Question on lust

Dear All,

I’ve been struggling with this dilemma as of late.

Is it lustful to contemplate the beauty of a woman’s body or parts of her body?

I’ve heard it said that if one does not think about having sex with a person but merely looks and appreciates his/her beauty one is not committing a mortal sin. When does the sin of lust occur? Where does the Church draw the line on this issue?

If you think about, say, a particular woman’s breasts, admiring their form etc etc but without thinking about them as a source of sexual pleasure, is it a mortal sin?


It’s certainly an occasion of sin, especially if you have a problem with lust.

It’s something my confessor once addressed when he said that the beautiful things of life, including those of the opposite sex, are there for the glory of God rather than the longings of the flesh. So to give thanks to God for anything we consider attractive or appealing is an appropriate response.

I don’t think it’s possible for a man with a normal libido to “appreciate” the beauty of a woman’s breasts, or assorted other body parts, without lust being part of it. Maybe on a statue or painting (though there can be a danger even there, for some people) but not in real life. Also even an asexual appreciation of beauty could be a dehumanizing way of looking at another person.

Whoever this woman with the nice breasts is, think of her, look at her, interact with her as a human being, not as a pair of good-looking breasts.

Added because I want to use a smiley:

In short, no :hypno:ing at female beauty, whether you call it non-sexual or not.

(All this is assuming you aren’t married to the woman. Married sexuality is a different subject, though this kind of dehumanizing attitude is out of place there too).

The point about breasts was a random example, not specifically to do with my case which I didn’t describe here.

Still, thanks for your reply!

Some fine Catholic renaissance sculptors and painters might disagree with you! Have you ever visited the Vatican Museum? Hardly a pornographic exhibition, no?

Notice that I said it can go either way with that kind of fine art, depending on the person (and other relevant variables like the particular work of art).

Bad thoughts become sinful when they are entertained. If you are diligent about rejecting them when you realize them, I don’t see how that is a mortal sin.

These kinds of questions are best for a confessor. :thumbsup:

The intention behind the art is pretty clear. As is the purpose of pornographic videos.

Intent matters.

Lately whenever a ‘good looking’ gal comes into a store I happen to be working at, I always admire her, her body too (that is what makes her beautiful, along with her face), but I also usually notice that any other men that are close by, or walking past the girl, they ALL either turn their head around to check her out, or I can follow their eyes, and 98% of the time, the eyes go right down to the girls butt. It actually surprised me at how many men would do this, many even go out of their way to catch a glimpse! I almost laughed about it a couple times!

I have known some very pretty women over the years and they know men look at them like this, some of them like the looks, others think its creepy. Most of them say this starts around the age of 12-14 yrs old, once their bodies start looking more like a woman versus a girl. It is something many of them just get used to.

Do you mean that the first part (in bold) is out of place in marriage? I don’t see how one could have sex with a spouse without contemplating their body and enjoying it at one point or another. That’s kind of… necessary. You would be telling people, “go and have sex, but do it without being attracted to each other!” That’s impossible.

If you mean the second part (“a human, not a pair of breasts”) then OK.

As I tried to say at the bottom of the post, the entire post is assuming we are talking about something outside of marriage.

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