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I had so many thoughts in regards to the article I read about Seyi Kolade’s story. If you’re unfamiliar with this story, Seyi is a 35-year old year Nigerian woman, who has struggled with a sex addiction since the age of 17. Seyi has slept with over 370 men, and has currently been abstinent for six years. She talks in depth about having two abortions, two sexually transmitted diseases, and a housing eviction. Seyi discusses having sex to replace feelings of loneliness, and that at 17, she knew that her problem was becoming out of control. I commend Seyi for sharing her story, and seeking help in a community where identifying addiction is not always welcomed or encouraged.
I found this article fascinating for a few reasons. I’m Nigerian, and this article brought about a lot of questions. How did her family feel about addiction? Did they know? Did they believe her?
I think the topic of addiction is interesting in terms of culture. I often get into heated debates with my parents about the treatment of mental illness/addiction in the black community; it’s unfortunate that so many suffer and feel they have to do so in silence. I applaud this woman for having the courage to share her story, and seek help. She recognized that the rate at which she was engaging in sex and identified when the problem may have begun.
The idea of sex addiction is still something that needs to be researched and discussed more. I’ll admit it, when I first heard about sex addiction, I was skeptical. I once went on a few dates with a guy who claimed he was a sex addict. He told me that in college he would miss class constantly, in order to hook up with girls. He would get headaches if he could not perform, and it became so disruptive that he had to stop having sex cold turkey. He explained that he missed a lot of class, lost his part time job, and ruined the relationship he had with his girlfriend at the time. I did not know what to think; I had always assumed that guys have a lot of sex, and that was ‘normal.’
This woman must be looked at so differently, and with so much judgment. In our society, women who are ‘promiscuous’ and have a lot of partners are labeled as ‘sluts’ or ‘whores.’ But it’s possible that others, like the guy I dated, suffer from the same debilitating addiction as this woman. This was an eye-opening piece. It definitely makes one think twice about passing judgment.
I was very interested in knowing more about Seyi’s background. I wondered if there was any history of sexual abuse in her past history, which may have contributed to developing this addiction. I also wondered what her first sexual experience was like. I feel that first sexual encounters, whether negative or positive, can also affect sexual experiences in one’s adult life.
According to Medical News Today, sexual addiction is defined as ‘an individual who is obsessed with sexual thoughts – thoughts which interfere with their ability to work properly, have relationships, and go about their daily activities.’ Many say that sexual addiction is a form of obsessive compulsive behavior. The text goes on to talk about how sex addiction can be related to depression or anxiety, and Seyi does mention that she was experiencing loneliness and felt traumatized by her first pregnancy.
I think what I can take away from this article is that common feelings such as anxiety and depression can lead to developing a multitude of problems. It is important that people of color become more knowledgeable of how mental illness really affects our communities and that these addictions and disorders are real, and will not just go away. As a social worker, I see firsthand how pervasive mental illness is in the black community. As a Nigerian woman, I know the difficulties that occur in talking about topics as taboo as sex, let alone mental illness. I am glad that Seyi Kolade is in recovery, and hope that her story will help others seek help.