Perhaps someone could edit the title to add a comma in the appropriate place. This is a Catholic forum, after all.
Sometimes I think rather than pushing thoughts away, it is better to accept that they are inevitable and actually think harder about them. Nothing kills the mood like a little analysis. Take a look at yourself from the outside.
“Okay, I’m having this thought/picturing this image. My flesh is weak and wants this. Where will entertaining and acting on this thought take me? My body will feel good for a moment and then my soul will hurt. What do I look like in reality while entertaining this temptation? I will feel like a slave to the short term gratification. I will be left with nothing but sin. I will have to tell a priest that I did this.”
Don’t conflate desire with lust. Desire is something you innately experience when you encounter something or somebody desirable. Men and women are meant to be desirable to one another by design and nature. Lust is deliberate, and it is to view somebody as something to be used for one’s own selfish satisfaction. To lust is to hate.
Whenever we are tempted towards a vice, we should respond with its corresponding virtue. So if you are tempted to think of somebody in a lustful way, a good response is to say a prayer for that person, for example “God, thank you for creating this person. Bless their day. Please help them to grow in love and lead them to Heaven”.
In our daily prayer lives, we should pray for A) those who are harmed from sin, and B) those who are tempted by sin. So for lust, we might say something like, “God, bless and heal all of those harmed by lust and by the sexual revolution. Help those who have been abused, used, and who have no direction in life. Help them to become what you want them to be”, and for temptation we might say, “God, bless and help all those attached to impurity. Help us to see our brothers and sisters the way that Jesus sees them. Forgive us. I love you.” Don’t pray exclusively for yourself, but pray for others tempted as well.
You should develop interests and hobbies that are simulating and engaging to your body, mind, and soul.
Finally, you should be patient. You can’t notice the difference in a sapling if you watch it grow in real time, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t growing.
That is exactly the point…
Sexuality is part of being human, full stop. Every state in life has it’s own chaste expression of sexuality, from single and abstinent to married.
Trying to eliminate the sexual drive from your life is fruitless. We are called to channel it in properly ordered ways.
That’s why I asked you what else is going on in your life besides sexual temptation.
How are you serving others? That is the proper outlet for the desire to unite with others, and it will put lust back in it’s place.
One breath at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time.
We are constantly being bombarded by things that distract us from living a blessed life.
The good news is that there is confession, absolution, and forgiveness. Thanks be to God!
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