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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.

  • 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. – 3961 Dec 24 '13 at 6:31
  • This question poses some specific definitions and assumptions that appear to be non universal: How can two people possibly have a sexual relationship without each objectifying the other to some degree, which is lust There are far too many assumptions and presumptions built into this question for it to pass muster. For example, not being able to grasp that people can desire one another without objectification ... – KorvinStarmast Nov 28 '17 at 20:10
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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 in 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 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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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.

and

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.

  • 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
  • @JohannesSchaub-litb I hope you area aware that the bible was not written in the 20th century. You comment/complaint rather ignores the context of scripture when it was written. – KorvinStarmast Nov 29 '17 at 4:30
  • This is a good answer. I would also add 1 Cor. 7:5 as an example of how the marital bed guards against lust: "Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." – Bible Explorer Nov 29 '17 at 9:56
  • @korvin do you say that back then, men did not welcome their women to love them? – Johannes Schaub - litb Nov 29 '17 at 12:31

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