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C.S. Lewis on Lust, Women, and Masturbation

21

March 27, 2013 by mattfradd


C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis

Here are three beautifully worded, eye-opening quotes from C.S. Lewis on Lust, women and masturbation. I offer them in my talks on pornography and wanted to share them with you!

Lust

“Lust is a poor, weak, whimpering whispering thing compared with that richness and energy of desire which will arise when lust has been killed.”

– The Great Divorce

Women

“We use a most unfortunate idiom when we say, of a lustful man prowling the streets, that he “wants a woman.” Strictly speaking, a woman is just what he does not want.

He wants a pleasure for which a woman happens to be the necessary piece of apparatus. How much he cares about the woman as such may be gauged by his attitude to her five minutes after fruition (one does not keep the carton after one has smoked the cigarettes).

Now Eros makes a man really want, not a woman, but one particular woman. In some mysterious but quite indisputable fashion the lover desires the Beloved herself, not the pleasure she can give.”

The Four Loves

Masturbation

“For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back; sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides.

And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman.

For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no woman can rival.

Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover; no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity.

In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself…After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.”

Personal Letter From Lewis to Keith Masson (found in The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3)

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21 thoughts on “C.S. Lewis on Lust, Women, and Masturbation

  1. […] “Lust is a poor, weak, whimpering whispering thing compared with that richness and energy Go to the Source: Matt Fradd   […]

    • I wish my ex husband would have read this and many more things before pornography, selfishness ruined his life and destroyed the hope of a family me and my son who is now being raised without a father by a strong yet single mother.

  2. Roger C. says:

    I appreciate that quote from C.S. Lewis. I had never seen it before and thought I had read everything of his.

  3. James says:

    Oh, how do I get out of this prison?

    • Christiana says:

      Just know that Jesus is all merciful and all loving. No sin or struggle is too big or hard for Him to overcome. I highly recommend that you reach out to a local Catholic priest or Christian pastor to talk to who could help council you with this. Also, search God’s scriptures, He has all of the answers for us contained in His Word. All of our hope lies in Jesus, I KNOW that He can pull you through this, you just have to meet Him halfway. I will pray for you, and know that you are not alone. You have brothers and sisters in Christ who are more than willing to help you and you have a God who cares for you beyond your wildest imaginings. Peace to you and God Bless.

      • Mat says:

        This prison is is always hard to get out of. It’s floor, like a deep pool of mud, pull’s back to itself it’s prisoner. I’ve been addicted to masturbation for 4-5 years and fighting it ever since. I find, at lease for me, the best thing to do is to hold fast to Christ, to give yourself entirely to him. Never stay in desperation but always come running into the merciful and loving arms of the Father. Lust tends to possess it’s followers, so to be healed of lust, you can freely let God be your strength, you can abandon yourself to him.

      • James says:

        Thank you both of you for your kind and encouraging words. It helps to see that I’m not the only one trapped in this disgusting thing.

      • Chris Byrum says:

        I’m a little late to this discussion, but as someone who has fought this same battle I wanted to add my thoughts. In my experience, locking horns with sin in a desperate battle is a fight that you will lose. I believe Paul makes this very clear in Romans 7. The best way to be free of sin is to walk in lockstep with the Spirit in all aspects of your life. Pray fervently, especially for others, serve and love others as Christ commanded, lift your praise up to God in love in spite of the pain and suffering you are going through, and remember what He has done for you and share it with others. When you search for the heart of Christ in every situation in your life and listen to the Spirit I am confident (from personal experience) that there will be little room for sin, and few places for Satan to manipulate you. Romans 8 is the answer to this slavery. Be filled with the Spirit. As C.S. Lewis indicated, masturbation and lust turn you inward (as does all sin really), but God is always wanting to turn His people outward. A desperate struggle with sin turns you inward on your own strength. Serving God with all your life and trusting His faithfulness to free you from bondage turns you outward. My two cents.

  4. CS Lewis at his best.

    Just a side note, could the author please link these quotes to their original references.

  5. Kim Sandy says:

    I agree, would be nice to see the original references please. Thank you.

  6. mattfradd says:

    Just added the sources.

  7. Hi. I am trying to translate these quotes for my blog. I am havin a hard time with the last one for I am not a native speaker.
    ,,to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren)” I dont get the meaning of this part. What does he want to do? I understand something like: ,, He wants to complete his personality by using other people as tools, and finally using children and grandchildern?!” please help 😀

    • jtbeckett says:

      You can not improve yourself if you only listen to yourself who is forgiving of your own flaws… you need a spouse who can point out areas where you need improvement… as you improve, each generation you influence becomes better and better.

  8. […] [Matt Fradd cikkje] Itt van három gyönyörűen megfogalmazott, ráébresztő idézet C.S. Lewis tollából a nemi vággyal, a nőkkel és az önkielégítéssel kapcsolatban. A pornográfiáról szóló beszédeimben szoktam őket ajánlani, és meg akartam osztani veletek. […]

  9. Tess says:

    “And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman.”

    What a gigantic leap.

    What decently developed man would prefer masturbation to a real, live woman? Masturbation is physical, sex is physical, emotional, and spiritual – masturbation is no substitute for it.

    “For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no woman can rival.”

    This is what pornography does, not masturbation.

    • Christian at College says:

      I am not so sure about that gigantic leap.

      Maybe sex SHOULD be emotional and spiritual (especially assuming that it is being practiced in marriage), but I think that some people may be able to have sex that is not very spiritual/emotional. Many people fear/avoid emotions and spirituality-everybody wants sex, though.

      Sex with another person (hopefully) requires consideration and selflessness, whereas masturbation does not. We are all born selfish, and not all of us are born again. I agree that masturbation is not a substitute for healthy sex, but it IS seen/used as a substitute to single people or maybe people who don’t want to connect with others.

      Although surely pornography does reinforce unrealistic ideas about sex and people, so can masturbation…I think that one’s imagination could be uniquely tailored to oneself and thereby, better than, pornography. One could easily construct a perfect, unrivaled partner without pornography.

      I suppose sex, masturbation and imaginative abilities are all different for everyone, but I really don’t think CS Lewis was making any great leaps there.

      • jack says:

        Its so true that in,masturbation the imagination is allowed to freely roam………….I simply love Lewis’s quotes, they are so perceptive……

  10. […] C.S. Lewis on Lust, Women, and Masturbation […]

  11. Jeni @ Patron Saint {of Poopy Diapers} says:

    whew. I need more C S Lewis in my life. Good stuff. Nice post.

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