Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 54, Issue 5, pp 479–495 | Cite as

Maddening Desire: Understanding Lust in Pastoral Counseling

  • Ryan LaMotheEmail author

Christian theologians have argued that lust is a compelling sexual desire that distorts reason and judgment, leads to exploitation and injustice, and corrupts the erotic dimensions of human experience and relationships. In this article, I expand on this tradition, arguing that lust signifies the collapse or attenuation of amative space. This collapse is described as either the subjugation of the other or pseudo surrender to the other, which is accompanied by misrecognition of the other's unique and inviolable subjectivity, as well as a heightened sense of distrust. The diverse communicative actions associated with lust, which lead to the collapse of amative space, have several sources, namely, trauma, physiology, and culture. The attempt to restore amative space requires that the counselor and client join together in identifying and understanding the meanings and sources of lustful behaviors, which assists them in considering various strategies for the sake of increasing self-awareness and self-control that loosen the bonds of lust.


lust sin amative space faith 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pastoral Care and Counseling at Saint Meinrad Graduate School of TheologyINUSA

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