pick up an item but decide to buy it. So that’s withstanding temptation.

Lust can be trickier, but still it seems that there is a line between temptation and sin. In this case, the person withstood temptation in my opinion. It would take more engagement of temptation than a quick glance to constitute mortal sin.

So this person was tempted by the beauty of another person. He did nothing impure like fantasize or self pleasure which obviously would be lust. Instead he turned away.


Then wouldn’t nearly all incidences of lust be lessoned to some extent, due to all the sexual presence & content on TV, in the movies, magazine’s, and at the mall? It’s literally everywhere you look.


Anyone care to comment on my previous post?


I don’t think anything is lessened, like I said, lust is more than a look, it is definitely harder than in the past because temptation is everywhere. The stuff you describe are temptations. They turn into lust when we choose to lust after such things. Not just see them, but fantasize on them.


To an extent that’s true. There could be temptations even in church.

Interestingly enough, they used to have a Legency of Decency code advising of probable temptations to lust in movies. I don’t know why they stopped with it.


Lust can occur in an instance after a temptation. One flickering thought during or after the temptation(s) or repeated temptations, and boom, your in Mortal Sin, w/o any lessoning effect? A young man at South Coast Plaza, can literally look away from one temptation and find his eyes on another instantly.

Thanks for responding Jon.


No I don’t believe lust can happen in an instant. Even if a thought pops in your head after seeing some woman, do you entertain the thought or dismiss it? Dismissing it is virtue, engaging it is mortal

Let’s review the definition of lust;

very strong sexual desire.
“he knew that his lust for her had returned”
synonyms: sexual desire, sexual appetite, sexual longing, ardor, desire, passion; More
a passionate desire for something.
“a lust for power”

See, lust is something much larger than a thought. Lust involves a “very strong sexual desire”.


Funny thing is that doctors look at this as being healthy and determine that testosterone levels are normal. There appears to be many who have abnormally low levels though, which is one of the reasons why Viagara and other sex enhancer drugs are so popular. Why a Catholic would want this is beyond me.


I believe lust can occur regardless of time. I also don’t agree that it’s “much larger” than temptation. I believe they are a mere step apart.


to cont.

The definition you show claims that lust is of very strong sexual desire … as opposed to light-moderate sexual desire. Do they not count as lust?




PV - I believe a married man, committed to his wife, may use this med to his and her benefit.


… of what?


A light moderate sexual desire.

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