Q&A – When Does Being Attracted to Someone Become Lust?
Written by Jenn Arman | September 26, 2012
When does being attracted to someone become lust?
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).