How To Have Self-Control When Feeling Lust

It is normal and natural to feel physical attraction for others. If you’re in a dating relationship, you will feel sexual attraction for your girlfriend or boyfriend. But lust, if not properly understood and controlled, can lead to harmful behaviors that can damage self-esteem and ruin romantic relationships.

What is Lust?

Lust is different from the biological sensations of attraction. Lust is a sense of intense sexual desire that can feel like it is dominating your thinking. The difference between love and lust is not an exact science, but lust is different from love and expresses itself in different ways.

Lust is selfish. It doesn’t have anything to do with who someone is, or what you love about them as a unique individual. When you love someone, you care about them and want to help meet their needs, whether or not they’re ready for sex. Lust, on the other hand, is focused on wanting to be with someone sexually only because of how that sexual contact can gratify your desires. It is more of a hunger or craving for someone’s body than a deep, unconditional love for who they are.

Lust and Risky Behavior

It may seem like lust is a private feeling, but it can influence how you treat your partner, and it can lead to other risky and harmful behaviors, such as:

  • Having sex before you or your partner feel ready
  • Crossing physical boundaries that you don’t want to cross before marriage
  • Using pornography or masturbation to gratify sexual desire, which can become an addictive behavior
  • Sexting, which has high risks of exposure or discovery, and could impact you or your partner’s future success.
  • Pressuring someone else to masturbate, watch you masturbate, or have sex in order to make you feel satisfied, which is sexual assault

How to Face Lust: Self-Control, Not Shame

It can be difficult to know where to turn for help, especially if you grew up in a church or family where lust (and anything related to sexuality or sexual behavior) was either never talked about, or was shamed so much you felt like you could never discuss it again. But sexuality is a normal part of how we’re made, and it’s not something to feel ashamed of.

The key is understanding attraction in a healthy way. It’s important to learn how to express your feelings of attraction in a way that makes you and your partner feel safe, and doesn’t compromise your boundaries or beliefs. If you are struggling in this area, know that you can learn healthy thought patterns and self-care practices that lead to greater self-control, and stop damaging your romantic relationships with risky behavior.

TheHopeLine is a place to get confidential help when you want to regain healthy self-control of your feelings of attraction and break free from lust. Reach out to us via live chat or email a mentor to get help today.

Want more information about how lust affects life and relationships? Search our library of ebooks, blogs, and podcasts for answers to questions like:

  • How Do I Know It’s Love?
  • How Do I Recover from Pornography Addiction?
  • How Do I Talk to My Boyfriend or Girlfriend About Sexual Boundaries?

FAQ on Lust:

How Do You Know if You Are Lusting?

Lusting goes beyond attraction, romantic feelings, or noticing someone is attractive. Lust involves a "can't get enough" feeling when you're sexually aroused or attracted. It can lead to envy, jealousy, and selfishness in romantic relationships. It can become an addictive feeling that might lead to pornography use or other harmful behaviors. Talking about lust with someone you trust can help.

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