Lust is most commonly thought of as sexual desire towards another, and it’s this definition that is clarified here.
In the past, religious and philosophical thoughts around lust have always been intensely negative. In Christianity, lust is one of the seven deadly sins, and as such, in the West, people traditionally relate such desires to impure devil-like humans who need to be purified with some sort of ritual. This may seem an extreme view for a contemporary Western opinion, yet it’s exactly the view that ancestors of the West held, so it is a view that influences present thoughts.
Gradually, over the past few hundred years, there has been an increasing separation of religious and supernatural views from lust. Now it’s possible to see lust in a modern and scientific light. Some of the pleasurable feelings associated with lust can now be explained in more practical ways.
The lustful bodily sensations, which people experience from being close to someone they’re sexually attracted to, are species wide. Pheromones are chemicals, which the body produces, that instinctively communicate biological information to other members of the species. People communicate with each other about their biological and psychological desire in ways that are stimulating and pleasurable, yet to a large extent out of their control.
People do not consciously produce pheromones to inform someone of a sexual attraction. So they must have subconsciously perceived desirable information about the other to communicate in a subconscious way. When two people, who are sexually attracted to one another, sit side by side, they can enjoy intensely pleasurable feelings without having ever uttered a word. Pheromone secretion is partially responsible for this experience.
People subconsciously recognise aspects of the opposite sex, and this changes their neuro-biological constitution, which in turn changes their disposition towards the person they find attractive. Humans observe shape and silhouettes, odour and complexion, and movement is interpreted as body language. If angry, such cognitive processes become biassed towards using such cues to determine how to stop threats. In contrast, lust creates cognitive biasses that use the same information to detect desirability and receptiveness. When people are attracted to someone, their eyes dilate. Although they may not consciously realise these changes in their self, the person they are attracted to will instinctively/subconsciously recognise such changes in their expressions.
Most people are unlikely to recognise consciously that eyes are dilating, or that similar biological changes are happening. Nonetheless, they will feel positive feelings as their conscious signs of those subconscious comprehensions of the other’s biological state. Just as their changing biological state will be subconsciously recognised by the other too.
All of these aspects can be seen as instinctive recognitions of biological compatibility. When recognising on a subconscious level how biologically fitting another is regarding the issue of sex and offspring, the results are relayed through feelings of lust.
Human sexual instincts have evolved over hundreds of thousands of generations, and they indicate successful traits that would be of benefit to offspring. Modern civilised society is a recent development. Two thousand years is a very short time compared to millions of years of evolution. When all the years that humans have evolved through is included in regard to thinking of what their instincts would be relevant to, the conclusion is that the vast majority of people’s instincts will relate to a reality that places much greater importance on physical needs of survival. Instinctive appreciations are more relevant to people’s physical survival in contrast to their emotional, mental or social needs.
Thus, people can use the bodily sensations of lust as indicators of how well they perceive they’re suited to another on a biological level. Nonetheless, this also suggests that it would be foolish to gauge social or mental compatibility using such feelings. These levels of biological compatibility determine to some degree the intensity of people’s attraction to one another. If people are around someone who they’re instinctively very compatible with, their subconscious senses high levels of pheromones. They may find themselves thinking of the other in a positive light, and perhaps even thoughts of a sexual nature. People can find thoughts of a sexual nature coming to the forefront of their minds as they start feeling their instinctive compatibility towards another. Their memories would store this biological compatibility data. This may bias their behaviour towards the attractive person – without them knowing it.
This is not a judgement of either good or bad; it’s an explanation that lust is a sign of biological compatibility; it’s an instinctive indicator that says, “Our children will probably be healthy.” Because it’s most likely that the lustful side to human nature relates predominantly to physical survival, it can lead to experiencing intense sexual desire for a socially incompatible person. The result is that it’s perfectly normal to feel some sexual attraction to someone who is disliked or even hated for their ideology. Lust-hate relationships are natural in this respect. Nevertheless, a question of caution for lustful relationships is raised: would it be a good emotional, mental and social environment for children?
These aspects of the experience do not encompass the entirety of what lust is. These factors are of great significance to lust though. People cannot come to a reasonable conclusion unless they keep them in mind. If people take this philosophy into consideration, they can deduce, in moments when they feel physical attraction, that they are biologically suited to the person concerned. But this does not mean they will rub along well socially.
The rub along factor can be difficult to accept when people first encounter the intensely pleasurable experience of someone else’s physical company. To make a decision on what lustful pleasure indicates can be frustrating to say the least. Younger people and the more romantic at heart tend to lean towards notions of love, fate and destiny. Although lustful experiences may accompany the experience of love, lust by itself is not love. At first people often confuse the two. A deep physical desire can heavily distort people’s reasoning and bias their behaviour in ways they cannot recognise.
Proto-Germanic. Lustuz = pleasure, delight.
1. A source of pleasure or delight, an attraction or charm.
2. Desire, appetite, relish or inclination for something.