Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 21 December 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1592
  1. Liam Farrell, general practitionera
  1. a Crossmaglen, County Armagh BT35 9HD

    Lust does not appear in Index Medicus or on Medline. We in the medical profession pretend that the most atavistic and implacable of all forces does not exist, though our colleagues in the clergy consider it the deadliest of all the deadly sins.1 What, then, is lust? Like any good Irishman, shuddering with repressed Catholic guilt and Victorian prudery, I interpret lust as unfettered sexual desire, and not as some wishy-washy Van Goghian lust for life in general; as Jenny Diver screeched triumphantly in Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, “Sexual obsession hath him in thrall.” In truth, our primal drives offer us little choice; we must see our descendants thrive and our genes become immortal. But Mother Nature has been …

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