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Christian Life

Q&A – When Does Being Attracted to Someone Become Lust?

Question:

When does being attracted to someone become lust?

Answer:

If you’ve ever seen a cute boy, then you’ve experienced attraction. Being attracted to someone simply means you find them interesting or pleasing in some way and you like them because of that.

Attraction can be based on personality, looks or both. Generally, our first reason for attraction is looks because it’s usually the first thing we notice about people. Before we even learn another person’s name, we’ve decided whether or not we think they are physically attractive; attraction to someone’s personality comes later as we get to know them.

Lust is different from attraction. Though it may begin as attraction, lust is an intense or overwhelming sexual desire for another person, like a craving or longing. Lust has its roots in selfishness and not in love. Lust is all about us–what we want and what sexual experiences we’d like to have with another person. It isn’t wrong to be curious about sex (many of us are before we get married), but it’s wrong to spend much of our time dwelling on how we’d like to satisfy sexual desire.

Lust makes our own sexual desire and the object of that desire (another person) an idol in our lives. Attraction is an acknowledgment that we find another’s appearance or personality pleasing, but it doesn’t consume our thoughts, it’s not motivated by strong desire for a sexual relationship and most of all it doesn’t distract us from what is most important in our lives–God.

If you find yourself distracted much of the time by thoughts (especially those of a sexual nature) about someone you’re attracted to or if nearly every thought of that person is accompanied by sexual thoughts or fantasies, then your attraction has or is turning into lust. If you find this happening to you, there are many ways to fight temptation, including prayer and evaluating the outcome of your decision.

Attraction and love aren’t selfish. They aren’t about simply fulfilling our own sexual desires. Love is selfless. It’s about patience, kindness and putting the needs of others above your own (1 Corinthians 13). Desire, craving, longing–these are all words that should describe our relationship with God, not people. Even once we marry, our desire should still be for God first.

PI girls, what do you do when attraction begins to turn into lust?

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11).

Image: Shutterstock

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20 Comments

  1. Project Inspired

    Posted by Fourninefournine on July 18, 2017 at 11:58

    I think its OK for a husband to admire, not lust after, his wife’s breasts .in song of Solomon ,Solomon admires his beloved’s breasts along with her eyes, teeth, and hair. They are just another beautiful part of her

  2. codykatiebelle

    Posted by codykatiebelle on October 13, 2014 at 11:19

    I find that it is very hard to resist lusting over someone during PMS. It makes it very very hard to keep my promise of purity, especially when they guy I am lusting over goes to my tiny school and I have to work in close contact with him every day. Does anyone have some advice for how to deal with this? I know that I can always talk to God about my problems, but I find myself in situations that could compromise my purity, and then it’s next to impossible to avoid going further. Although I have managed to stay as pure as possible up to this point, the more it happens, the harder it is to resist.

  3. Project Inspired

    Posted by liv4christ on October 13, 2012 at 11:40

    Can you be lustful without thinking about sexual things? Like is it lust to obsess over a guy, even if it’s not about sex?

  4. Project Inspired

    Posted by GlitterRosesSparkle on September 28, 2012 at 20:06

    I have not done anything with a boy yet, but I do think about sex. A lot.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by ForHim15 on September 29, 2012 at 13:09

      That’s okay, hon’, it’s a struggle for me sometimes, too. Jen, is there any way you could write an article about what to do if girls like us are caught in this type of situation?

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by BeMyLoveStory on September 28, 2012 at 21:03

      Once you flush out your mind of those thoughts, you’ll feel a whole lot better, trust me 🙂
      You’ll have a whole new perspective and be happier and a better person. Really.

  5. HurricaneMurphGirl

    Posted by HurricaneMurphGirl on September 27, 2012 at 16:22

    Thank you so much for this article! It really helped me understand the difference, and know what to stay away from and what is OK. Thanks so much!

  6. sofie-genesis

    Posted by sofie-genesis on September 27, 2012 at 08:55

    good article:)) i pray to god to help me to control myself 🙂 so i let the holy spirit step in and he helps me to focus on god.

  7. Project Inspired

    Posted by YouHadMeAt_Believe on September 26, 2012 at 13:53

    This was great! It helped me evaluate myself! I stopped looking at guys and sometimes avoided them, because I thought I was being lusty, but now I understand that i was just attracted to some guys. 🙂 I know now, the difference. 🙂 I’m glad I just feel attraction, and I’m going to pray for those who are confused, and I hope they find this fantastic article :3

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by TheMouseLover on September 29, 2012 at 14:05

      Hey, i have to ask, is your name inspired by the TobyMac song Me Without You, or did you just come up with it on your own?

  8. Project Inspired

    Posted by haley_nicole_4_Christ on September 26, 2012 at 13:31

    I really love your articles!! 😀

  9. Paris

    Posted by Paris on September 26, 2012 at 12:26

    Well written!

  10. Project Inspired

    Posted by Alexandra on September 26, 2012 at 11:58

    Thank you so much for writing this article! I’ve been worrying about this for a long time. Now I know the difference, and what I feel is definitely just attraction. 🙂

  11. Sarisa

    Posted by Sarisa on September 26, 2012 at 10:46

    i really liked this article. it’s helped me a lot!

  12. Project Inspired

    Posted by tyrell25 on September 26, 2012 at 10:06

    I think that lust is a natural part of attraction, lust is just lust when it happens without attraction. I.e. wanting to have sex with someone without knowing them.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by BeMyLoveStory on September 28, 2012 at 21:01

      Well I think what you said is partly true, however I think it is wrong to think about sexual fantasies about someone when you shouldn’t have sex with them, so before marriage.

      • Project Inspired

        Posted by picklejar on October 2, 2012 at 12:18

        I’m sorry, I didn’t describe what I meant clearly enough. One can’t control what pops into their mind initially, so if you see a guy and you notice that he’s attractive and your mind wanders a little, that’s not lust so long as when you catch yourself thinking this way, you ask God to help you control your thoughts better, and think about something else to keep your mind off it.
        It’s when you realize what you’re thinking and decide that you enjoy fantasizing about him so you keep doing it, that the thoughts become lust. It’s all about conscious intention.

        Of course, I completely agree with you that it’s wrong to have sex before marriage, and also to fantasize about it. It’s degrading to the object of your fantasies, and an affront to God.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by picklejar on September 27, 2012 at 06:31

      I think what they’re describing as lust is different from what you’re describing as lust. In most cases someone would at least be attracted to something about someone else (say, their laugh or their appearance for example.) to want to have sex with them. They’re just saying that it’s bad when it becomes something you dwell on, and takes time out of your day where you could be productive thinking about helping others and/or praising God.