Sexual attraction vs.Lust


How do you tell the difference between the two. Where is that line crossed? Is sexual attraction acceptable?



Sexual attraction itself is probably morally neutral, more a starting point with various possible paths that can be chosen. It can be the initial spark that leads a couple to marriage and a family, and it can even be a positive through out marriage. I think you have a choice though about what you do with that attraction, if you focus it inward, it becomes lust.


Could you explain this? Thanks!


If you are only thinking about your own pleasure…not about the good of the person to whom you are attracted.


Sexual attraction is not only acceptable, it is actively approved. Read the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon). It is about being passionately in love. The girl confesses to sneaking out at night to see if her lover is returning. The images of intimacy are striking. The two are unbearably eager to be with one another.
Yes, God is in love with His people just like this. Each and every one of us, individually. Knocks you out, doesn’t it?



Just a short PS to the previous post.
Lust goes beyond physical attraction in that lust does not care about the other’s response. Lust concentrates on self and shows no respect for the other’s feelings. Enjoying the beauty and sexuality of another is normal and proper. Demanding the body of another for one’s own pleasure is not.



I’d say it becomes lust when one engages in fantasy encounters or intentionally harbors a strong desire for improper encounters. There would be other ways I’m sure.



Here is what the catechism has to say on lust:

2351 Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.


I answer your question with another question.

Is one looking at the heart or the chest?


The heart is sexual attraction. The chest is lust.

Without sexual attraction, the human race would come to a screeching halt.

As a woman, I may be initially attracted to a man because of his mind, but there has to be some sexual attraction present for me to want to marry him and have his children.


Or, similarly, are the two “making love” or are they just…

well…there’s no way to finish that sentence without getting banned. :wink:

It’s the difference between physically expressing your love for her, or just using her to satisfy yourself.

Or, put it this way: Would it make a difference to you if we were to substitute another woman for your wife in the encounter? No one that you necessarily know and like, just some random pretty woman you would find physically attractive. If the answer is honestly “no, the experience would be just as fulfilling”, then you are just indulging lust.

Either that or your marriage needs a lot of work.


Being in love and being sexually attracted is not exactly the same. Sexual attraction is on a more biological level, whereas being in love is a bit more abstract. It’s still biochemically influenced, so you could say it’s biological, but it’s different.


Merely wanting a positive response from the other party won’t eliminate lust, either.


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