Confessions is one sexy book. And by sexy, we mean guilt-ridden. See, our man Augustine likes him some love-makin'. And by some, we mean a lot. And since these are his confessions, after all, he doesn't spare us any gory details. But the way Augustine talks about sex isn't meant to be lurid; he talks about sex as a force that enslaves the body. Sex ends up causing Augustine a lot of grief because for a while, he can't imagine life without it. That's a pretty big problem for someone who wants to become a devout Christian.
Questions About Lust
- What exactly does Augustine refer to when he uses the word "lust" (i.e., sexual intercourse, sex outside of marriage, all sexual urges, etc.)? How does our interpretation of what he means change how we view the nature of his sins?
- Does Augustine see lust as his biggest sin? Why or why not?
- How do you understand Augustine's relationship with his mistress? Is it purely based on lust?
- Do you think that the main conflict in the Confessions is the one that Augustine has with lust? Why or why not? If not, what is the main conflict?
Chew on This
For Augustine, lust epitomizes earthly attachment.
Augustine's separation of love and lust is part of his broader separation of the body and the spirit.