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Sexual desire vs Lust

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by Fivesenses, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. Fivesenses

    Fivesenses Member

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    It is not uncommon to ask a Christian who is dating or in a relationship, "what is the difference between sexual desire and lust?" and they look at you blankly wondering whether there's suppose to be a difference between the two. For a long time, I was trying to figure out the distinction between the two because I was sick and tired of being told that experiencing normal sexual attraction and desire for a potential spouse is equated to sin and lust, therefore should be suppressed. I hated seeing people filled with guilt and shame when they felt the sexual desire for their loved one (which frankly is normal and healthy if you are looking to marry that person....I would question my decision to marry if I don't want to make love with this person) despite knowing and making the effort to wait until marriage. The distinction never really came through until I read this from another site:

    "Lust is inherently the reduction of the other person to an object. Imagination is fine when you still care what your partner is thinking or feeling - that aren't really dehumanising or seeking only to fulfil your own greed/desires by allowing the fantasies to run wild. It only truly becomes lust when, in your heart, you accept that the other is only an object.
    It's like any other feeling: there's a difference between being angry and saying "they deserve to suffer", between being sad and saying "nothing can improve", and between being turned on and saying "all I want is a body". Put another way...attraction is appreciation. Lust is apathy".


    Do you agree with the above clarification? I thought it was just very clearly established and a good analogy if I need to help make it clear to fellow Christians. Any thoughts?
     
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  2. Ken Rank

    Ken Rank Well-Known Member

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    I don't personally have an issue with that definition. The word "object" seemed out of place at first reading but once I sat with it for a moment it fits because, the desire to "have" that person has overridden their ability to choose in the matter. Therefore, they are an object of desire rather than a human being who has say in the matter going on in the other persons mind and heart.

    That said... God gave us sexual desire but not for just anyone whom we find attractive. And there is a difference between finding somebody else attractive and having sex with them in your mind and heart. The desire we have should be for the one who becomes our spouse. Just because our culture has made sex a normal part of any relationship including that which is not bound by marriage, doesn't mean God has changed His view... in fact, He specifically said, "I do not change." Homosexuality can be considered legal in our culture, and accepted by the masses, and still viewed as sin by God. So while I appreciate the definition you shared, be careful not to come off looking like one who seeks loopholes in God's definition of sin. :)
     
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  3. Alithis

    Alithis Diciple of Jesus .

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    Does it require defining..I guess for some.
    Its not an unreasonable definition.

    Paul says if you walk in the spirit you won't carry out the desires of the flesh.

    We are to rule Over the flesh in all areas of life.

    But We must eat...is that not a desire. Yes it is.
    But then we are also to fast..
    Jesus never said IF you fast.he said WHEN you fast.
    So we see that in this too we are to take lordship.

    But what you have described in your definition is basicly..the law of LOVE.. Which never seeks its own gratification as an end goal.But that we may gratify another to “thier “ eternal good.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
  4. Mskriskris

    Mskriskris Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking blankly too lol.

    Desire and lust are in the same boat in that it is dwelling on the attraction. Lust is usually an intense version of desire which usually at that point your flesh is pretty much in the pilot seat. They are both about pondering on the act of pursuing.Attraction is not a conscious appreciation, it's a reaction of our flesh. I can't help what I'm attracted to, and sometimes we can be attracted to things we wouldn't appreciate. We often fall into this rabbit hold though that because the attraction exists without me willing it, then it must be something that is a part of who I am and can never change. What i'm attracted to could be for my good, or it could be towards my damnation.

    All that is not said though that when it does happen you are damned. But it helps to recognize it for what it is plainly at its core and its root. That all these things are the manifestation of our flesh.

    God was not asking to suppress it for we can't control it by ourselves. But to believe in him, and He will give us the power to flee from its evils.So is it evil to desire? No, but what your desires are on is what makes it evil. Instead of doing it ourselves suppressing and pretending that it's not there and not affecting us, we bring it to God to help us flee from its evils and turn to desires of the things that are according to His will in our lives.

    I appreciate what the article is trying to do, but for me, it makes it more complex than it needs to be.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  5. T-seven

    T-seven New Member

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    Many years ago I remember Dr. Ed Cole give this definition of love and it's 3 opposites (for time's sake I'll concentrate on only one).
    Love, he said "is the desire to benefit others at your own expense because love desires to give (John 3:16 as an example).
    The opposite to love (1)Hate (2)Legalism) is (3) Lust.
    the definition of lust being this, "lust is the desire to benefit self at other's expense because lust desires to get".
    Now having said that in all my years of marriage I doubt I have ever approached my wife and said, "Dearest darling wife perhaps we should disrobe and then proceed to mutually benefit one another in a respectful bout of intimacy".
    She would have me committed quicker than you can say "who's your daddy".

    Now to kind of tie this up with your quote.
    When sexual desire manifests itself in a person it is always to benefit self.
    Yes, you love your spouse, yes you respect your spouse, yes your desire is that she\he benefit from the entire experience etc., but sexual desire is not sharing a pizza, or equally dividing the money etc.
    No, it's deeper, at it's core it's a me thing.
    There is most definitely an element of selfishness in it
    no matter your love for your spouse.

    The difference is what goes on in our minds, our thoughts that turns the sex act into a bout of lust or love with the person I love.
    I hope I'm making sense.
     
  6. Wordkeeper

    Wordkeeper Newbie

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    The yetzer ra is not a bad thing. It was created by G-d, and all things created by G-d are good. The Talmudnotes that without the yetzer ra (the desire to satisfy personal needs), man would not build a house, marry a wife, beget children or conduct business affairs. But the yetzer ra can lead to wrongdoing when it is not controlled by the yetzer tov. There is nothing inherently wrong with hunger, but it can lead you to steal food. There is nothing inherently wrong with sexual desire, but it can lead you to commit rape, adultery, incest or other sexual perversion.


    Judaism 101: Human Nature
     
  7. Roseonathorn

    Roseonathorn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sexual desire or lust... well lets say You are not too popular among the ladies but You have a fat bank account so You go and buy some car that You lust after that also is a womanmagnet, then You risk getting your sexual desires met. Take one pick and drive out of town before the rest of the pack cling to your car. The problem with those cars is that You always have atleast one angry woman inside that is upset on the angry women left outside the car that wants to seduce the man to get in. So You better be outside town. After a while it is a bore and You buy some honourable car and let the hysteriamadams chase someone elses bankaccounts for free dinners.
     
  8. Dave-W

    Dave-W Our six grandchildren Supporter

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    Not really. The congregation I attended in college defined lust as a desire that had no legitimate resolution. That meant that any sexual thoughts or feelings before marriage was lust. Fantasy, desire, masturbating, wet dreams were all condemned in no uncertain terms. In fact if the leadership found out you were engaged to someone that you desired in a sexual way, they would cancel the engagement. (and did on a few occasions)

    But now I am a married adult (grandparent) and having studied it out more, I disagree with their draconian approach. There is a normal and healthy desire for release/orgasm. Imo it is a normal and necessary part of the maturation process. The plumbing need to be tested to make sure everything is in working order. As to the fantasy part, once I dug into Song of Solomon, I found a passage (starting in chapter 5 verse 2) where Shulamite masturbates while either dreaming or fantasizing about her man. (hint: the word "door" is not in the Hebrew text) And she is called "undefiled."

    So what is the lust that Matt 5 talks about? The context is the 10 commandments and the oral extentions to them. The word translated lust is epithumeo, the same word the LXX used for "covet." That indicates a sharp focus, almost an idolatrous desire for a specific individual, and not a more generalized desire. If my neighbor buys a fancy luxury sport car, I can want one too. That is not coveting. But if I want that specific car and plot as to how I can take it from him, that is coveting/lusting. So to look at a woman and lust after her means she is being treated like that car. You have to take her away (at least in your own mind) from her husband and make her yours. THAT is sinful lust.
     
  9. Halbhh

    Halbhh Hubble telescope saw in empty sky....galaxies! Supporter

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    It's a good distinction there about desire inside a marriage relationship, about a form of inside marriage desire that is less good. Of course, there are other sins possible, like desiring a person we are not married to, which can be 'lust' as you have it defined here above, but also could instead be 'lust' (as many use the word instead) that is simply desiring another person one isn't married to, infidelity. So these different uses for the word 'lust' could cause some confusion of course. I think you keep that distinction you have above, which is good and helpful, but also remember many people are using the word more broadly, with other meanings also, such as the adulterous lust Christ warns about, which doesn't necessarily involve seeing that other person as only an object.

    Keeping all that in mind, we are fine to have desire for our spouse. Of course, it's only natural, and ideally we will keep it as only natural, we won't elevate it as more important than other good things, but simply allow it naturally in it's own place, without adding special emphasis to it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  10. Halbhh

    Halbhh Hubble telescope saw in empty sky....galaxies! Supporter

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    Sometimes people think the Biblical language "he knew his wife" is an euphemism.

    But it isn't!

    Instead, it's getting to the essential and real thing -- true intimacy.

    So that distinction you have is a good one for marriages.
     
  11. Divide

    Divide Well-Known Member

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    I agree with part of it. I do not think that lust has to be a reducing of the other to be just on object. It is just a strong desire. When you dwell on it, it can become sin if you do not control your imagination. Mankind had to have desire, and it had to feel good...or we wouldn't be fruitful and multiply. Those who can control this burning within them and still keep focus on God first, will not have (much) problems in this area.

    The danger lies in the imagination. ...allow the fantasies to run wild? Oh, no. I think not. In

    Matthew 5:27-28 it says,
    27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old,‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.../

    Or in other words, your imagination can get you into trouble, so we should strive to not dwell on such things. When you dwell on it, it goes...Whoosh...down into your heart, and becomes a part of who you are. It becomes sin. Mankind says, you can think about it, but not actually do it, then you have not cheated on your wife etc..

    Scripture says you have just cheated on your wife and committed this sin of adultery. We will be judged on our very thoughts. So if your imagination and it's fantasies run wild and go to another woman...you're guilty. Imagination is a very powerful thing. Scripture speaks of imagination a few times. It also says to diligently guard your heart (so don't think on such things as that.)

    Paul says it's better to marry than to burn. He's talking about lust (desire). Anyone can have a dark thought pop into their mind. This is not sin! But when it comes up in thought, what do you do with the thought? If you dwell on it by entertaining the thought, then it goes into your heart and becomes sin.

    If you take the thought captive and cast it down (meaning to put it out of your mind...) and begin thinking about something else, then it does not become sin. Go read the scriptures for awhile to dwell on something else. I pray for a sanctified imagination.

    Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things...
     
  12. THE W

    THE W BORN APRIL 29TH 2012

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    sexual desire is normal and healthy. those desires when brought under obedience to God's Word will drive them to do what is right in making themselves into someone that the opposite sex would want to be with.

    lust is relegating someone to an object that is there for your sexual gratification. it is, in fact, dehumanizing and causes one to pursue sexual satisfaction in an illegitimate manner(ie masturbation). it is the act of taking sexual possession of someone in your mind that does not belong to you.
     
  13. Wordkeeper

    Wordkeeper Newbie

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    The yetzer hatov, appetite, is nature's mechanism to ensure nourishment and procreation through pleasure. All the pleasure chemicals oxytocin, dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are activated when we satisfy our appetites in natural and civilised ways, curbed and bridled through healthy eating and faithful marriage. Species would die out if there was no pleasure in engaging in eating or sex.

    It is when those appetites become idols, activities to be craved after, enslaved to, through gluttony, adultery, rape, molestation that they become yetzer hara, the evil impulse.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  14. toLiJC

    toLiJC Senior Member

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    since the "Fall" began there have been devilish/foul spirits leading certain people to deviation(s) from the normal - if they are cast out of humans completely and permanently, then there will be no more such deviations - this is the perfect criterion, which is practical, while the theoretical differentiation is not...

    however, there is also a logical criterion for causing evil, namely the fact that we should not cause/do any thing that is harmful or painful to our neighbor/cohabitant...

    an example of this is the story of Romeo and Juliet, their families thought they should not meet and be together, but the real or greater wrongdoers were not Romeo and Juliet, but rather the ones that preferred vendetta to love...

    Blessings
     
  15. Poppyseed78

    Poppyseed78 Well-Known Member

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    I completely agree with you. There is a huge difference between healthy sexual desire and lust.
     
  16. Roseonathorn

    Roseonathorn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    So if the couple said no we have no sexual desires or lusts or anything like that, we are not into that sort of dirty sinful thing. We only want to get married to take care of housechores together and we can not live together without being married can we, besides it will save money, maybe the minister would be happy. We will have a fully white relationship, hopefully. There is already enough children in this world. What would He say then. Do You think He would go ahead and marry them?
     
  17. Alithis

    Alithis Diciple of Jesus .

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    You are..but it need not be the case..
    And this can be tested..
    When she says no I'm tired..
    In the sight of God What is our response.. Cantbfool him he knows..

    Do we inwardly sulk... Most do.
    Is that a right response? Absolutley not .
    I raised fasting because it deals well with the topic in that it also is a denial of one of the most basic levels of desire mixed with need.

    The desire AND the need, Both legitimate ,to eat.
    Yet..we are to bring both the need and the desire into full submission to the spirit ..through fasting.
    And it's just so with sex.
    We are to bring every aspect of our flesh into submission ,to be Ruled by the spirit.utterly.

    So when our spouse says no...we are saying no
    Because love(eternal) has become the ultimate goal.not self gratification on any level.
    So if self wants and self desires and self is denied. The response to the denial is a measure of which is still in command ..the spirit or the flesh.
     
  18. Roseonathorn

    Roseonathorn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Today christianity deal with another problem, married couples that has zero sexlife together. However the man has problem with porn and the wife wish she had her man back. It does not help that other men think she looks fine. It wont help her sexlife a bit.
     
  19. Alithis

    Alithis Diciple of Jesus .

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    That's not a marital issue..that's a sin issue.
    Porn..IS adultery
    End of story.
    No one using Porn loves their wife .
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
  20. Dave-W

    Dave-W Our six grandchildren Supporter

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    That is an excellent question, and one that has been a source of confusion and condemnation for centuries.
    Only in part. While keeping your "partner" in mind, and caring for their thoughts and feelings is important; the quote does not actually address what lust is. (and equally important, what it is NOT)

    The Greek word translated "lust" is epithumeo (or some variant of it). It means any strong desire, either good or bad. Interestingly, in the Greek translation of the old testament called the Septuagint (or LXX), epithumeo is used in the 10 commandments to translate "covet." And in the Matthew 5 prohibition of lust, our Lord was talking about the 10 commandments. That means He was referencing the command "Thou shalt not covet." What is it to covet something? It is being jealous of what someone else has, with an eye of taking it away from them. It is not wanting something LIKE theirs, it is wanting their own possession.

    So if HE said to not to lust, and lusting after someone was mental adultery; then it is seeing someone that belongs to someone else and wanting to have her (and only her) for your own. Since He used the term "adultery" instead of fornication, it means she has to already be married.

    Which means just having sexual feelings for someone that is not married to someone else is NOT prohibited "lust;" no matter how strong those feelings are.

    Hopefully that will further clarify the issue.
     
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