Where is the line between lust and being attracted?

For the record, I’m sure this question has been posted millilons of times on CAF.

But the answers usually are “follow your conscience” or something of that sort.

But, as a scrupulous person, I don’t really know if I can trust my conscience, or at least, not yet.

I’ve memorized the definition of lust, and I’ve read Jimmy Akin’s article, and pretty much know it word for word.

But where do you think the line crosses?

Here’s my case: I see a girl about my age in the airport. I start to think, “wow, she could be beautiful,” and so I try to look at her face. SHe turns out to be ugly, and I immediately turn away.
I don’t thi this is specifically lust, but I still feel like a jerk for turning away just because she’s ugly.

What about when you get excited to see a girl who you are attracted to? I’m not talking about being aroused, I’m talking about when your heart is beating, etc.

Thanks for answering this question you’ve probably seen a million times.

My advice is to ask a priest that you trust.

Lust is a disordered form of love.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you find a particular person to be unattractive, then it would be morally acceptable to feel sexual indifference toward the said person.

Ensure that your lack of sexual interest in this person will not compel you to mistreat them.

sexual attraction --> You enjoy the person for who they are, using their physical form as a starting point for the attraction.

Lust --> Enjoying the person solely for their sex appeal, or for their physical form.

Here’s a question - can you control your heartbeat with an act of the will?

No. Of course not.

Sin always involves and act of the will. Being physiologically aroused is not an act of the will, so no, what you describe does not fit the Church’s definition of sin in general or lust in particular.

Moreover, it is a natural response. Natural - as in - that’s the way God made us. Being excited by a beautiful girl is completely natural.

Lust would be something like being excited and then trying to picture the girl naked in your head, or imagining doing x,y,z with her. Deliberate sexual thoughts in this case constitute the sin of lust. But the mere experience of excitement is not the sin of lust.

God gives us love=you see young lady or in your age group. Pheromones and her appearance draw your attention. Your eyes get wider and you think wow. Your thinking of how to get to know her. Are you thinking of marriage or a brief exciting acquaintance.
Are you leaving her clothes on or not?
Satan gives us lust=Pheromones +removing clothes w eyes. Thinking brief, exciting acquaintance.

My husband and I fell in love at first sight. His Irish brogue got me and his army uniform Ft. Dix NJ USO dances. We would go by bus after psych class at nursing school in PHilly. I was going to be a nun but he changed that. I wouldn’t take his clothes off. I couldn’t do that. We were 19-30yo young women engaged to be marries (some of us) in nursing school. We had anatomy classes. We bought a book about what happens on our wedding night. ONe sentence was “he will titillate our breasts” So someone got out the dictionary and looked up titillate. We were sooo naive.
Too bad I can’t share some other hilarious things about how naive I was. Growing innocent was so beautiful. My kids didn’t get it so lucky. There is this subculture on the streets. Oh well, they survived.
We both told our friends we were going to marry that person on our way back home that night. The third dance he gave me a sentence in gaelic that said I love you. I figured it out but I found someone who understood gaelic=not easy. I grew up in little Italy in Philly.
The first night though we were drinking sodas and I was saying, " if I ever got married, I wanted 4 kids and there names would be(all gaelic-i’m 3/4 Irish). My family takes care of their old parents. What did his do? They were in Ireland. His dad was dead. But he knew everything. We had 4 kids and they were named as I said. He liked them. God gives you the desires of your heart. We will celebrate 49years Aug 26th. Boy, girl, boy girl.
49yrs is a long time for lust but for better or worse was a vow and the worse got better… I’ll have to ask him if he took my clothes off that night. HMMM
Hope I answered your question and gave you a laugh and something to think about.
No sex before marriage. Avoid the occasion of sin.
in Christ’s love
tweedlealice :slight_smile:

sexual attraction --> You enjoy the person for who they are, using their physical form as a starting point for the attraction.

Lust --> Enjoying the person solely for their sex appeal, or for their physical form.

This response.

Visible beauty… in nature, in the flesh, in art, in music, are all instruments that are used to understand God & his craftsmanship. Seeing the beauty in flesh is something that is easily corruptible because it may be twisted into being an object used for our pleasure, rather than the face of a being that possesses infinite value & dignity. This is why St JPII explains that the sin of pornography is not that it reveals too much of a person, but that it reveals far too little.

What a scream.
You reminded me of a schoolboy joke I haven’t thought of in years.
How do you titillate an ocelot? (Apologies in advance if this is judged inappropriate here.)

The man I was stuck with before my husband had a perpetual issue of seeking out beauty in women. His brain constantly put women into “hot” or “not” and I believe he could not escape from that prison. Eventually, this conpulsive behavior pulled him onto the Internet where he had access to millions/billions of faces to judge. It was almost like he got addicted to a video game in judging women. Witnessing this, I was indeed hurt greatly, but also praying for his conversion & healing of this prison he was in. I would not say this conpulsive behavior was “lust” but a blindness to see God’s dignaty in each creation. It is here where men lead women. When disorders of the human person become skewed, the man has an enormous influence on the women. They desire a man’s attention and affection. In witnessing a man’s disorder, many women will change their God given creation to recieve the love they crave. This is the ripple effect of the sin.

You can be attracted to someone because they may have a Captivating personality,
If you feel lustful towards someone, I’d assume you’d know the difference

  1. I would not call lust a disordered form of love. I think I understand what your seeking to get at but I would not call it a form of love. It is lust.

  2. While I also understand what your seeking to say I think in the last part there - such is not going to be helpful for a person who struggles with scruples and lead them to misunderstandings. So I would not suggest that as a definition of lust.

CCC: 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.


Thank you for saying this. You put it very eloquently and concisely.

My comment on the OP: There is nothing wrong with a man being attracted to a woman, and I don’t think the sin here is not so much lust as it is something else… when a man starts judging women of their value to them by their attractiveness to him, not only has he discriminated against those he found not worthy of his respect, but also the woman that he deemed attractive and therefore worthy of his respect/attention. Its also incredibly disrespectful to God (its his creation you deemed ‘ugly’) and to that very person to be thinking in the manner you described here, not to mention valuing a woman on her looks, even if you think she is beautiful- most men don’t realize that is also hurtful to that ‘beautiful’ woman since women want to be valued by** who they are **by their man, not by their looks.

What are you going to do when your future wife whom you married because she was in the beautiful category, suddenly because of illness or age or stress puts her suddenly in your ‘ugly’ category? Better you look for the real gem in people and not worldly attributes or you will have some real ugly sore spots in your life. Your type of thinking here is what divorce is made out of.

Edit: Actually re-reading my statement, I do believe this is lust- valuing a person on their looks, how they can satisfy you without caring for they are.

I wish so much that many more people would understand that statement. It is beautiful, but only when most others around you are also growing up innocent. What hope do children today in this nation have to have that chance to grow up innocent? :frowning:

There is a lot peace in innocence. Innocence is not the same thing as ignorance or being blind, contrary to popular modern day belief.

my husband is better at translating on the bridge jokes but I think I got it
The card he bought me started out sayng," So many years ago, I promised to take care of you and love you, etc till forever.
NOW, FOREVER IS HERE…He is 74 and on oxygen with bad emphysema. He is like the ever ready bunny. He keeps on tickin’ Jesus is the rock on which I stand. When my Macushla (Michael) graduates to glory Jesus will hold me up.

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