There are two sides to the coin of lust. When you think of lust, it’s often within the context of your thoughts toward a person. However, the other side of it is being lusted after. What in the world does that mean? Let’s take a step back and define what lust is to start. Lust, as defined by Mark Laaser, is normal sexual desire plus selfishness. Another definition of lust is when it is defined in comparison to its opposite, love. Lust is about taking, and love is about giving. Lust-ing after someone is different than being lust-ed after. Lusting after someone aligns with the definition of Laaser, where you are the one that is looking toward the other person. However, being lusted after is defined as the condition where you want people to chase you sexually. Being lusted after most of the time is not even about “having sex” with someone. It can be just the mere desire for people to find you attractive. You might be asking, what’s wrong with that? The fatality of wanting to be lusted after comes with pursuing it in the wrong ways and for the wrong reasons.
First, physical attraction is superficial and temporal, meaning that there is more to you as a person than your looks. And as hard as this sounds, your body is constantly changing. When you get older, it’s not always “attractive” according to society’s standards.
Second, we all need attention. Chip Dodd defines the need for attention as “to be recognized, tended to, cared for, and even nurtured, so that we can re-experience the encouragement that comes from knowing we belong and matter.” What can lead to unhealthy behavior and thinking is when we seek this attention in ways that stem from being lusted after. You see, the definition of lust, taking, goes hand-in-hand with the concept of being lusted after. When you want to be lusted after, you’re essentially just thinking about what you can get from others, even if it’s not directly sexual contact. It can be just the validation, and here lies the real danger of being lusted after.
When you have a void deep in your heart, and you turn to be validated by your attractiveness by seeking to be lusted after, you have entered a cat and mouse chase. It has become an addiction because when someone gives you that validation, it becomes a “hit” of dopamine in your brain. And to make matters worse, now, with social media, there’s a platform to showcase your attractiveness, further deepening this desire to be lusted after.
So what’s the solution? The first thing is to recognize that this desire to be lusted after is there. The second is to find the root. More times than not, it comes from a wounded inner child that did not receive healthy attention and healthy validation when you were younger. When you become aware of this void, you can be present in the moment and be mindful of the ins and outs of your interactions with yourself and others. You’ll be able to shift from wanting to be lusted after to desiring genuine connection and intimacy with others. As defined by Dr. Michael Christian, intimacy is “into me you see.” Suppose you are constantly chasing this desire to be lusted after. In that case, the focus is on the outward appearance you give and what people see rather than the inner person.
Ultimately, it would help to recognize that your desire to be lusted after serves a purpose that perpetuates the cycle. You are not a terrible person if you have sought to be lusted after. It just means that you were hurt in some way that set the process up in motion for you to seek validation in that manner, and there is always hope!