In the 1960s, a rather obscure anthropologist by the name of John Cowan Messenger discovered an isolated and very small community in a place called "Inis Beag" in Ireland. This was apparently a false name and the place is in reality called "Inisheer", they deliberately misnamed the area to "protect the people".

"Inis Beag", according to the anthropologist, was the most sexually repressed in the world. Amongst other things, masturbation and premarital sex were unknown and people had sex while fully clothed.

I need not describe in detail the practices of this community, one may see them in detail at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inis_Beag#Sexuality

Another community discovered in the Cook Islands, named as "Mangaia", were named as the most sexually liberated. They were the total opposite of the people in Inis Beag. Casual sex in females was rampant and sexuality freely defended and nudity the norm. You can get the details of this community and Inis Beag on: https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Cultural_differences_in_sexuality

These two places have been many times mentioned together in many anthropological works and popular culture. However, the person who detailed the sexual culture of Mangaia was Donald Marshal and he was the only person who did so. All studies afterwards merely cite him. In other words, there's no other reference on Mangaia. An extremely similar situation prevails for Inis Beag, where Messenger is the only source.

Inis Beag and Mangaia are held as total polar opposites. The former with the most sexual repression, the latter with the most sexual liberation.

How true are these claims exactly? They have been often tossed around in forums and other places but nobody it seems has actually investigated their validity.

  • 1
    This is fascinating, but could do with a better definition of "sexually repressed", as you yourself use the term "claims" (multiple aspects from two different sources): this is a bit too broad. Could you focus on a single aspect/claim that's well defined? Apr 11, 2019 at 13:07
  • Are you asking if they are really the most repressed/liberated? That would be hard to prove, and I doubt any anthropologist would make the claim seriously. Or are you just asking if what is said about these places is true? Apr 11, 2019 at 13:44
  • Do you have a source for the "Inis Beag = Inisheer" claim?
    – DenisS
    Apr 11, 2019 at 14:33
  • 1
    The superlatives are opinion-based - if there were some notability sources for the claims, we might be able to fix this.
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 11, 2019 at 16:31
  • 1
    @Kalis Please link to where we can read the claims ourselves in context. Please quote the claims in the authors words, so we know that they aren't being twisted. Are you asking is a book was fictional/non-fictional, rather than asking whether a claim in the book was true? (If not: I haven't understood your last comment.)
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 12, 2019 at 3:36


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