Would you consider this a sin, if so, how grave?

Earlier today, I was on a website that essentially gives you random pages to look at that are supposed to be interesting. I was given a page that essentially has some pictures of females, some of them were partially nude. The images, however, were not pornographic. I did look at the images, so there is the consent. But as I said, nothing was pornographic, in my view. Some of it might have been suggestive to a small degree, but I did not have any lust as a result of looking at these. I did not have a sexual desire, or fantasy, or anything like that. I just looked at them, and thought the women were very beautiful. Which is what I might have done looking at a medieval painting that portrayed partially nude females, except these were picture images and not paintings.

So, clearly I consented to look at these images. But could this be considered sinful, considering the fact that this did not result in any lust?

I am really rather concerned about this. Would it perhaps be a near occasion of sin, and does a near occasion of sin mean that a sin has been committed? :shrug:

In addition, how could I have “full knowledge”, seeing as I still am very much in doubt considering the ethics of this act? These thoughts came mostly after I saw these images, I didn’t really think of or see the possible seriousness of it in the moment.

some of them were partially nude. The images, however, were not pornographic.

Well if you don’t mind me asking do you know what the website’s purpose was? Was this just a website full of partially nude women or was it a website with a different purpose that had photos of women. What I mean is for example was this a medical site that happened to have partly nude people for educational purposes or was this a site like maxim. Clearly maxim is pornographic regardless of the women only being partially nude because the intent is to induce sexual arousal. Just as it is clear maxim is pornographic it is also clear that a medical site thats sole purpose is education is not meant to be pornographic. Merriam Webster’s definition of pornography is this;“movies, pictures, magazines, etc., that show or describe naked people or sex in a very open and direct way in order to cause sexual excitement”. Now this clearly would put maxim or playboy in these categories but really you could still use a medical site as pornography. In reality pornography is essentially a media of sort that you use for sexual arousal. So there definitely is a wide array of things that could be coined as pornography if used in such a way. I think the biggest thing is intent. Are you intending for this material to arouse yourself? I think this is the question that must be asked. If you were aroused by something but did not want to be aroused and did not want it to happen then really you would not be using that as pornography.

Earlier today, I was on a website that essentially gives you random pages to look at that are supposed to be interesting.

This can be a risky thing to do depending on the situation. I have used stumbleupon before and never had a problem with it giving something like this. I can attribute that to making sure under my “interest” columns on the profile I didn’t mark anything that I knew would be of questionable result. Still it can be risky and I do not use it anymore. Again without knowing what the primary purpose of the page that came up on you was I can’t really give much of an answer as to whether you should really continue using the website.

Some of it might have been suggestive to a small degree, but I did not have any lust as a result of looking at these. I did not have a sexual desire, or fantasy, or anything like that. I just looked at them, and thought the women were very beautiful. Which is what I might have done looking at a medieval painting that portrayed partially nude females, except these were picture images and not paintings.

Again more of a context would be helpful but if you were looking at paintings that had partially nude(or even full nudity such as a painting of adam and eve.) people in them and were not meant to cause arousal and you were not aroused then that is not sinful but it could be a near occasion of sin.

So, clearly I consented to look at these images. But could this be considered sinful, considering the fact that this did not result in any lust?

If you didn’t lust and you had no intent on using the images in a sexually explicit manner that is good however it probably was not the most prudent thing to do to stay on the website and scroll through the images. Near occasions of sin are not necessarily sin if you immediately try your best to get out of the situation and resolve to avoid them in the future. For example if an former alcoholic were to be bought a drink by someone who did not know that the person was formerly an alcoholic it would clearly be a near occasion of sin to drink the drink because one will lead to two and so on. So the alcoholic would have to be prudent and not take the first sip. So it is sinful to refuse to avoid near occasion of sin and thus lead yourself into sin.

All in all this all lies in context and without more I can’t give much more guidance. Also note this is just an off the top of the head remembrance on teachings on moral theology I could not find in a quick search the official Catholic definition of pornography or official guidance though I know the documents are out there. It is my hope someone else can provide those for you as I am short on time right now other wise I will look for and add them later.

God Bless,

Zooman

In response to your first query, it was from stumble upon, and I believe the page was reviewing women in motion pictures that are beautiful. I like good motion pictures and I like to find out about new ones, so movies is marked as a stumbleupon interest. I can’t give that many details about the site because I really don’t remember them because I was not very invested in the site when I was going through it, I was just scrolling through pages and going on to the next one.

And no, I was definitely not using the material to arouse myself, nor did I search it out for that purpose, or search it out at all for that matter. And frankly, I did not feel myself to be aroused.

In response to your first query, it was from stumble upon, and I believe the page was reviewing women in motion pictures that are beautiful. I like good motion pictures and I like to find out about new ones, so movies is marked as a stumbleupon interest. I can’t give that many details about the site because I really don’t remember them because I was not very invested in the site when I was going through it, I was just scrolling through pages and going on to the next one.

Well it was not sinful for you to stumble upon it(no pun intended). However a lot of movies(and by that I mean most) nowadays are quite sinful and tempting in all sorts of ways. This is where the cardinal virtues of prudence and temperance come in. I really think the bottom line is to be prudent and once you realize that something could be a near occasion of sin then practice temperance and cut yourself away from it. Considering only some of them were partly nude it really doesn’t appear that it’s purpose is anything more than to show beauty however it’s erroneous to think that dressing immodestly means more beauty which this website(like most of the media) seems to be implying in some but not all of the photos as you have said. All in all this can be a near occasion of sin if you are not careful so just be extra prudent.

And no, I was definitely not using the material to arouse myself, nor did I search it out for that purpose, or search it out at all for that matter. And frankly, I did not feel myself to be aroused.

Right I understand that and like I said you are not using it as pornography but I would still avoid the partially nude ones in an attempt to be extra prudent because as Venerable Fulton Sheen said frequently “We would not be so thirsty had we not once tasted water”. Also I would mention this to your confessor and or a priest that you talk to and see what he thinks of it.

I feel that if you felt sinful in any way by looking at photos of naked ladies that could not be regarded as pornograpic , then I think you have moral issues that need attention …
Heaven help me , because iv seen my step daughter and her friends barely dressed as they were growing up, and it had no effect on me what so ever… So where is the sin ?

I don’t think it can be a sin to look at nude persons if it is not pure porn or “soft-sex” site. Women are beautiful because God want them to be, and I reckon women do like to look at [nude] men as well, and if that does not lead to any sinful act it can not be a sin. But there is always a certain risk to watch persons who are nude, not a big one but still. I do know (now) that US and Canadian Catholics have a “higher moral” then we have in Europe. Here we do not see a sin in every corner we may look, and that does not mean we sin more, we just don’t think that all might be a sin.

Personally I would not search for web-sites with nude people, and I think it is hard to just find one by accident, if I however would find one and if I would start to look at it would not affect me in any way, my faith is strong enough to stay out of that sort of sin. Once masturbation was some sort of a problem for me but I did promise God to not do it anymore and that was enough for me, no problem anymore with that.

When we think about sin we may go to far in our thought’s. Most of the things we do become a sin first when we make it one. Let us say we see a picture of a nude woman, maybe in a erotic pose, that is not a sin we do, she did it. And if it lead us to sin she is the “guilty” one, she did made us sin. Very few things are sinful if we really think about it. If all really would be a sin we should stay at home with no TV or computer and no magazines because there might be a picture of a woman/man in underwear, that however is not a sin, it is normal ad in a normal life. And if there is a “sex-scene” in a movie we watch on TV there is a need to “cover our eyes” only if we think it is a sin. But it is not a sin, except for very old-fashion people. It is two people doing their job, I can’t think that they really do something they should not do when there are a bunch of people around them and lights and cameras and all and everything, besides many movie stars have what they call a “body double”. So please, try to not seek sin where there are no sin, live your life, pray and attend Mass, confess if you sin but try to understand that there are much more “lawful” things then sins. And if you are prone to commit sin, work on your faith, that you can change and build stronger, the world we live in is much harder to alter.

No. It clearly isn’t a sin.

With respect, have you ever heard of scrupulosity? This worry of yours borders on this condition and should be avoided as it’s unhealthy. I’m a woman. If I go to Rome and look at Michelangelo’s nude male paintings and statues is that a sin? Is it a sin when the Pope, who is surrounded by such female art in the Vatican, looks at it? Talk to your confessor and get some perameters or you are going to drive yourself nuts and in the end just give up entirely as you’ll never feel quite good enough.:shrug:

I hope you realize that questions like this are AGAINST the forum rules.

This can ONLY be discussed with a priest.

As a rule of thumb, if you are in doubt, go to confession.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.