Friday, January 9, 2009

LUST -- path to love or one of the 7 deadly sins?

The History Channel has started the new year off with a lot of gloom and doom. Blogs are hopping with discussions of the Armageddon series, which says life as we know it will end in 2012. The other series it ran was 7 Deadly Sins week. At times, I’ve lusted, envied others, been stingy, pigged out, procrastinated, lost my temper, and even been proud. Does this mean I’m doomed? (According to the prophecies, I have less than 4 years to figure it out.) Since I write erotic romance, I need to explore Sin #1 -- Lust.

Physical attraction is a natural human instinct. So are most of the other sins. We all eat and get angry occasionally. These things are hard-wired into us to help us survive. Lust obviously ensures procreation. So maybe it’s just the excess that’s bad. (Such as, anger is okay if it motivates us to right a wrong but not if we kill somebody.) If lust causes a married person to cheat and ruin their children’s lives through divorce, that’s bad. So does obsessing over sex to the exclusion of everything else.

Yet lust makes us feel alive, healthy, and happy. It also helps us connect and form deep relationships. In fact, scientists say it’s hard to draw the line between lust (caused by testosterone in both sexes) and bonding (caused by dopamine) because they usually occur together. This means there’s no such thing as “casual sex.”

Some ancient cultures celebrated lust but the recent past has been full of suppression. I’ve never understood while some people think it’s perfectly okay to watch gruesome, hateful violence (complete with splattered blood) on T.V. -- and even let young kids watch it -- yet cringe in horror at a little exposed skin.

I say as long as it’s in moderation and between two consenting adults (or three), lust is good. In fact, initial attraction is about a lot more than physical lust. A whole person is much more arousing than a picture of an isolated body part. Why? Because a person’s physical appearance already signals a ton of information about their background, personality, and values. We all have a “type” that pushes our hot buttons while others -- even people considered extremely attractive by others -- leave us cold.

For me, cowboys or other rugged men, preferably with facial hair, push my buttons whereas a neatly-groomed CEO doesn’t. This is probably because I like down-to-earth men who work and play hard and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Also, the West symbolizes freedom, open spaces, solitude, and the outdoors -- all stuff I love. You get the idea. (When I went to Wyoming a few years ago, I had a serious attack of lust when I saw all those gorgeous cowboys. If I go again, I’ll need a drool bib for sure.)

Lust is pretty sophisticated after all, don’t you think? So do you think lust is evil?

Afton Locke

1 comment:

Regina Carlysle said...

I watched some of this last week on the History Channel and thought it was fascinating. And it certainly made me feel a whole lot better than the Armageddon stuff...and yes, I blogged about it too. LOL.

Lust is perfectly natural and I totally agree with you, it's preferable to the exploding head stuff any day.

As to cowboys, you must come see me in Texas. They are all over the place and those well groomed, Armani suit wearing CEO's certainly can't compete with these rugged guys.