Lust may be experienced as intense desire, ardent enthusiasm, or unbridled sexual
longing. This passionate craving is attention directing and a motivational force as is the
experience of any emotion. When untethered, lust can lead to actions that may appear
irrational. In any case, lust is the projection and expression of unconscious emotional
Like love, technically lust is not considered to be an emotion, but involves the experience
of emotions such as bliss, excitement, joy, and interest, along with the anticipation of
erotic sensory pleasure. People who are in the throes of lust may lose their sensibilities,
since lust seems unable to recognize the reality of a situation or motivates one to neglect
it. Lust is an octane for the relentless pursuit of another person in spite of intellectual
reason and sometimes regardless of emotional barriers such as guilt or shame.
At times lust is unbridled sexual attraction that seeks expression, where the physical
appearance and attributes of one person ignite emotions of intense interest and excitement
in another. Yet whatever is triggered in your psyche regarding the lustful qualities of
another person is something specific to your own history. As a result, a friend might
confess to you that he lusts after a certain person, and you may be baffled by his interest
in someone who appears unattractive to you. Additionally, lust can lead you to fill-in
unknown information about the object of your desire, assigning them perfection in your
fantasies. This is because such passion is a construct of implicit memory that becomes
enhanced by conscious imagination.
Implicit memory plays a primary role in the process of falling in lust and can be
considered akin to what resides in you unconsciously—emotional memories concerning
early attachment and love that direct your behavior, goals, passions, and interests in the
present. Phenomena regarding implicit memory have been reported as early as Decartes’
1649 work regarding The Passions of the Soul where he observed that childhood
experiences remain imprinted on the brain.  Since that time, numerous philosophers
and psychological researchers have found that people are affected by early impressions
that are not consciously remembered.
Contemporary theorists have described the limbic connection that occurs in intense
human relationships and how we are driven by our implicit memories.  Such
unconscious emotional connections that are based on attractors—patterns imprinted on
the limbic system— can serve to regulate human physiology and emotional health. So
limbic resonance, even in the form of reciprocated lust, serves an evolutionary purpose.
However, early limbic connections that are less than optimal also tend to be repeated
throughout life.  Therefore, lust and the implicit memories that determine its object
can be the result of either healthy or unhealthy early relationships. It is possible that the
nature and outcome of a relationship can illustrate whether a passionate interest is based
on implicit memories that resulted from healthy attachments or pathological ones.
However, the fact that relationships involve at least two individuals, each with unique
implicit memory, distorts the picture and adds great complexity to deconstructing lust.
The ineffable quality of lust may be the result of another person matching the template
within your implicit memory and the emotions associated with it. Lust provides a rare
window through which you can view your vulnerabilities as you are swept away by your
imagination. And if you are able to face and endure the shame and disappointment that
are often the outcome of such attraction and subsequent disconnection, you will have
ample opportunity to learn about yourself.
For information about my books, please see my website: marylamia.com
 Cited by Schacter, D. (1987). Implicit memory: History and current status. Journal of
Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 13(3), 501-518.
 Lewis, T.; Amini, F.; Lannon, R. (2000). A General Theory of Love. New York:
 See Lewis, T.; Amini, F., & Lannon (2000), cited above.