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Tom wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have been trying to get a question answered by looking it up on the internet, but I am getting nowhere. If you can help, it would greatly be appreciated.

I am curious about lust and want to know if a specific situation implies lust.

  • If a person sees pictures of women in bikinis on Face book, finds those women attractive, and has seen the pictures more than once, is it considered lust?

Let me go into a little more detail before you answer the question.

  • If the person thinks these women are attractive but is not getting any pleasure out of it,
    is it wrong?

On the Internet, I am finding people who say:

  • looking at anyone in a bikini is lust, and others, who say
  • lust is only lust if it involves extreme sexual desire or orgasmic pleasure

If you could help, it would be greatly appreciated because it is hard to talk to people in person about this stuff, especially if what you are talking about ends up being nothing.

Tom

  { What is considered lust and what is not considered lust? }

Mike replied:

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the question.

The simple answer is right in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

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.

That said, if you watch something on T.V. or in a movie that you hadn't expected that was lustful, you can't be faulted for that, but if you knowingly put yourself in a situation where you know you may be open to a lustful environment, then you would be culpable.

In another answer, my colleague John said:

Now we must distinguish between temptation and sin. Being tempted is not sin. Seeing an attractive woman and having an immediate physiological response is an indication that you're body is working the way God designed it to work.

The hunger for sex is as legitimate as the hunger for food, but we can quickly cross the line from a natural response, to responding positively to the temptation by nursing the thought, welcoming the temptation, and taking it to the point of sin. That said, we should never confuse the predisposition to sin or concupiscence with actual sin.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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