Lust

The Beast1

Peacock
Gold Member
I struggle immensely with lust and amorous thoughts. These never devolve into actions simply because the cost of doing so means I lose what has been by far the most beneficial, holy, and stable aspect of my life. I fear the consequences of such.

I love my wife and the stable home environment we have created to raise our kids in. But this is an evil side of me that I want gone.

I pray to God that he cauterize this horrible side of me in a pit of fire. I slip up from time to time with dirty thoughts and online (((entertainment))). I do fulfill these lustful feelings with my wife in as holy a way as possible, but it's like Chinese food. I'm only satisfied for a short amount of time at most and have to come back for more. She's appreciative in that regard.

However, I fear that as I get older and (hopefully) more successful that the comforts of material trappings may cause me to slip up and seek to satisfy these urges outside of my marriage.

Any tips on coping and overcoming?

Posting this here is a sort of delicious irony only the devil could concoct considering the evolution of our community.
 
I have been on an anti-coomer journey for over 10 years. The last year I began praying. For me what has been most effective is being honest to God while praying by admitting that I love porn and I love fornication. I admit that shamefully my love of porn has eclipsed my love of Him and my desire to live as he commands. I apologize, but I also admit that I need a new heart and that I can't change my heart. I ask Him for a new heart and give Him my permission to change my desires. Not that God *needs* my permission, but I believe he respects our free will and consent, and by saying that I am ready to give up my desires for His and affirming over and over that I am serious, this has helped change my heart tremendously. Last week I had a chance to sin with a beautiful young lady and it was very easy for me to resist. A year ago I would have jumped at the chance. This time I just calmly extracted myself from the situation.

I believe the key in overcoming lust is praying for a new heart and asking God to do this work of transformation in us. And not just asking in a superficial way in a moment of desperation. Mull it over. For a long time I lied to myself and said that I am a good guy and that I hate porn. Yet why was I running to the computer or smartphone as soon as I came home from work/school/gym? Obviously I had a huge love of porn, perverse though it was. I realized I was afraid to give up porn and serve the Lord because I would have to sacrifice something I actually cared about, something that thrilled me, pacified me, and obeyed me.

I stopped lying. I admitted that porn thrilled me and I made the determination over and over in moments of clarity and in desperation that I was ready for God to take priority in my life.

One other piece of tactical advice is when you feel a wave of lust don't tense up or freeze or react. Just slow down. Calm down. Realize you can overcome this. Say a quick Jesus prayer. Tell yourself you don't have to give in. Just relax, you will be okay. God loves you, He will forgive you. Don't let fear switch you over to autopilot where you load up your site without thinking.

Also, if you have compulsive sexuality issues there may be trauma in your past. Nothing wrong with that. As men we feel we can never be weak, but reconnecting with my emotions has allowed me to enjoy a more whollistic sexuality even though I am practicing chastity at the moment. I am much more, "integrated" to use a Jungian term. Whereas before I only felt lust in my mind and my genitals. I now experience more of an "Eros" wherein I am not clinically disconnected from my own feelings. There is a great book on this called The Body Keeps the Score. It was given to me by a combat vet, I'll never be as tough as him. So don't think it is all hippy bs.

I will add you to my prayers. God bless :)
 

Coja Petrus Uscan

Crow
Orthodox Inquirer
Gold Member
To add to the above - becoming agitated, angry at your lust starts another cycle that can never be sated. Forgive yourself and be happy with your progress.

I have not been instructed in prayer, or really read anything about what it should be. But during it, I cast of sins and resentments, and ask for help with them. Have you done anything like this? About five months after the firth prayer I reached the point of not being able to make a deposit from my loins. It is nineteen months without now. Recently I went to an Orthodox liturgy for the first time. I am pretty sure I would have made the request for my lust to be take away. And for the next week, I was completely without lust for the first time since I was 13 or so. The world is very different without it. When you lust, you always interact with women you are attracted to via the veil of lust. You interact not with the soul, but its decay.

As noted above, it doesn't seem like there is any other way to deal with man's burden other than via transfiguration. An observant Christian devotes part of the life to reflection, to surrendering up sin, forgiveness. These are not pastures for sin.
 
“Do not fight to expel the darkness from the chamber of your soul...Open a tiny aperture for light to enter, and the darkness will disappear.”

St. Porphyrios
This is what I've been trying to do more of lately. I have a tendency to white knuckle my vices, not least of which is lust, and have instead been trying to let the light in. Focus on the solution instead of the problem.
 

SimpleMan

Sparrow
To address ideas on how to overcome; One method prior to following God was to only watch female friendly versions and then only the same woman (preferably a couple). Then move to static images of graphic couples, then finally, non graphic stills of woman alone just looking beautiful. This desensitisation may help your process and see that the previous one was disgusting.

The more Godly way in my view, firstly, is to remember that you are watching His children and thus your brother and sister (whether they are aware of their connection to God or not). God made them and they've lost their way (easily done). Ask the people you watch for forgiveness too as well as God. God gave us rules and wives for a reason. Be even more grateful for what has been given to you.

Secondly, and maybe more importantly, you are allowing Satan and his friends to come into your house when you watch this stuff, leaving your family and household vulnerable. Not a wise move in general as the protector of the household.

God gave us the tools to think properly...and pray. Pray to think differently about it and see it for what it really is. Become super aware of every step of lust that you go through to fulfil more than what you have been given for fleeting pleasure and risk (point 2)

As with any addiction/need/want, most of the time we do the activity just to stop thinking about it. We do it or take it, and then we are at peace because we can finally stop thinking about it. Not sure if any of that helps, hope you get stronger in this soon.
 

Godward

Robin
Any tips on coping and overcoming?

The following things work for me:

- finding out what are your specific “triggers” (work or study related stress, fear of not finding a spouse, films/series with too much sensuality etc) and addressing those triggers as much as possible;
- learning to pray the Jesus Prayer whenever a lustful thought (or any other sinful thought for that matter) arises in your mind — if the thought is more vivid, pray aloud;
- going to confession and communion regularly; and
- having patience: whenever you fall, just start over again. Sanctification is a process and you will overcome with His Grace.
 
All great points, gents.

I think the OP may be speaking on behalf of many of us with this question/concern. This is something we will constantly have to contend with as men. Once, upon seeing a very attractive young lady, a friend of mine sighed and joked that it "gets harder and harder every year" (to fend off lust and not ogle beautiful young women) as we get older and more easily able to manipulate younger women into fornication, if we decide to entertain such wickedness.

Bill Burr has a funny bit about men being programmed to fornicate with about 85% of the women in any given room. That's how we all got here.

Although humorous and with a grain of truth, the above points are essentially pagan/materialist. Christ is the great equalizer.

To expand upon Jive Turkey's point re abuse ("Also, if you have compulsive sexuality issues there may be trauma in your past..."), there is definitely a connection there. Although I've never experienced severe trauma or abuse per se, I have been "sexualized" in some capacity by women throughout my early life. I remember older women always commenting on how handsome I was as an older child, and the comments got more blatant by the age of 13 or 14. I distinctly remember a friend's single wine aunt (who was obviously hurt herself and sexually frustrated) telling me "I looked like I know how to please a woman" with a wink. I was flirted with and groped by a female boss at 14. Being too young at the time to understand what was going on, only later to realize things could have escalated if I was more aware.

I had a thing for older women for a while in my early 20's...so I'm sure it was a direct result of those experiences. We need to protect children fiercely from abuse and (((sexual liberation))).

All this to say that prayer has been very effective for me in overcoming lustful thoughts. The few times I did succumb to my lust in a moment of weakness, I realized how truly pathetic and ridiculous it was. I felt the full impact and pain of that fall.
 
The key to overcoming lust as well as all other sins is to have a dedicated prayer life. And this is something I need to do a much better job at. I remember for a while I got into the habit of praying first thing in the morning and and then again at night before bed. I found that having prayer 'bookend' my day made it much easier to not only remain free from sin and temptation but also enjoy the peace, joy, and direction that comes from spending time with God. Conversely, as I stopped doing this I found myself often beset by many problems/sins.

Secondly, try to get in the habit of viewing females as people made in the image and likeness of God instead of merely objects capable of fulfilling your every sexual desire. Realize that every woman is similar to you in that she was once a small innocent child brought up by a loving family and who is now an adult that probably shares many of the same fears, concerns, hopes, and aspirations that you do. Lastly, when you see a woman keep in mind that most likely she is a worldly person who is lost on her way to hell (and who is also probably suffering one way another in this present life), and with this in mind you should have compassion towards her and if possible, do what you can to lead her to Christ.
 

DeusLuxMeaEst

Pelican
Orthodox Inquirer
Gold Member
I too struggle with lust. It has become more prevalent since returning to God.

I'm not sure if this is related to the lessening of my sexual thoughts during the day, demonic influence, or a combination but I tend to have profoundly sexual dreams. They are especially intense the night after a day that I prayed intensely.

One 'hack' I use and I admit it's a crutch is to realize that fallen angels are mocking me if I act on my lust (really any sin)

Besides that I just pray intensely.
 

in.image.and.likeness

Chicken
Orthodox Catechumen
All very good points.
There is one thing missing that I stumble across lately.

The treatment of a vice is the corresponding virtue.

Since lust is a * passion of the body * we can battle it also by the corresponding * virtue of the body * which is temperance / prudence which manifests in fasting.

The passions come in a hierarchy where every passion feeds the following ones: overeating, then horny, then greedy, angry, despondent, apathetic, vain, prideful.

I noticed that when I eat too much or too "good" my body craves all the other pleasures, it seeks worldly satisfaction that can never by attained. So enduring hunger or avoiding culinary highs can help to calm the bodily/natural passions and help to strenghten the spirit.

I stumbled upon this in this Jay Dyer vid:

Here are his book recommendations on that topic:

- Therapy of Spiritual Illness - Dr Jean-Claude Larchet
- Orthodox Psychotherapy - Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktos
- Orthodoxy and the Spirit of Satan - Fr Spyridon Bailey

and a very loose transcript of the last hour in the vid:

Demons are despoiled of theirs powers via the cross -> St. Maximus explains: When man fell the demons held sway over him via the passions. The desires of our nature are in themselves not bad but out of whack, they become chains and slavery, so the demons can control us through that. And what Christ did on the cross to deify us and by all of His ministry and overcoming the temptation of satan, that empowers us then to overcome and resist those temptations.
So when we fast, when we pray, when we do good works, when we partake in the Lord’s supper, those are things that are deifying us to no longer being held sway to and controlled by those passions - and this is a life long thing. You are not going to be Orthodox and over night not sinning anymore. You are doing this every day, it’s life long spiritual rehab. We are all addicts, addicted to different things.
The Saints are people who by God’s grace have overcome a lot of addictions. Even the greatest Saint still has some sin. Nobody is perfectly sinless in this life until the Eschaton, then we are sinless. Until then we all will make mistakes, hopefully we will overcome the big sins.
Again, the problem is not the body or the desires, the problem is the inordinate desires. So the process of orthodox psychotherapy is the reintegration of man’s faculties to operate properly, in harmony, in terms of the nouse, the heart, and having the mental realm integrated into the heart realm, not to destroy the heart nor the mind, but to subordinate the mind and intellect to the repentant heart. and then that heart-mind-nouse running properly runs the body, so that the body does not run the others, making them slaves to the passions and desires.
All of this you take to the church, to the liturgy, to confession, to your spiritual advisor who will council you what to do in your case. You can’t do that on your own. (Jay Dyer)
 

Blade Runner

Ostrich
Orthodox
It is curious that OP reports that even though he is married, this is still an issue. I can't say it wouldn't be an issue with me, but the wild card is the recourse one has, or the presumed setting of sating desires, which is marriage. I don't know if that exists these days. Single men have it worse in the sense that they don't have a check on their behavior to stop them (wife, kids, etc) but that doesn't make it easy if the wife isn't helping at all.

If I am honest, my biggest struggle with it is success (it should be easy to get a girl who is quality, but isn't) and ego. I don't want to make excuses across the board, but I do believe that in societies where one is without sex for years or decades after age 20, at least, or a proper context to sate those desires, you are going to have problems. A forum friend recently told me, "If I meet a lady, I'll treat her like a lady. If I meet a promiscuous girl, I'll treat her as such." It is difficult to argue the point. As they say, you can't make a ho a housewife.
 
It is curious that OP reports that even though he is married, this is still an issue. I can't say it wouldn't be an issue with me, but the wild card is the recourse one has, or the presumed setting of sating desires, which is marriage. I don't know if that exists these days. Single men have it worse in the sense that they don't have a check on their behavior to stop them (wife, kids, etc) but that doesn't make it easy if the wife isn't helping at all.

If I am honest, my biggest struggle with it is success (it should be easy to get a girl who is quality, but isn't) and ego. I don't want to make excuses across the board, but I do believe that in societies where one is without sex for years or decades after age 20, at least, or a proper context to sate those desires, you are going to have problems. A forum friend recently told me, "If I meet a lady, I'll treat her like a lady. If I meet a promiscuous girl, I'll treat her as such." It is difficult to argue the point. As they say, you can't make a ho a housewife.
I also found it odd, men will always be tempted even if married of course, but you’d think the desires would be mostly sated by the wife, who sounds accomodating (but maybe not). Perhaps bad habits, porn is alluded to as an ongoing issue, have dulled the satisfaction that marital coitus should provide.

Agreed on the challenges of sexlessness past your early adulthood. A bane of our culture is the total absence of pressure to get married early. I can’t say that I had any prospects in my 20s, but I did in my early 30s. Ironically, I never would have had the opportunities if I wasn’t trying to be a player, which also led me to blow them.
 
The systema practitioners have an interesting way of dispelling black clouds (negative demonic energy) out of the body through praying over someone doing a joint pushup (breathing big breaths in and out while doing one repetition that takes 30seconds to a minute to go down all the way and the same on the way up, counts as one). My cousin went to a Systema camp in Canada about 10 years ago and said he saw an Orthodox priest reading and praying over a few people who were holding this pushup and breathing intensely for a few minutes straight. I don't have proof of the "black cloud" that comes out of the body, but it seems to make sense that if you re-direct that energy inside of your body (in addition to NOT looking at pron and mentally sexing a woman) in an athletic or laborious way, it will help relieve the burden of overwhelming sexual lust. Perhaps other faulty sins as well, or evil influences in general You can read the Bible all day but without personal belief in the faith and the retention of your seed it will not change your behaviors, originating from your thoughts. Start examining what behaviors you engage in and make a record of them. What do you do before you're thinking these thoughts? What do you do afterwards? What happens that makes it overwhelming that leads you to spill your seed not in your wife?

We will be plagued by these demons and their tricks to no end, but if they realize that it will be too much to get you to slip up sexually then they will attack you in another way, usually greed or pride, unless you're a complete bum then they will burden you with sloth and gluttony. What I've come to realize is that envy often accompanies lust more so than any other sin, even pride. I used to think "these guys are out there ****ing these hot chicks and I'm at home doing **** all, working on this working on that, I want some damnit!" When marriage is in the question then you have to understand, at least take it from those of us who have done bad things, it is a sin you can't come back from, at least in this life, not as soul-destroying as blasphemy or suicide, but it will destroy a part of you and the Godly bond you have or had with your wife. Don't do it. Take my honest, heartfelt word for it. Do not cheat on your wife, please. Some people may be able to hide the pain and dull the sting by ignoring it, or delving further into that sin, but it never truly goes away and you will have to carry that scar with you until you die, and the worse part about it is that no one can see or it knows it exists but you. Idle minds and hands are ripe for demonic interference, and if the lust is too strong that you keep busy with your wife too much, learn to practice the virtue of temperance. Don't lose your edge and continue to shoot your lifes ambition out your tip just because. All of this is so tiresome, nauseatingly so, and much harder to accomplish than typed. It starts with keeping busy with your hands and your passions. Get some old testament hobbies going, woodworking, gardening, animal husbandry, archery, something the Lord will look down and see you honing your skills in something that will make Him proud, not upset.
 

Bamboozler

Pigeon
Thank you for this thread.

When I converted in my early twenties I immediately got the grace to overcome lust, but I spurned it after a few months. As a result I had to work hard to get it back. Seven more years of desperate struggle with lust, it was like swimming in mud. In my case the key moment was realization that I cannot treat my faith as a hobby, I had to start a serious spiritual training session. One day I decided to pray the Pompeian Novena, which is a Catholic prayer consisting of one full rosary a day (at least 153 Hail Marys,16 Our Fathers plus some other prayers) for 54 days in a row. That was a crucial battle and a turning point. I was forced to tackle persistently not only lust, but also sloth, pride and anger. I'm still tempted with impure thoughts, but porn, masturbation and fornication are things of the past now, thanks to the supernatural intervention of Our Lady, Mother of God.
 
There are a few things I do to mitigate my chances of falling into this particular sin. I struggled for years too. I've found a few things helpful:

Pray and stay in God's word .The more often I lose connection with God, the more often I feel urges come over me.
Also, try to get connected to a person at church you trust who struggles with the same issue. It can be a big help to have someone to check in with and help keep each other accountable. Finally, I would highly recommend installing Covenant Eyes on all your devices and setting up your wife as the accountability partner for it. If you don't know what it is - It's software that tracks your online activity and flags porn, and then sends a notification to your partner. It's very helpful in keeping the porn out of your life.
 
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