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How can two people possibly have a sexual relationship without each objectifying the other to some degree, which is lust? I was taught that lust is "excessive or unrestrained sexual desire" — assuming that I also truly love her, how much can I desire my wife before I am sinning?

I would prefer an answer that reflects the Mennonite position.

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I generalized the edit. This is within site guidelines now. Again, I'm not coming down on you. I'm just trying to keep quality on the site by upholding the site policies. –  fredsbend Dec 24 '13 at 6:31
why limit this to the Mennonite perspective? this is a broader question applicable to all peoples of God. –  robert bristow-johnson Jan 13 '14 at 17:39

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The idea of lust (επιθυμια, 1939) means "desire," though it frequently has bad connotations. It is probably best defined in this context as "desire for what is forbidden." It could also be described as a desire to have something in the wrong way (or in a way that is not allowed). It is used not only of sex but of desires in general (James 1, 1 John 2:16). James doesn't equate lust with sin: "Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin." James 1:15 (NASB), though the two so often come in quick succession that it isn't unusual for Biblical authors to keep the words is close company or use lust to allude to the sin that follows.

The desire for food isn't lust. It might be lust if you wanted a particular dish bad enough to steal it or obtain it in some other unacceptable manner.

When it comes to sex, lusting for your wife would probably only be possible if you wanted something for which you shouldn't expect her to give you. (I won't even attempt to create a list of what might qualify—since this is largely a matter of conscience and not seemly for public discussion.)

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Interesting information, but generally, we should avoid answering off-topic questions. –  fredsbend Dec 23 '13 at 20:19

The bible only discusses lust in the context of adultery, see:

Matthew 5:27-28 KJV

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.


Proverbs 5:20

Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man's wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?

However, the bible does mention how you should love your wife:

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,

Ephesians 5:28-33

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

There are no better examples in the bible of sexual desire that Song of Solomon.

Song of Solomon 4:7

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you

and also:

Song of Solomon 7:1-8

How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince’s daughter! Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of an artist’s hands. Your navel is a rounded goblet that never lacks blended wine. Your waist is a mound of wheat encircled by lilies. Your breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle. Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon by the gate of Bath Rabbim. Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon looking toward Damascus. Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses. How beautiful you are and how pleasing, my love, with your delights! Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, “I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.” May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples,

note: if a pastor would teach from Song of Solomon, I'm sure he wouldn't have people falling asleep in the pews

Finally, we should look at: Matthew 19:5 KJV

And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

So then, we can see from the bible, how to treat our wives. I do not know of any biblical example where having too much lust and / or sexual desire for a man's own wife is a sin. Maybe there is a specific denominational teaching - Quakers being one that comes to mind. Any further information that I can give you would border on pastoral advice.

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All this only talk about men. How shall women love their men? –  Johannes Schaub - litb Dec 23 '13 at 19:05
@JohannesSchaub-litb Sorry, that would be out of scope for the question, he is talking about lust for his wife. –  The Freemason Dec 23 '13 at 19:10
This question is off-topic, but you have done well answering it in an objection, on-topic way. –  fredsbend Dec 23 '13 at 19:46

Lust is generally regarded as a distortion of sexual desire. With love(including respect) and marriage there's no reason/way to lust. Are you meaning if the two are apart for a long time.. that's hard on the heart and soul.. but that shouldn't either be a perversion of sexual desire. Maybe if a person is denied sex for 2 years+, lust would become a temptation. It's just maturity. It's give and take. There should be a balance. If she's willing to give this much... then you can take that much (if you're willing). And what are we talking about here, with this subject both sides give and take simultaneously and the pronouns can switch in my last sentence.

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This is a good answer, and I've upvoted it, but I'd like to see some other responses before I accept it as the best. I used those particular pronouns because I'm male. –  Lee Sleek Dec 23 '13 at 2:23
Of course it is possible to lust within the context of marriage. –  Flimzy Dec 23 '13 at 12:39
When answers start our with "... is generally regarded ... ", leads one to believe that your "answer" is an opinion. –  The Freemason Dec 23 '13 at 14:14

Having sexual desire for one's mate in the context of a matrimonial union is normal and Holy. But having sexual desire for any female that crosses one's path, without a deeper emotional connection, outwith the context of holy matrimony, is lust and is sinful, not holy.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a sinner, like everyone else. I've fallen into sinful behaviour many times in the past.

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On this post, I cannot give you feedback because this question is off-topic, in my opinion. See my comment about it. The site policy is that questions should (most times) be asked from a doctrinal perspective. There is a massive range of opinions on this topic, so that makes your answer here no more valid than a much more liberal one. We need the asker to scope the question to a specific denomination or tradition. –  fredsbend Dec 23 '13 at 6:31
@fredsbend How is it anyone's job but mine to give feedback and decide which answer is the best? What obligates you to give feedback on every answer on this question or site? I feel like you are hijacking my question. However, I will gladly add whatever is needed to prevent the closure of this question. –  Lee Sleek Dec 23 '13 at 23:48
@LeeSleek I'm not coming down on you, nor am I trying to hijack your question. I'm trying to help you. I have responded to your concerns in the chat room. We can discuss it there at length. –  fredsbend Dec 24 '13 at 0:38
@fredsbend I've edited the question; I hope this satisfies you. –  Lee Sleek Dec 24 '13 at 2:01

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