Sexual temptation can be pretty strong sometimes, especially when the desire is new and in the full flood of youth.

This is a post about desire. Any desire. But we will do that literary thingo, synecdoche or metonymy or whatsit, where we focus on a part to stand in for the whole. So we will be looking at sexual desire and sexual temptation.

Let’s look at the teenage years or early adulthood, when the desire is strong but chastity still means celibacy. I am writing from a guy’s perspective but I think, mutatis mutandi, you could translate it into a girl’s perspective too.


Like with any strong desire, you can give into it. This we would call weakness. It leads to nothing good, the desire itself often getting bent and devitalized in time.


You could simply endure the desire until you reach an acceptable way of expressing it. This we would call strong.


You could do things that suppress the desire. For sexual desire, for instance, you could avoid being around persons of the opposite sex and eat poorly and act sedentarily so that your lustiness subsides. This might be called wise. If the world though sexuality something to be avoided as a teenager, they would call this wise.


You could do things that suppress the desire temporarily but increase it over time. Or alternatively that make you stronger at controlling the desire but at the price of the desire getting stronger too. For sexual desire, we might call these things exercise and healthy eating and cold showers. Your capacity for self-control increases, but so does your vigor and therefore your desire and therefore your temptation. A good bit of vigorous exercise now might allay some temptation, but by making your fitter the desire and temptation will come back stronger later. Or instead of just dreaming about girls (or mutatis mutandi, boys) you could make efforts to flirt and chat and get rejected and that would also allay your desire. But over time as you got better at it and you realized that social success was very possible for you, the temptation would then be stronger.

You could even do something like work on developing a stronger testimony of family and sexuality. This would fortify you against expressing them in the wrong way. But it would also increase your desire to have them. The net result would be that your capacity to resist temptation becomes higher, but so does the desire and therefore also the temptation.

For now, let us call this foolish. If the world believed that sexual desire should be abstained from in the teenage years, foolish is what the world would call this.

The foolish young man looks like he’s running a rat race. He deals with desire by increasing it, and then he has to deal with that desire by increasing it even more, and so on. His desire could reach vast levels of strength, almost unbearable levels we cannot even imagine. What a fool!

But. The cycle does not go on for ever. He marries. And now he is healthy and vigorous and confident and disciplined and socially successful and has a strong spiritual witness of family and sex, and he is married. His foolishness is now great wisdom and strength.


There was a plain between the mountains and the sea where men grew crops. When it rained in the peaks, the waters would flood on the plain.

In one version, men did nothing. They let the waters run as they would. Their crops and soil eroded away.

In another version, men dug a channel. The water washed through without harming the crops, but also without helping them.

In another version, men built a great dam at the base of the mountain. The crops dried out. In time, with less evaporation from the fields, the rain fall in the mountains grew even less, and the crops dried out even more.

In another version, they built little catchments and ponds and swales and diversions all through their fields. Just enough to manage the sheets of water running off the hills. The crops flourished. But as they flourished, there was more evaporation, and more rainfall, and the men had to strengthen even further their little waterworks. Till in time and after great labor all was green and flourishing.

A better parable wanted, if you can think of one.

Virtue Set

This is something like a virtue set, though not exactly. Like but not like. To be strong or wise is better than to be weak, but foolishness is best of all.

Of course, the foolishness really is foolishness. Trying to have great desires greatly controlled is extremely risky and probably impossible for men. Only with God all things are possible.


Christianity is the anti-Buddhism. Desire is not to be suppressed but guided and increased until it reaches impossibly high at the asymptote and passes into transcendent realms.

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