Sexuality and Lust

How is it possible for the human race to continue since males are sexually attracted to females, and vice versa?

If I look at a woman and feel turned on, how is that not lust? Is it lust?

Do I have to physically suppress any sexual attraction to woman in order not to commit lust?

Before I began understanding my faith, I wasn’t worried about if I looked at a woman, felt sexually invigorated, attracted, etc. to her.

Is it wrong for me to notice a woman’s curves?

If I have automatic sexual feelings, generic feelings about sex, is that lust?

I am certainly TRYING to stop, so God knows I’m trying. I don’t want to make God angry and I certainly don’t want to go to Hell. But at the same time, I LIKE looking at woman, many of them are just beautiful…

I still do not have a good definition of lust. Yes, entertaining the thought. But does “entertaining” also mean, enjoying the beauty? The woman lingers. I always try to think of something else.

Does this all make sense as to why I am a complete basket case about this?

I know what I am going through is because I truly want to please God, and I just can’t. I used to be involved in so many sins of the flesh, I could fill a 500 page novel with them. I’ve 100% completely cut out ALL of them, repented, confessed and so on. But it is SO easy not to do an ACTION. But to have a thought. ONE THOUGHT of LUST. = HELL. How can one person, a male no less, never think about a woman, ever, EVER?! I can’t shut off my brain and I can’t go about living like a hermit.

If my brain automatically thinks “I’d like to have sex with her” almost like a Pavlovian response, is that lust? How do I stop that? Is it because I am now so hyper-conscious of my mortality and lust and eternal salvation that I am trying to be super-human in my feelings and emotions?

I’ve asked these questions of three separate priests and not received any sort of substantially reasonable answer. I continue to get the same answer. “Notice the woman, acknowledge God’s beauty in her, and say a prayer.” How can I go the rest of my life basically never noticing a woman? I can’t remove myself from life. I can remove all television, Internet, travel, working out at gym and so forth, but I have to work, but there are women at work. And doing all of those other things seem totally unreasonable and I have NO peace. I have a strong feeling God didn’t intend it to be this way, for me to feel this way. I feel like I am not really lusting, but rather Satan is planting these doubts in my head. But then I feel like maybe it is God speaking, telling me to run from any temptations to save my mortal soul. I’m so tired of this. I can’t continue to go the rest of my life trying to avoid any contact with attractive woman. This can’t be right…

Firstly, PEACE.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines lust as :

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. (2528)

There are many other passages in the catechism that may help you understand. I suggest you look through it :slight_smile:

You sound young. The fact is that it is possible to notice women, and notice their beauty, without having lustful thoughts. Sometimes it’s hard, but, like, okay, you see a woman and you think you’d like to have sex with her, but why? Because she’s attractive? That’s a terrible reason! Understandable, but still. When you look at a woman like that, you reduce her to something that you want to use, not a soul created by God to be cherished.

I’m not judging, I’ve struggled in this area, too, I’m just trying to share what I’ve come to realize.

If the thought comes automatically, don’t dwell on it, and teach yourself to look away, and don’t call it back to mind. For a sin to be mortal, it must be a grave matter that you know is a grave matter that you commit with full knowledge. Involuntary thoughts cannot be said to be done with full knowledge, but be careful not to delude yourself in that regard. Frequent confession helps tremendously.

I’m not totally sure myself that beauty and “sexual attraction” are necessarily the same thing. Perhaps there is some possible overlap. You can find beauty in geometric shapes, a sunrise and sunset. Actions of people. Ideas have beauty. Beauty is an expression of inner truth. So God is beauty. Truth and Love. Sexual attraction is relative. And depends on who is looking. Beauty is objective. If properly explained and seen by one it is seen by ALL. Unless there is a problem in the viewer.

Lust I believe you are very much correct on. In a state of grace and in a constant state of meditation or communication with the Holy Spirit. One begins to see the difference. Think of the women at the bank. And on the news. They are attractive and you can see shape. But they are well and properly dressed. Dignified and attractive in attitude (mostly). Women who “let it all hang out” are not Beautiful, possibly attractive sexually. and incite lust most definitely.


This is a very good question. I remember a pastor telling me once that it was ok to admire someone’s beauty without feeling lustful about that person, for example wanting to have sex with them and other impure thoughts that can lead in that direction. However I’m not sure what the catholic church says about this, but from my own experience if we do feel these things, we can always ask God to give us the strength to try our best to overcome the feelings when they become hard to control. As a rule it’s harder for men that way since men have a higher sex drive than women for that reason. However, I just remind myself that if I think lustful thoughts, then it could lead to acting on it. So when it happens I ask God to give me strength. That helps a lot.

I agree with your contradistinguishing between beauty and sexual attractiveness which leads to arousal…and now we’re getting more philosophical!..

So you can observe beauty and appreciate beauty and it is not sinful, it is good and actually can be very good…but

…if you observe sexual attractiveness in order to ‘appreciate’ it, it is sinful? Thoughts?

Here are the rules I go by:

#1-To not realize women are beautifull would be a big falsehood.
#2 - With beauty comes a great power, so we have to be cautious around women. Never think that you have a hold on lust, that would be prideful.
#3- I forget in what writing but John Paul II says that we should not fear confronting women. So dont be afraid to pass by women or avoid contact with women all together.
#4-Remembering #3, there are some times that it would be a good idea to flee women. Ex, If a woman is flirting with you while your married. Also St. Bonaventure says in his work about the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit, under Wisdom, that we should flee women. I take that as always wanting to be around gorgeous women can lead to trouble. Solomon learned that the hard way. My wife likes to watch the Bachelor, but out of respect for her, I would rather refrain since the show is loaded with gorgeous women.
#5-Always look at the whole of the woman, not trying to focus on specific body parts. A woman is more than a body, she has a soul as well. If you keep looking once, twice, three times at specific body parts then you may not be respecting the woman as a whole.

I hope this helps. If I think of any more I will write them later. Peace!

Let me also add this. Maybe for clarification. None of this scrupulosity came about until I started exploring my Catholic faith. I’m not blaming the faith or losing the faith.

Also, I have a great tendency towards sins of the flesh. My past includes lots of pornography, masturbation, sleeping around, and other sins like that. Contraception, IVF, and sterilization. All of those things I no longer do, and for those I cannot take back, I wish I never did and am truly sorry for. That said, watching a lot of porn has ingrained a lot of bad things into my head that don’t just go away. I’m truly 2 years out from all of it, but those images, thoughts, feelings, memories don’t go away that quickly.

And I should clarify too, I’m not young, but I’m not old. Not yet 40, but not 30 either. Also married, with kids.

When I see a woman say who is wearing something I would like to see on my wife, or see a style of clothing I like on a woman, or simply the way her hair is, it can A) trigger thoughts of sex, but not necessarily with her. Just gets my engine going. It isn’t that I want to have sex with her, but more so that what she is wearing, etc. makes my blood get reved and because she is the thing that started this normal sexual response, I “attribute” to her the sexual desire when that really isn’t the case.

Also, all of those years watching porn makes it easy to “see” something into a particular motion, aka: watching a pony tail will trigger a specific sort of scene. I KNOW it is unhealthy, but I can’t not have memories. I do my best to stop them, but they continually APPEAR without warrant.

Oh, and as you about to see even more how totally messed up I am… my wife is attractive. I love her. When we got married, she was (you read correctly) hot. Then she had kids. It’s been six years since we had kids and still the weight hasn’t come off. For all of you ladies out there, you realize that men are visual. I’ve done the right thing and never once called my wife fat, or insinuated anything. I’ve always been kind and supportive. But her extra weight is so unattractive and I have a great suspicion that this is furthering my problem.

So, this is just another additional level to my problem. I pray, I pray, I pray. I make progress, and fall every day, every day, every day. I just don’t want to die in a state of mortal sin.

I think it would help if my wife lost the weight. I try and channel any feelings outside to her, so whenever another attractive woman might get the better of me, I “insert” her into the mental image. I think that’s okay.

But if she were to go back to her hot sexy weight before kids, I think that would help, but how do I tell my wife that because she is overweight I find that less sexually appealing and it may be contributing to my lustful thinking !!!


There is no doubt that pornography can scar a soul. Take it from me, I was addicted to pornography in my college years and I can truly say that since then not easy to look at a woman in the correct manner for me as well. Although I am repentant of the pornography (and fornication as well) it has still scarred my soul.

If you can, look at your wife in a different light. Look at the beauty of her soul and the love she has for you. Then her body wont be of so much importance.

Dont worry, with Gods grace you can overcome your struggles.

Sex is always a lowered-order desire; choose to please only God and sacrifice all carnal pleasures. Why be hedonistic, indulging in raw natural pleasures, when you can receive the refined, supernatural pleasures of the Holy Spirit?

You have it backwards. Porn (along with other things) has distorted what you find attractive. If you try to fix this by making others change you will not grow in the virtue of chastity.

People often wonder why God made circumcision a part of His covenant with the Jews and I remember a Catholic apologist suggest that it was because women already offer their bodies when they bear children. I’ve read that a pregnant woman has so many hormonal differences that she could be a third gender, and it feels this way. Then there is childbirth, and breastfeeding. Your wife offered her body to bring your children into the world and the stretchmarks, fat, etc. evidence of what she gave up. Don’t make your love and affection one of those things.

I feel you are looking kind of superficially at women (again something that porn, and other aspects of out culture, does) and I encourage you to consider that women are have more going on than their outward appearance. You know this, but make it a habit. Whether you find a woman attractive or not, consider what makes her special to those that love her or value her (her employer might not love her, exactly, but does value her creativity or ability to talk co-workers out of trees.) Do this with men as well, for balance.

Also, don’t turn this into another way to assess a woman’s value or judge her. I read blog comments about Princess Kate well before her first pregnancy: the uncharitable comments about her body and suggestions that she was taking hormones to avoid pregnancy and that is why she was so thin. It. Was. Disgusting. I’ve never been so disappointed in “faithful” Catholics. Try not to fall into that trap.

What you were told by your priests is very good advice. Women were created by God different from men and they are pleasing to look at. Men are created by God and we were given the role of protectors of women especially of our wives. So, when you look at another woman, honor her and honor God; recognize the beauty she has because of God. Think of her as your sister in Christ (because she IS just that!) and find Christ that dwells within her. When you have thoughts of lust, pray to our Holy Mother and ask that she give you comfort and strength so that you don’t give in to thoughts of lust or acts of lust. Calm your spirit so you are not distracted by just the physical form and can focus on the woman’s spiritual being. Good luck and God bless you so you can carry your cross with dignity.:gopray:

Sexual attraction in and of itself is not the sin. The sin would be to act on it; this includes dwelling on your sexual attraction. Adultery in the heart is still adultery.

From your posts, you are clearly fighting sin and I commend you for it! :thumbsup:

Porn addiction is very powerful and not uncommon with today’s male regardless if they’re faithful to God or not. The best way to counteract this addiction, even if you’ve stopped watching it and masturbating to it, is to confess often and sincerely. Get to understand the addiction and the mechanism that causes you to revisit the images and concepts that get “your engine revving.” is a good start.

You’re on the right path and putting up a good fight. Know the evil one does not want to let you go easily so it will be a constant struggle but, with God on your side, you can win this one! God bless you and keep it up.:signofcross:

Its funny., my confessor likes to lighten up the mood sometimes and makes this comment… when staring at those pretty girls, some dressed immodestly, ask yourself , " I wonder what she is like to live with!!!"

Many of us married men on this post faced the same situation you’re in. We all change with time and living. My advice to you is to reflect on what attracted you to your wife to begin with. Did you fall in love with her “hotness”? Was it only physical? I’m betting not. If that’s accurate, your wife still has many attractive characteristics besides her physical condition and you just need to focus on those. Another thing you might do is take her to the gym when you go and work out with her. Focus on her and help her get back into shape and understand she may take more time because she hasn’t been going to the gym like you have. Make time to dote on her so she knows you still love her and aren’t just running away to the gym to ogle “hot chicks.” God bless you.

God bless you for fighting your porn addiction. It’s not easy but you can get rid of it with God’s help. :thumbsup:

I don’t think that seeing attractiveness as in sexual attractiveness is wrong. Lust is something you have to feed. It burns like a fire and the more you kindle it you are tempted. But because of habit and not seeing clearly, we begin to lose sight of observing “sexual attractiveness” and automatically go into “burning mode” and start kindling. Some of the trouble is that women will directly incite lust. They go half dressed. And that should bother them. Like I mentioned women on the news and bank tellers are properly and ncely dressed. Like a woman should be. I can observe attractiveness. but they don’t incite me to go burning on all thrusters continually.



I think lust. In my observations is intentionally doing something to invite a situation that is compromising your chastity. Seeing a woman and becoming attracted. Then going on to invite lust via a series of steps. I have seen online where a 9 year old girl is considered beautiful. She is a young model. I looked at this girl. There is absolutely no sexual attraction as she is pre pubescent. But I might be able to see some beauty. Hence my stance is beauty can be something other than a sexual attraction. Though sexual attraction is considered beauty. It has to be coming from God. There is nothing unbeautiful or “ugly” from God.

A thought such as “She is sexually attractive. So I am going to entertain thoughts so I can masturbate tonight.” Is making something lustful.


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