Lustful thoughts about spouse

If somebody is married, is it OK to have lustful thoughts about their spouse?

I am not married, but think this question is important enough to know the answer to when I do get married

It depends entirely on what you mean by lustful…on how the term is defined.

In the sense of sexual attraction, of course it’s OK. In terms of spouses enjoying sex together, and taking pleasure from it, it is intended by God and good.

In the sense that it is used in Catholic morality, it is always wrong. It is defined as wrong, as being “disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure.”

This isn’t to say that Catholics consider sexual attraction to be wrong. Some people find the different uses of the term confusing. The term as used in Catholic morality is defined differently and so when discussing such matters we need to be careful in how the terms are used and understood.

Does that make sense?

What I’m referring to are sexual thoughts. Say you’re at work and you entertain sexual thoughts about your spouse (who isn’t around) in your head. Is that still a sin?

Sexual thoughts about one’s spouse are not wrong per se.

They could be wrong, say if you objectify your spouse, but they are not typically wrong.

I doubt it. By “disordered” I suspect what is meant is having sexual thoughts which are uncharitable towards your spouse, that is, treating him or her as an object solely for your gratification, not respecting him or her as a person, as a child of God, as someone who you love and are open to life with.

If you’re talking about longing for the embrace of a spouse, I should think not.

If you’re talking about using those images to become aroused, and to stay aroused, while the spouse is not there… that is a different story.

Yes, I’m referring to the second. Entertaining sexual desires of a spouse when they aren’t there

Yeah, you probably shouldn’t do that. You’re going to get yourself worked up. Could lead to masturbation, for example.

Again, i’m not referring to myself-I’m not married :shrug:

Entertaining sexual desires is not wrong per se.

Deliberately becoming aroused may be a problem; could be temptation for masturbation.

But one can have sexual thoughts without arousal.

Lust in terms of a marriage would be anything in sexual context which either objectifies, or puts forth the selfish [sexual] desires above, the spouse.

So, thinking about having sex with your spouse while at work or something would be simple if you were doing so because you wanted to satisfy your own sexual desire by “entertaining” yourself, even if only in your head, would be wrong because it is objectifying your spouse as a ‘tool’ for sex.

Now, if you were in the same position, but you were imagining having sex with your spouse because you missed them, or wanted to be close to them, and you focused on the mutual feeling of closeness with your spouse during sex, that might be a different story, because you are focusing on the unity of your marriage instead of the sex itself (and the pleasures there-in).

Now, you could still say it is wrong to fantasize about your spouse while at work because you are distracting yourself from your responsibilities, which would be unethical.

Also, I would consider it more healthy if the person were to withhold the sexual thoughts, retain the desire, and when they go home to their spouse, to “express their desire” as that promotes the unity better than just imagining their self with their spouse.

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