As a non religious person how do you view lust as defined as an intense sexual desire or appetite?
The question is stupid and frankly only posted as a way to sexualize a non-sexual environment by an admitted sexist IMO. Lust runs much deeper than religious beliefs and everyone knows that and accepts it as fact. Get over it and move on with your life.
I don't think in the terms of sin. I think you can have healthy and unhealthy lust. Lust is a craving. You can have a lust for knowledge, I would consider that to be a healthy craving. I have let my own unhealthy lust make me look past unhealthy behaviors by my ex-girlfriends, in other words I put up with a lot of crap as long as the supply of sex was coming in. That's why I'm single now. Getting laid is easy, finding a real life partner is a little more complicated. I wish that had learned this when I was younger, I could have avoided a lot of heartaches.
The medieval Christian warning against 'lust' was a fear of sexual desire. Since I have no reason to fear it, I regard it as a good thing when it gives pleasure, and have enjoyed it whenever I could, and still do.
There are two considerations that should always be observed: respect for the persons you are sharing the desire with, and not putting oneself in harm's way.
I would view lust as sexual desire for someone or something, with which I am not involved in a relationship of any other sort. Pretty much the same way I would see it if I was religious.
Now if lust is a good thing, neutral or a bad, or if that varies according to circumstance, and the wants or not of the subject of the lust. Now that is a complex question.
Humans have a primal drive to pass on our genetic message and seek out the best mating opportunities based on instinctual triggers. Lust can also fall into a control act, where a person wishes to demonstrate power over others or be controlled.
'Lust', often clashes with our societal and cultural ideals.
We have cognitive control sufficient to counter the biological drives to mate or control others.
For example. I work with some very attractive young women, yet I do not exert pressure on them to have my babies. I also do not fantasize about them as it simply isn't right in my opinion to turn them into sex objects. Even with the single, beautiful, and age appropriate lady at work, I treat her with the respect she deserves. Should I ever pluck up the courage to ask her out and that goes well, then I can be lustful in my thoughts.
To conclude, lust is only sinful through subjective rules applied by religion and/or society or cultures.
Hedonism is a primary characteristic of Humans.
Primary characteristics can also be primary weaknesses.
Capitalism exploits hedonism in order to Foster commodity fetishism.
Which is when you buy things because they
(Think of all the money you have ever spent on satiation of the five senses!).
As we age, we tend to be less gullible.
In the meantime, the Capitalist, the Physician, the Dentist, and the Undertaker laugh all the way to the bank!
The lesson here is all things in moderation!
If there is no emotional attachment between the parties engaging, then it's simply scratching an itch. There is nothing ethically wrong with it, as long as everyone involved understands that's all that is happening. Ideally, although probably not typically, all expectations should be discussed beforehand.