When is love really lust?


Hellow, My name is Brian and I’m also super cool, but I have several questions in regards to purity. When I was about 13 and 14 I always thought, that a thought in order to be in impure, had to be full pornography, but I was older I was told that it could be just about anything as long as it was used to “excite” myself physically. But what does this meen? Does this meen I can’t feel emotions for a girl, when I notice her beauty? And if so would that meen its basically a sin to fall in love before marriage? Or what about when it pains people to be away from another person? Is that wrong? As you can see I’m very confused. Its obvious to me that looking at a dirty magazine to excite yourself bellow the belt would be considered a sin of lust, but is it also bad to stare at a girl in the face in “amazement” of her beauty for an emotional reaction? I know this sounds rediculous, but as you could have guessed its been causing me some problems.


Hi Brian,

Lust consists of deliberately causing oneself sexual pleasure mentally and /or physically.
We all know the difference between simply feeling an emotion with feeling sexual arousal. In themselves emotions are morally neutral. Recognizing the physical beauty of a member of the opposite sex can be a very good thing. But if one looks with the intention of getting aroused, then such behavior is sinful. Staring at people is really not polite, but it itself, it is not a sin. However, seeking situations that will give us emotional pleasure without consideration for the other person can be sinful.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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