You’ve been waiting for this one, right?
As a noun or verb; it means a very strong sexual desire, or a passionate desire for something. The synonym list is downright erotic: sexual desire, sexual appetite, sexual longing, ardor, desire, passion, libido, sex drive, sexuality, biological urge, lechery, lasciviousness, concupiscence, horniness, the hots, randiness, greed, desire, craving, covetousness, eagerness, avidity, cupidity, longing, yearning, hunger, thirst, appetite, hankering desire, be consumed with desire for, find sexually attractive, crave, covet, ache for, burn for, have the hots for, fancy, have a thing about or for, and drool over. (Whew) The key word in all of that is desire. This is not an act, it is merely a basic human want, or as George Carlin put it, “You gotta wanna.”
“It’s what’s in your mind that counts. Your intentions. Wanna is a sin all by itself….it was a sin for you to wanna feel up Ellen, it was a sin for you to plan to feel up Ellen, it was a sin for you to figure out a place to feel up Ellen, it was a sin for you to take Ellen to the place for you to feel her up, it was a sin to try to feel her up, and it was a sin to feel her up. There was six sins in one!” George Carlin, Class Clown, 1972.
When I get to be Pope, this lust deal comes off the list. The desire we call lust may cause us innumerable problems, but by itself, it’s no sin. It is not even bad. Our behavior may be bad. The desire may burden us in some way. We may not even admit to its existence. We lust, and we do it well. Were it not for bit of lust taken to the physical level about nine months before our original birthday, none of us would be here.
I wanna. Before you tar and feather me for being a dirty old man (normal), know that I was raised Irish-Catholic, just like Carlin was. Human sexual desire for other humans is normal, good, healthy, and leads to some of the best moments in our lives, not to mention procreation of the species. A vigorous libido is a good thing to have. But, not everyone agrees with me. Most obviously, many Roman Catholics, and certainly not their leadership. I quote from a piece by Sam Guzman, republished in The Catholic Gentleman.
“In my own observation, lust seems the most obvious of the seven deadly sins, and also the one that can overcome the unwary Christian soul like a flash flood.”
I like the flash (flesh?) flood part. But lust isn’t bad – it’s not immoral. It’s normal. Sexual repression, on the other hand, is abnormal. Yet it is supposed be the hallmark of a good Christian life. Accepting the reality that lust is a feeling just like any other, and learning how to deal with it seems much healthier than trying to deny its existence, repressing it, and making millions of young people think they are going to burn for eternity because racing hormones are doing the talking. Think about it. We’ve all been there.
One source I found said the opposite of lust is chastity. I disagree. You can do both: be chaste, but still lust. I looked up antonyms of lust, but the list is unsatisfactory. Only apathy (sloth?), and satisfaction (Rolling Stones song) got my attention. I don’t think there is a precise opposite for lust, unless it is not-lust, and that’s dumb. Maybe sloth is a good opposite, but how do we say having no desire, or not thinking? Dead? I wish not to be dead. Lust is a good sign that I’m not. Is un-wanna a real word?
When I was challenged to do this series, the proposal was to juxtapose the sin with its opposite. In this case, I can’t point to anything, and it would be pointless anyway. Sorry, I just can’t get no satisfaction.
When we fight against nature, two outcomes are possible. Either nature wins, or our human nature becomes corrupt and disordered.
Everything leads to something.
How we follow that path, and where it leads, is how we live.
Passion is good, desire is good, wanna is good! Lust to your heart’s content.
We get one life – live it well and enjoy the parts you can.
Mind any gaps and look both ways.