Lust Reframed

by Belinda Munoz on May 16, 2010

lustLust is the fourth of a series of five topics for Momalom’s Five for Ten.

Picture a sweet young boy.  Smart.  Loves his parents.  Struggles with algebra.

His twelfth birthday rolls around and bam!, his good brain is suddenly immersed in thick soup.  Love for parents is shaded by stiff silence.  As for algebra class, the only detail that looms large in his memory is the word bra and how he is attracted to or repulsed by it.

LUST

A four-letter word.  Though not technically a curse word, its bane lies in being listed as one of the Seven Deadly Sins.  It is lumped in with pride, envy, gluttony, anger, greed, and sloth.

A Deadly Sin?  Yikes!  This cannot be a comforting thought for a pubescent boy (or girl), thrust in the vortex of an unstoppable transformation.  It’s tough enough to grow several inches in one summer.  Or have one’s vocal pitch drop and rise an octave within a breath.  After twelve years, seemingly out of nowhere, this boy begins to feel things, urges and desires, he has not felt before.  Who needs the added stress of being told these feelings are A Deadly Sin?

Have we forgotten how tough it was to feel as though our body belonged to an unknown force?

Why do we stigmatize Lust when it is as natural as coughing when there’s a tickle in our throat or sneezing when we have a cold?

A DIFFERENT APPROACH

There has to be a better approach instead of condemning Mother Nature.

Instead of viewing Lust as a fatal flaw or the end of humanity, why not frame Lust in the company of Passion and Love?  That’s right. Put Passion and Love in the mix as sort of mentors to Lust.  Lust is fervor.  Passion is seasoned fervor.  Love is timeless fervor.  With Passion and Love in the arcs of this frame, would sin have a stronghold?

What if we called this frame the Three Lifegiving Arcs?  Would the Seven Deadly Sins have a fighting chance?

If we embraced this frame, maybe then we, humanity, could attract and experience more good and less evil?

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Does humanity have a penchant for doom and gloom such as The Seven Deadly Sins?  If so, can we do better?

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Image by Sarah G…

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Indigo May 16, 2010 at 6:14 am

Does humanity have a penchant for doom and gloom such as The Seven Deadly Sins?

Oh, Definitely! I’ve always said humans make life far more complicated than need be. I think if we left well enough alone and accepted all the attributes of our humanity, we would find ourselves content in that selfsame humanity. (Hugs)Indigo

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2 Tracy Todd May 16, 2010 at 8:20 am

You always have such a positive take on everything in life and that is why I keep coming back time and again to read your blog.

Thank you!

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3 rebecca May 16, 2010 at 8:50 am

“Put Passion and Love in the mix as sort of mentors to Lust” This makes me feel so relaxed. Mentoring. Lust is just love trying to grow up. I understand something in a better way. Love these words.

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4 Rudri May 16, 2010 at 9:22 am

I love the analogy of mentorship. That is so cool and interesting all at the same time. Thanks for your unique perspective.

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5 Christine LaRocque May 16, 2010 at 10:07 am

What an interesting and appropriate perspective. I’ve never really thought of it being a deadly sin…like you say, it’s a bit backwards. And you are right, it can go hand and hand with so many wonderful things. But I suppose it can equally go hand in hand with so many terrible things. Thank you for the food for thought.

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6 Alisha May 16, 2010 at 12:04 pm

I love this idea of reframing lust. For when I first thought about it, all I could think about were its dirty aspects; the fact that it was sin. But yes, I like the way you interpret it much better!

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7 Sara May 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Belinda — I always love how you put your words together. When I read your posts, there’s always a line or two that just jumps out me, like a striking picture, and demands my attention. Today, the words were:

“Put Passion and Love in the mix as sort of mentors to Lust. Lust is fervor. Passion is seasoned fervor. Love is timeless fervor.”

I love the idea of Passion and Love being mentors to lust and agree that all three form a wonderful and strong frame.

Don’t you think it’s odd that we allow lust in some contexts, but not in others. For example, it okay to say one has a “lust” for life, but not a “lust” for the sexy girl or boy in the algebra class? Thanks for this post. I enjoyed how you approached the subject of LUST:~)

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8 BigLittleWolf May 16, 2010 at 1:10 pm

What a fine, intelligent post. “Reframing” lust, indeed. Your suggesting of adding lust to the mix of passion and love is right on point.

Not a subscriber to the notion of the seven deadly sins, myself. My ethics are more straightforward, I believe. And more grounded in human nature, and I hope in our best (mindful) selves.

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9 Tony Single May 17, 2010 at 5:05 am

Well, I’ve always thought of sin as just another word for selfishness anyway, so in that sense I’m certainly up there with the best of them in the sinner stakes! However, you do make a good point. Why get bogged down in our shortcomings, and just put a different frame of reference on them instead?

So, perhaps lust is just the younger, more inexperienced sibling of passion. Lust is still a bit undisciplined and rough around the edges, and hasn’t learned how to tone down some of its fumbling aggression yet. Perhaps lust will get used to things given a bit of time. Perhaps it will be tempered with wisdom and grow into something deeper like love itself.

Perhaps this is just another idea I’m throwing out there. 😛

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10 Eva @ EvaEvolving May 17, 2010 at 9:16 am

Wow, Belinda. Lust-Passion-Love, all as different iterations of fervor. Yes! This is so logical and so beautiful. And the way you frame it – reminding us of the perspective of a pre-teen, those agonizing years and getting to know your body again – that is so helpful and relatable. We’ve all been through those tough years.

I agree that lust should be something positive we embrace. Lust doesn’t have to be something bad that we tamp down and restrain. It can be a very powerful thing.

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11 Patty - Why Not Start Now? May 17, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Nice take on lust, Belinda! Personally, I like lust. I don’t know why, the word takes me back in time, as in, “She’s a lusty wench!” But seriously, your point is a good one about the poor pre-teen, who in our society is told to zip up the lust, all the while being bombarded with over-the-top lusty images on TV, in movies, etc. Kind of crazy, isn’t it?

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12 rebecca May 17, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Thanks for visiting me over at Altared Spaces. Again, I so appreciate the idea of mentoring when it comes to love and lust.

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13 Privilege of Parenting May 17, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Great points. The over-emphasis on the masculine traits of reason, logic and order have stigmatized our animal nature and cut us off from soul, joy and presence.

I picture Love and Passion standing in a line and shouting, “Red Rover, Red Rover let Lust come over (and make it a sleep-over)” If Lust can’t break through and take either Love or Passion back to the materialist nose-to-the-grindstone-till-it’s-ground-off side of the field we have your lovely, lusty, passionate Arc de Triomphe yet.

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14 Fr. Michael May 17, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Belinda,

There are natural urges that every person experiences. These urges point to great goods: a desire for union with another person and the procreation of our species. The “problem” with lust is that it tends to objectify people. Lust is distinct from love, in that love desires the good for the other, whereas lust desires to possess and use the other solely for pleasure.

In my opinion, lust is classified as a “sin” because it’s focused on satisfying one’s own desires, it is more self-centered, rather than love which is focused on willing the good to the other.

Thanks, as always, for inviting us to think deeply about human experience.

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15 Sarah May 27, 2010 at 3:58 am

WOW, Belinda. I know I am late late late in getting here (can you believe I am STILL catching up?) but so glad I didn’t miss this one. The three LifeGiving Acts? That is just awesome. And means an array of things, to be sure.

It’s funny. Lust was always going to be one of the topics. From the get-go. And when we started to come up with the others Jen at one point said, Seven Deadly Sins? And then simultaneously we both typed Nah! Because they are so weighted already, aren’t they? So I am totally happy to see the inclusion of the Sin aspect here. And, even more so, the intention of pulling lust out of the list of seven.

I totally dig your brain in this post.
🙂

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16 Belinda Munoz May 27, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Sarah, you are so great to still be catching up. I’m sure I’m not the only one to say I’m missing 5-4-10.

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