I Was Wrong About Lust

One thing I got wrong in Life After Lust was demonizing lust. I idealized “lust-free” living as though it were desirable or even possible. I know it was what I was striving for but never fully achieved.

Lust is not evil.

Lust is a powerful, natural drive that has propelled our species forward and continues to. Lust is not the problem, it is our misuse of lust that can become a problem. But when we use lust well, in alignment with our values and in ways that do not harm ourselves or others, it brings excitement, euphoria, pleasure, connection, and joy into life.

Lust can be amazing.

What lust can’t do well is be the mother who finally accepts us or the father who finally sees us. Lust is not the love we’ve always longed for. Lust is not the cure for our pain. Lust can relieve pain but not heal it. It can distract from hurt but can’t give us the love we desperately need.

Lust won’t heal us.

But as we heal our deepest wounds, shame, and inadequacies, we can create space in our life for healthy lust. This is liberating. Released from sexual shame, we can learn sexual self-expression that fits our values and harms nobody.

As we recover, I hope we all find a place for both healthy lust and the love we’ve always longed for. And I hope we’ll learn the difference.

Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP

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