Contrary to the impression given by many Christian leaders, 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. He wants to be stimulated and enjoy a climax again. Desire is there.
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 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 involves strong desire, and that stirring up that desire with an image crosses over the line into lust. They fail to recognize that lust is 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.
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. Had David merely used the moment of sexual excitement to stroke one out, there still would have been no sin and 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 thus he entered into 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 quick. What did this young man want? Did he want to have sex with that woman? No. Did he want to commit sexual sin with her, only being limited by chance and circumstance? No. What then did he want? He only 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 “get his rocks off”! Nothing more, and nothing less. No sin involved whatsoever. Certainly not lust.
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Christians Enjoying Nudity and Erotica
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.