Locked in Lust

In The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis explains that, “lust is a poor, weak, whimpering, whispering thing compared with that richness and energy of desire which will arise when lust has been killed.” Lust is what our desire for sex and intimacy looks like disordered. It cripples the goodness of our sexual instinct leaving a withered, shallow, self-focused sex-drive. The person locked in lust can be obsessed with all kinds of sexual stimulation: an indulgent glance, crossing intimacy boundaries, obsessions with pornography, etc. They see their need for sex and intimacy as an entirely selfish exercise, taking instead of giving. When Adam ate the forbidden fruit, he looked at Eve with horror, not because of what he saw—but how he saw. His spouse and partner in human flourishing ceased being the end of his desire, and instead became a means; a way of indulging his own pleasure at her expense. She became less person and more thing—and he with her. This is the modus operandi of all the vices: the more they constrict our desire, the more they strip our humanity.