The way many Christian leaders talk sexual lust is one of the biggest and most prevailing problems faced by men today. It is something against which we must be constantly vigilant, continually "bouncing" our gaze away from anything that could stir up the monster within.
I disagree. Sexual lust is not an easy sin to commit. It involves several key elements, all of which must be in evidence for lust to occur.
First, there needs to be desire on the part of the man. Well, that is not hard to determine. If a man has not had an orgasm within the past 24 hours there is probably desire. Ok, if he is young and hasn't had sex of some kind within the last two hours he many be easily aroused. Every day he wants to be stimulated and enjoy a climax. Desire is there. (Thank God!)
Second, he will want something to assist him in the pursuit of that desire. If his wife, the main object of his passion, is not available for a sexual encounter he will want to masturbate. Either in his imagination or online he will enjoy images of nudity and/or erotica and he will use those images to bring himself to climax. But has he committed the sin of lust?
Masturbation and Lust
Many people will admit that masturbation is not prohibited in the Bible. Then they will say that in theory it is ok to crank one out, but it is almost impossible to do so without committing the sin of lust. The problem is they misunderstand the notion of lust. They think that lust is simply strong desire, and that stirring up that desire with an image crosses over the line into lust. They fail to recognize that lust is actually a form of coveting, of wanting something that is illegitimate for me to have.
David and Bathsheba
King David looked at the lovely and naked Bathsheba, her skin wet and shimmering in her bath, her breasts looking so soft and round and supple. No sin there yet.
He looked, admired the wonderful beauty of a naked sensual woman and felt a natural stirring in his loins. Still no sin.
He was simply enjoying the view and its effect it had on him. I imagine he did what any man would do. Put his hand on his erection and began to stroke a bit. Again, no sin.
Had David merely used the moment of sexual excitement to stroke one out, not only would there have been no sin, we would not even know of the incident. But David stepped over the line. He went beyond wanting his own pleasure to wanting to consume his desire upon another person, illegitimately, and this is where he entertained and engaged in lust.
Desire With Intent
So, what about our young married man? Or what about an adolescent who stumbles across a sexually stimulating picture of a partially clad or naked woman. He is sexually stirred, reaches down, and strokes himself to orgasm. Ah ha, you say, there it is – lust. He looked at a woman, lusted after her, and so committed sin.
But wait, not so quickly. What did this young man really want? Did he want to have sex with that woman? No he did not. Did he want to commit sexual sin with her, only being prevented by chance and circumstance? Certainly not. What then did he want? He simply wanted to be stimulated to the point of orgasm, enjoying his own body in the privacy of his own room.
Lust is desire coupled with intent. This young man had no intent toward the woman he was imagining or whose image he was enjoying. No intent whatsoever. He only wanted to have a bit of fun and “get his rocks off”! Nothing more, and nothing less. This was not sin. Certainly not the sin of lust.
Feedback welcomed and appreciated.
Christians, Nudity and Erotica
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.