Lust is a strong feeling or desire for something and is often closely associated with sexual desire. Passion is important in an intimate relationship, but you need to recognize the signs of lustful passion and determine if or when the feeling is appropriate. Lust can be an all-consuming destructive force.
A Focus on the Object
Lust is focused on an object. When you allow lust to dominate your thinking, it is often destructive. Those who become dominated by lust are so focused on the object that they cannot see the harm they do to themselves or to others. A Swedish study published in 2011 found that adolescents who were frequent users of pornography had more behavioral problems, including selling themselves for sex, than those who avoided pornography.
Consumed with Possession
One sign of lust is the feeling of being consumed by possession, a major issue in abusive relationships. People are not possessions to be owned. A sense of ownership frequently leads to domestic violence, rape, child abuse and other criminal behavior and does untold harm to the “object.” Lust can also land you in trouble over true objects, like if you steal a car because the desire to possess it overrides your moral sense.
Dwelling in Fantasy
Another sign of lust is finding yourself in living in a fantasy world. Like fans of silent movie stars who discovered that their favorite actors talked with a nasal voice, you might find the object of your lust very different in reality than in your fantasies. Sometimes it's hard to pull out of lustful fantasy thinking.
If you feel uneasy or bored after being with or consuming the object of your lust, it's a sign that you were lusting. People who lust move on after consumption because the object is important only while it is being enjoying. It's like a spoiled child who begs for a certain toy; once he gets it, he casts it aside, looking instead for the next new toy to play with.
Lust Is Shallow
Lust can lead to shallow, superficial relationships. The sense of lust distorts a want into a “need.” It's like a sports car that you have to buy, obscuring the need to save for your children's education. Lust distorts your thinking so you ignore the things that really make you happy, like the pride you will experience as you watch your son or daughter graduate from college.
- Merriam Webster: Lust
- American Psychological Association: How Psychology Helps You Every Day, Sara Martin
- Psychology Today: Lust vs. Love: Do You Know the Difference?
- Journal of Adolescence: Frequent Users of Pornography: A Population Based Epidemiological Study of Swedish Male Adolescents
- Social Science and Medicine: Domestic Violence, Sexual Ownership, and HIV Risk in Women in the American Deep South
- American Psychological Association: Understanding and Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
- The Pop History Dig: Talkie Terror
- Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, Second Edition: Love and Intimacy, E. Hatfield, et al
- Journal of Experimental Social Psychology: How Love and Lust Change People’s Perception of Relationship Partners, Jens Förster, et al
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