[quote="rkwittem, post:1, topic:327588"]
I know this question seems simple, but it has baffled me for a long time.
We are supposed to be attracted to the opposite sex...few would people argue this point. That's how we're wired. My question is simple- isn't being sexually attracted to someone basically a nice way of saying you lust for them? People are not sexually attracted to people they don't want to have sex with (on a biological level). I know there are shades of attraction, but the nuts and bolts of it is what it is- a biological predisposition for it.
The way I've always seen it, it seems like being attracted to someone is a near occasion of (the sin of) lust. If that's the case, why is it even permissible? A "necessary evil" doesn't seem to jive with the belief that "God is infinitely good and makes all things good." I'm not saying this to challenge my faith or whatnot- I'm genuinely baffled.
On a more personal note it's driven me crazy. I hate admitting this, but it has completely shackled me when it comes to forming any semblance of a healthy (and moral) relationship with women. I'm only 25, so it's not the end of the world, but I still get a little envious of people who seemingly have no problem with liking women and don't even consider what they're doing as amoral or wrong. So what message did I miss?
I would argue that Church doctrine disposes Christians to a different, and more inherently noble and dignified (for 'thou art a royal priesthood') manifestation of our sexuality. It's on something of a higher plain compared to the general population's rather gun-ho or haphazard attempts at realizing it (it's governed by a strctly pragmatic, so to speak, philosophy). The Church, however, sees humanity rightly as a single family and, following in the ancient tradition of the people of God, encourages her children to marry from and in the house or family of God. Our religion teaches that all marriages are and should be arranged marriages; arranged, namely, by God our Father. Hence prayer is important because marriage and who we marry is a vocation and part of God's providence and love for us.
Okay. So what about putting theory into practice? Firstly, in my experience, learn to distinguish an appreciation of beauty as such, of which women are naturally and often examplars of by nature, and lust as such: it's perfectly fine, good and right to appreciate beauty being manifested in a woman; it's right and fine to appreciate it. However, lust is when we have reduced the person on account of desire for gratification to a mere instrument: we see them not as a person who is inherently loveable as such but as an object. In lust, we forget that a woman is a daughter of Eve and Mary and a sister to us in God. We forget our primitive vocation as men that we are always and above all to defend, protect and uphold woman and defend her honour and dignity and respect her body. We forget that she will be somebody's wife and somebody's mother one day- maybe ours or maybe consecrated or set aside by God for Himself.
Still, what about practice? Prayer and the study of cultured romance is my answer. Our sexuality is good and natural. Good romance takes the friction, nervousness, seeming anarchy of the, so to speak, sexual arena away: it makes sexuality somewhat playful, innocent and artful. Now, I'm not saying act like a reincarnated Shakespeare or anything here: we live in a different time and different cultural milieu, however, love and romance are intrinsically timeless and perennial: like logic or rhetoric. Of course, as men, we will always have to risk exposing ourselves to getting our hearts broken or being made look silly when we are denied or declined, but we shouldn't be afraid of this: the trick is doing an examination of conscience and purifying our intentions: if we know that our intentions are/were pure and noble and that we have no sordid base desires in the mix, and that we truly had her interests, welfare or happiness in heart and mind, then we know that we approached any given woman who seemed special to us with pure hearts: i.e., there was nothing wrong in it and nothing to be ashamed of. It was honourable. That's the trick, because even if she says no you are still in a position to be friends with her. If she turned you down harsh probably she will see how well you took it and later perhaps feel compelled to apologize a bit and at least be friends: because no one believes there are too many good and decent men around or has too many such friends.
And above all, grace.
Hope this helps a bit!