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The Seven Deadly Sins – Lust


College Essay for Human Morality Class

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Human Morality

First Paper

Dr. Mackler


                                 The Seven Deadly Sins – Lust

           According to Fairlie, the author of The Seven Deadly Sins, those who lust are not

interested in their partners for who they are, but are only attempting to satisfy a craving

that they are unable to subdue in any other way. Those who lust do not choose their

partners, but simply take whatever is available. The author points out that those who

genuinely love their partner tend to have found the relationship pleasing to their lives

even if the partner has been lost. This is because the relationship was built upon pleasure

in knowing the individual intimately – giving and receiving. Those who lust focus

themselves upon spontaneous, promiscuous “dried-up, stale, uninterested, lethargic,

mechanical, unfeeling, uninvolved, unrewarding, tedious, boring, let’s-get-it-over-with,

tomorrowless, dull, empty, self-emptying sex” start from scratch each time they

encounter a relationship by disregarding the significance of their previous experiences,

thereby tending to make themselves solitary and detached from society.

           Fairlie later begins to explain why people lust in the first place. To the public, it

may seem as though sexual relationships are far more common. The problem is not that

lustful individuals sleep with so many different people, but it is because they do not care

who they sleep with, nor do they care about them. Modern people seem to “refuse to

meet the demands that love will make.” Lust degrades relationships between partners to

the point where its design is to gratify a single thirst – sex. Like a painting, poem, or

piece of music, “We need to “gaze” on it [our mate], not once but again; to return to it, in

different moods, for different reasons; to let it speak to us, to learn how to hear it; to

notice that it has many aspects, that it is never quite the same, that it has new things to

tell.” The partner needs to be fully appreciated in every way.

          It appears as though most people in modern society shuns faithfulness, but Fairlie

points out that ironically, those very same people are still hurt by unfaithfulness. When

one is unfaithful, the problem is more complicated than simply saying that another person

is interfering in the relationship. Instead, the problem is essentially that there is now

something that can no longer be shared exclusively between the two of them. He points

out that if sex was nothing more than lust leading to a simple act, than unfaithfulness

would be completely negligible. Love may not have been invested in the one he or she

cheated with, but a sense of love in their initial relationship has been removed. The

author explains that the harm caused by lust is not only that it damages relationships by

unveiling a desire to have sex with other people, but because it interferes with our ability

to express our love in a relationship that demands such. Relationships then unravel

because those who lust find themselves incapable of fully appreciating and loving another


          It seems that nowadays, people tend to give up on a relationship at the very

instance a strong gust of wind blows. However, it follows that if one cannot commit to a

relationship and withstands the storms that come, how can they commit to other aspects

of their lives. Fairlie therefore suggests that those who lust, those who are incapable of

fully committing themselves to a relationship that goes beyond the physical realm and are

are therefore unable be completely loyal to the large remainder of society. Unfaithfulness

slowly runs rampant through their lifestyle. With every single incident, those who lust

find themselves more aware that they can run at the moment they smell trouble! This

presumably leaks into the rest of their lives where their infidelity and lack of persistence

eventually become obvious to their friends and the world around them.

       Throughout Fairlie’s chapter on lust, he cleverly argues his case on why lust is

wrong in such a way that it seems nearly indisputable. He seems to have especially

mastered the difference between love and lust. One of the few criticisms against him

would lie in his ambiguous terminology. For example, he uses “Lust is charmless. It is

charmless with what should have the most charm.” Yet, he also discusses how our

society has become one of seduction – saying seduction is bad and charm is good. To

many readers, sexual charm and seduction appear to have very similar meanings. Plus,

who knows exactly what charm in this instance means? On several occasions, he uses

words that have multiple meanings than can easily be interpreted ways other than in

which the author may have intended.

       It might also be acknowledged that his stand on pornography is somewhat weak.

He appears to claim early in the chapter that looking at pornography eventually consumes

one’s entire life. “it is sinful because it is atrophying … in other words, it is a form of

dying … it is in its own black hole, where no voice can reach it, and from which its own

voice cannot be heard. It has collapsed into nothingness. It has burned itself out.” He

then moves directly onto saying how we fear old age because of its potential emptiness.

He claims that the action leads to seclusion, but fails to clearly explain why and what

makes it any worse from lusting over real men or women.

       The last criticism involves his lack of clarity. The author’s claim is that during

sexual relationships, people still get ‘hurt.’ He describes how this hurt can be both

physical and mental, but neither seems to make any sense. Rarely do people ever hear of

people receiving ‘slappings’ or ‘beatings’ during sex when they are not technically raped.

He claims that the emotional harm deals with “more subtle humiliations of which our

sexual feelings are registers.” This nonsense statement appears to be his focal point on

how people are emotionally harmed and humiliated by sex. He leaves the reader

wondering how it can be physically harmful (except under rare and extreme

circumstances, like rape), emotionally harmful, and socially humiliating. His lack of

support on this somewhat weakens his entire argument.

       It should be noted that the author’s perception of lust could be seen as nothing

more than an minority’s opinion in the eyes of those who indulge in open promiscuity. It

would be highly doubtful that they would believe that their actions have caused them

harm. Perhaps those individuals even feel that their own lust has brought more pleasure

to their lives via sex. Perhaps they perceive the enjoyment and point of life as being

more in physical gratification than in emotional gratification and feel that they have

somehow filled their lives with pleasure through sex, instead of perceiving it as a void

created by their promiscuity as Fairlie did. Those with drastically different views on sex

would probably reject Fairlie’s view all together because they’ve developed a completely

different value system. They would ask themselves, “How does having sex with multiple

people really humiliate the body?” Many would also argue that promiscuous people are

more than capable of maintaining a healthy relationship, but they are attempting to enjoy

the physical side of life as much as possible before they settle down with the person they

will be exclusive with.

        Lust, prior to this reading, may have meant this: wanting another partner outside

of a monogamous relationship. As a child grows, he or she slowly understands that rules

are not just simple tests of loyalty, but instead, they actually have reasons for their

implementation. Most children could recall being reprimanded for things they failed to

understand until later in their childhood. In the Bible, God may have seemingly laid

down his laws without clear purpose. Perhaps they even appeared to serve as a means of

testing one’s loyalty to him. One might then ask themselves questions like “Why is it

wrong to have sex before marriage? Is it simply because God says so?” Fairly assumed

the reader perceived lusting as being wrong. What he endeavored to do was explain why

it is wrong from a logical standpoint and how lusting damages someone. A long time

ago, God said it was wrong to covet your neighbor’s wife. What Fairlie explained was

why God laid this rule down and why it is to one’s own benefit and that of society.

Fairlie’s subject matter for his chapter is essentially this: there are reasons not to lust. It

should be explained to all who believe in God just how and why all of his laws should be

interpreted in ways that are designed to help us in the long run and not just as rules he

laid down arbitrarily as a test of character.

        Understanding lust is important since modern society appears to be growing

progressively guiltier of lust. Fairlie recognizes this fact and even incorporates it into his

argument “All of this is again often interpreted as proof that our age is more sexually

active than any before, whereas it is evidence rather that the lustfulness of our time has

reduced our sexuality almost to impotence.” Sex appears to be losing its respected as a

form of sincere affection shared between individuals. Instead, it is literally ‘counted’ as

an action only that satisfies a basic desire. By knowing why lusting is wrong and what

effects it has on the mind, Fairlie’s work makes individuals less likely to follow that

inward spiraling path towards a black hole. It enlightens individuals and enables them to

make their own lives happier and overall more fulfilling.

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