Dear Fr. Fortea, do demons experience pleasure? If so, how?
Yes, but only in a spiritual sense. As a pure spirit, a demon can derive pleasure only with his intelligence and will. Intellectual pleasures might seem less intense or real than the pleasures of the senses, but this is not the case. Pleasures of the intellect can be as sublime and varied as those of the five senses. Think about the enjoyment that reading a good book, playing a game of chess, or attending the symphony brings; such pleasures are eminently “spiritual”–that is, intellectual–even though the senses may be involved.
In spite of the demons’ drifting far from God, their spiritual powers–intellect and will–remain intact. So their ability to experience pleasure remains intact as well. What they cannot do is love someone with a supernatural love. The capacity to love has been annihilated in the psychology of a demon. A demon knows but does not love. The pleasure achieved in doing an evil act is the same as that which a human being feels when he gets revenge on an enemy–it is a pleasure filled with hate.
To learn more about spiritual warfare and demonology, Catholic Spiritual Direction recommends Fr. Fortea’s excellent book Interview With An Exorcist – An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance.
Art for this post on whether demons experience pleasure: Gargoyle 13, Gargoyles Magdalen College Oxford England, Photographed by Chris Creagh, 27 July 2009 own work, CCA-SA 3.0 Unported; detail of Padre José Antonio Fortea 2017, photographed by Elgatoconbotaselgatoconbotas, 5 May 2017 own work, CCA-SA 4.0 International, both Wikimedia Commons. Cover of “Interview with an Exorcist” used with permission, all rights reserved.