Lustful Thoughts and Natural Law

Do according ONLY to natural law. If it is against natural law, it is a liar. This is my core philosophy.
That is why I am totally for the Church teachings on sexuality. They follow what NATURE was designed. After all, the Church’s teaching and the science of nature DO come from the same source…

Now, lustful thoughts. They would appear to be totally in line with natural law. I am NOT talking about pornography, masturbation, as that is all pointless, unhealthy, and unnatural. I mean healthy, heterosexual, lustful THOUGHTS. These thoughts, which chastity heroes I look up to like Jason Evert condemn as objectifying women, are what allowed humanity to survive, right? If everybody was modest, and nobody ever lusted for somebody that they weren’t married to, then nobody would ever be married and nobody would be born, right?

So could somebody explain to me how sexual desires are bad when you aren’t married? When in fact those thoughts CAUSE marriage? I am just so SICK(not trying to be insulting) of people telling me “Don’t lust for women, they are princesses of God, and so NEVER lust after them”. That doesn’t make sense to me in light of natural law.

Anyways, I realize that the SUPERNATURAL law is higher than natural law, but I don’t know of anywhere else where Church teaching on sex contradicts nature, so this would be a first.

Thanks for the explanations!

Also, I just thought of something.

What about sex before marriage???

Isn’t that in line with nature’s laws. Why would God program the desire for sex before marriage and then tell us not to do it through Supernatural Revelation? That confuses me. Not challenging the Teaching Authority, just trying to understand it…

The best way for families to thrive is when the parents of children are monogamous. This is not a construct of the Church but natural law for people. We would not be who we are today if that revelation had not been received thousands of years ago.

We are not “programmed” for sexual desire until we are about old enough to reproduce. People used to marry much younger. A better question might be; At what age was marriage appropriate for someone in Abraham’s day?

As I understand it, we cannot control every thought that pops into our head.

Yet, we can control whether we entertain those thoughts and dwell on them.

Dwelling on lustful thoughts before marriage would cause undue frustration and waste time.

Natural law would preserve the family for the sake of children. Note that there are biochemical states of bonding through various chemicals. Sexual desires that are willfully indulged in are acts tending to additional actions including others (adultery, fornication, seduction, incest, rape), and harm others, or unnatural vice.

Are you confusing lustful thoughts with sexual desire?

Having sexual desire for someone is not the same as having a lustful thought about them.

Thinking that a person is sexually attractive isn’t a sin. Thinking, “Wow, I’m sexually attracted to Cathy,” isn’t a sin. It’s what you do with that thought that matters. Thinking, “I really must get to know Cathy better because I find her really attractive and she might be the kind of woman I’d like to marry,” is fine.

Lust means to treat a person as an object of gratification, not simply that you sexually desire someone. Sexual desire in and of itself DOES lead people to pursue marriage, IF they act on those desires in the appropriate manner. Whereas lustful thoughts would hinder people from pursuing marriage e.g. “I’m sexually attracted to Cathy, but instead of seriously considering whether I’m being called to marry her, I’ll not bother getting to know her and instead will just fantasise about her - that way I can get pleasure without having to treat her as a person or even put any effort into meeting a future wife.”

Right. Lust, like any other sin (and any virtue) is an act of the will, not a matter of feelings or biological urges. Attraction and desire are not inherently lustful, but can serve as temptation to lust if not kept in check where they are inappropriate.

The natural law demands acts in accord with reason. Reason measures the good for a person depending on his office, state in life, etc. What is good for a bishop to do is not always good for a schoolgirl to do.

The unmarried person has no spouse. OK. We might ask then what the purpose is of a thought of sexual activity? If the end is out of line with the single life, namely, the necessarily vain use of the sexual faculty, which would include active carnal desire (because fantasies are primarily enjoyable because of a physical pleasure in the chest, stomach, head, and between the legs,) then it is sinful. If there is no intent to “follow up” on the thought, then it is “non-morose delectation,” a venial sin. If one delights in the thought of actually doing such and such, in a way that he would if he could (excluding marriage as a change of circumstance) then it is mortal sin, or if he simulates such activities alone. The passions are useful for directing us to the good, but they must be moderated by reason.

Sexual thoughts for other reasons do not enter this category because they do not involve a desire… It is the passions that are the problem here, not thoughts as such.

Sex outside marriage is gravely contrary to the order of charity for the possible children of the union. Contraception offends God directly, as does intentional presumption upon infertility (which amounts to the same thing).

THAT is an interesting question.

I MIGHT HAVE MENTIONED…I am not a married adult struggling with attraction to other women…I am an unmarried teenager.

Which makes your last question VERY thought provoking…

Wow! ALL of those answers are very good, very helpful. I just learned a lot.

Those thoughts were all very interesting…gave me lots to reflect on.

Thanks, all! :slight_smile:

Especially interesting was the realization that dwelling on sexual desire, if not realistically preceding sex within marriage, is a pointless distraction, and far more likely an occasion to some sort of sin.

Especially interesting was the realization that dwelling on sexual desire, if not realistically preceding sex within marriage, is a pointless distraction, and far more likely an occasion to some sort of sin.

In the normal case it is both a sin and an occasion of sin.

I agree. You don’t want to put yourself into a situation in which you escalate things. Lustful thoughts too often lead to lustful actions, so don’t dwell on them.

Having said that, a priest once told me that having lustful thoughts, “just means you’re alive.” But again, the key to both sanctity and health is moving on to holier thoughts.

It’s not simply a question of whether something such as sexual desires is natural, but about the natural ends they are directed towards. Sexual desire is not an end in itself, but directed towards unity of spouses, procreation, both of which serve for child rearing in a stable family. Especially when the passions are governed by the will.

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