When does it become lustful?


Sometimes I cant tell since I grew up with a lot of sexualized media that I guess I am somewhat desensitized to it.

To what extent does looking at someone and acknowledging to yourself that someone is attractive become lust?

I have cut out the most obvious forms of lust, like sex, porn, masturbating etc and tbqh, havent felt the need for either since I stopped. But I still sure find women to be attractive although not in the old ‘yeah i would totally tap that’ sort of way.

Its more, G rated way I guess, like I’ll know they are attractive, it’ll hit me like ‘wow shes really pretty’ then i may look for a little bit just to appreciate it a little then the feelings I get are more ‘would totally love to gf her and be seen with her’. -like an ‘innocent’ sort of appreciation but im not sure if my innocent is really innocent. lol but yeah, i know it sounds stupid but i dont know how to explain it

Also how about movies and such? Sometimes there is nudity or sex scenes and although i watch it i dont really feel anything towards it (but again im not sure if its the desensitization), is that still lust? if i feel myself feeling something towards it then Im sure i would mute it and look away during those parts


As I understand it, lust is very specifically sexual.

From the Catechism:

2351 - Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure…

Those other feelings seem innocent to me. I mean, even pornography can be appreciated from a technical or critical aspect. Well, some forms of pornography. But only if you can get past the lust. Most people cannot without going through the lust.

I once owned a “hentai” - or Japanese-anime-style pornographic - story game called “Three Sisters’ Story”. Unlike the others in its genre, which I really would masturbate to, this one actually had a very engaging story. I appreciated that. I still did end up “fapping” to it, as they say, but if a clean version of it could be made into a movie or something, it would be no less interesting to me.


Hi p1990,

Congrats on conquering your old ways of lust. You’ve come a long way and it sounds like you’re making great progress.

The above poster is correct, lust is more specifically sexual, but be aware that that doesn’t mean you can sin in other ways. Desiring to be with a girl because she’s pretty and you’d enjoy the social status or how you would look can still be sinful in a different way.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: Don’t just focus on avoiding impure actions but doing pure actions as well. Purity is all about appreciating the true beauty of others. Impurity gets bogged down by a body part, or how they’re dressed, etc. Whereas a pure person can appreciate the unique beauty in another.

So there’s nothing wrong with seeing a beautiful woman and admiring her beauty, but also train yourself to see things that are beautiful in women other than their looks.

Hope that helps!



God created both man and woman and gave us a natural attraction to the other gender so that we will seek out, marry, and have children. Being attracted to females because they are females is natural. Recognizing that they contain Christ as much as you do is a great way to keep your attraction healthy.

On the topic of nudity and sex scenes in a movie, if you bought the blu-ray/DVD for those scenes I would say that’s an act of lust. If it’s a brief scene and not the reason you purchased the movie, that’s a different situation. Like sitting in a theater and being surprised by a nude/sex scene. You didn’t know. The bottom line is, God knows what’s in our hearts; He knows the truth. God Bless you.


The first poster quoted the Catechism which was excellent but may need to go further to fully address the question.

Sinning by looking at a person whom you find attractive involves the intent of deriving sexual pleasure from the experience. Noticing that a woman has an attractive figure may trigger a sexual thought or pleasure, but at this point one is dealing with a temptation. The temptation becomes a sin when one becomes aware of a choice: “I could check this woman out or I could look the other way.” If one chooses to look again in order to gain some pleasure from the experience one has moved from temptation to sin. At this point we’re probably talking about venial sin, but all sin should be avoided.

I would say any movie that one thinks might lead to the sin of lust, either at the moment or later, should be avoided. Normally the nudity or partial nudity of an attractive woman in a movie is something a male should avoid.


If one is looking in order to have sexual pleasure - it is grave matter for mortal sin.

That is looking lustfully.

Choosing to “look again” does not mean necessarily that one was seeking sexual pleasure (though someone could fall into such). Though it can be a danger and it could be a venial sin.

The fact that one happened to notice a beautiful or attractive girl or even a well proportioned person- does not mean one has sinned. Let alone lusted . And it is important to note that attraction is different than lust.

Agreed. Avoid nudity…


I will re post here a post I did in the past.

If one engages with full knowledge and complete consent in lustful thoughts or seeks to arouse oneself deliberately or consents to sexual pleasure-- that sort of thing is grave matter.

But just to notice an attractive person - even if one deliberately notices again is not per se lust.

Catechism: 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. scborromeo.org/ccc/ccc_toc.htm

Jimmy Akin senior apologist at Catholic Answers:

"Jesus said…:

You have heard that it was said, `You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart [Matt. 5:27-28].

Translated a bit more literally, he singled out those who look at a woman “to lust after her.” (i.e., purposefully looking at her in order to incite lustful fantasies, not just looking at her and feeling attraction.)"

Dr. Peter Kreeft - famous quite orthodox Catholic Philosopher:

"Most people misunderstand the meaning of the word lust. They think it simply means strong sexual desire, or passion. And since that is natural and normal, they think Christianity teaches that something natural and normal is sinful.

But lust does not mean simply sexual desire, but deliberately inflaming your sexual desire for a woman or man who is not your wife or husband, or deliberately planning co commit adultery with them…

We are justly praised or blamed only for the good or evil things we freely choose, not for feelings and instincts that arise without our free choice. For instance, when you see a very attractive person of the opposite sex, your head naturally turns and your heart beats fast. That is not lust. But if you start to command your mind to fantasize about what it would feel like to go to bed with that person, that is lust."

From pg 95-96 “Your Questions God’s Answers” Ignatius Press.

Yes - men commit mortal sins by looking lustfully at women. Yes that happens. Such is a mortal sin (grave matter - and mortal sin if done with full knowledge and deliberate consent).

One can yes sin mortally (gravely -same thing) interiorly and even in looking at a person -but that is when there is lust. Sexual attraction is not per se lust.

Giving with full knowledge - complete consent to sexual thoughts and desires. That is lust. Seeking or consenting to sexual pleasure outside of marriage - that is lust.

A good regular confessor can help you work on these things.

If one sees an attractive girl - remember first she is a person - “wow she is beautiful” Or “she is attractive” or “Praise God for all beauty” …and generally - keep walking.

There can be various degrees of danger (temptation) present.

And one needs a reasonable custodia occculorum (custody of the eyes). Is important. But it needs to be a reasonable and prudent exercise. Like looking calmly away from persons who are rather immodestly dressed etc. Such is particularly important at in places like the beach ( and yes do not stare at women in bikini’s that can yes lead to lust). But I mean calmly…without stress without undue fear. One can be quick and calm at the same time. It is important yes to know yourself and know how to look away. And it is important not to confuse simple attraction with the grave sin of lust.

This is a somewhat difficult area - so a good confessor can assist.

closed #9

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