Lust. I really like that word. It's one of those words that really sounds like what it is.
Lust is one of the Seven Deadly Sins which seems a sin only in light of how you define it. Dante defines lust as "excessive love of others", which therefore took precedence over the love of God. I think his definition was surely a sign of his times, and imbued with the guilt flowing from the Catholic Church. He also stated that Love and Lust were two very different things, and that Lust viewed the object of desire only as a means to an end, which I must say I agree with.
I don't consider myself to be lustful. Lusty, yes. But not quite lustful, especially since lustful to me implies the wronging of another in satisfying your own appetites. And yet Lust is one of the deadly sins that lives all around us. There is nothing so sad to me as driving along the stretch of highway on the outskirts of a city and seeing the prostitutes lined up on the roadsides. When I was younger, I used to feel a sort of fear and curiosity looking at these women. Now that I am older I only feel despair. This is the true sin of Lust, I think.
Prostitutes have long been some of the favorite subject matter for (male) artists. The painting below by Édouard Manet is entitled Olympia. Olympia was a Parisian prostitute, and when he painted this painting in 1863, it caused quite a stir. This painting is what is known as a Venus, a genre first made popular during the Renaissance. Olympia was a scandal. She not only was looking at you, she was doing so with a straightforward, almost defiant gaze. She was wearing a flower in her hair, jewelry, and even slippers. Olympia has a servant, and cares not for the flowers being offered to her, probably by one of her suitors. Her clothed servant and slippers make her seem all the more nude, and her defiant stare makes you embarrassed.
A more traditional example of a Venus painting is Titian's Venus of Urbino.
The Venus of Urbino is certainly beautiful, and I have lingered in front of this painting and been swept away by it in Florence. I also spent a long while gazing on Olympia in Paris, whose eyes made me think that she and I could have been friends.
According to Dante's definition of Lust, I believe Maestro Titian was certainly doomed to hell, while Manet may have landed a few notches higher.
Endnote: I felt like meandering into the fascinating world of art history today...