William Jones | 3/24/2010, 5 p.m.
The recent Tiger Woods incident has reignited the concept, "sexual addiction" (hyper-sexuality). This is a "claimed addiction" that many believe is used as an excuse when one gets caught or accused of "excessive" sexual indulgence. Many people have claimed to suffer from this disease, such as music artist and producers, Eric Benet and Kirk Franklin.
There are also certain individuals who exhibit the traits of a hyper-sexual however, have never been diagnosed. This may be due to an unwillingness to accept responsibility, safeguard to protect their image to include infidelity issues as well as to not be seen as inferior or defective. Often times, the individual will choose to completely ignore the psychosis and its affects.
Former NBA star, Wilt Chamberlain claimed to have had intercourse with 20,000 women over his lifetime, but never claimed to be a hyper-sexual. President Bill Clinton has been the focal point of several incidents involving sexual misconduct but never claimed to be a sexual addict.
The Myth of Black Hyper-Sexuality
African-Americans have been stereotyped as Jezebels and Mandingos for decades. These stereotypes originated as a result of Europeans conducting expeditions to Africa during early 1500's. These travelers were unable to identify with the scantly dressed Natives and their cultural ignorance led to a prejudice judgment of Africans observed as being "hyper-sexual," according to Patricia Hills Collins (Black Sexual Politics)
This misinterpreted observation was reinforced by the African practice of polygamy and tribal dances which appeared as provocative gyrations and over-sexed movements of the body.
Dutch explorer William Bosman once described Black women inhabiting West Guinea "as fiery, warm and so much hotter than the men." Bosman's judgment was based on a complete disregard of differentiation between European (The Elizabethan image) and African cultures.
According to Dr. Frances Cress Welsing (The Issis Papers), "Africans were saddled with this stereotype, and it was used as a tool to reinforce the slave industry and further dehumanize victims of indentured servitude. During slavery, Africans were sexually exploited at the hands of their slave owners, who often, after raping an African female attributed his actions to the supposed ludeness, promiscuity and nymphomania of the African slave, according to Beth Maina Ahlberg, (Is Their a Distinct African Sexuality). This philosophy of African sexuality was embraced and considered normal behavior for African Americans. During the early to mid 1900's, it was common to find such items as swizzle sticks, ceramic figures, art work and mugs simulating oversexed Black women. This idea was conveyed by over emphasizing their breast, hips, thighs and behinds as a way to ridicule the physique of African women. In addition, African males were viewed as animalistic beings, with a high sex-drive. Just as the women were viewed for sexual purposes, the males were often sized up per their sexual prowess. This practice continued well into the 70's.
By the early 1970's, African-American women were still being portrayed as mammies in mainstream films. African-American men were portrayed as chauffeurs, butlers or villains. African-American film producers, unhappy with this image branched out to produce their own movies. Their mission to create characters who were not subservient, but appreciated as individuals of the Black revolution free thinking, forceful and beaming with Black power and pride. However, like the early deceptions of the Black film industry, they actually churned out movies such as, "Sweet Back," "Coffey" and numerous other films that reinforced the idea of hyper-sexuality. The image of Africans and African-Americans derived from the perspectives of mainstream media is still misinterpreted today, but now it is hip-hop lyrics and music videos exhibiting what many young artists consider musical expression. While their critics perceive these images to be another form of hyper-sexuality.