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Here's the Lowdown on Rapa, the Lush South Sea Island Where the Gals Outnumber the Guys 6 to 1--and Every Vahine Knows What to Do with a Good Man if She's Lucky Enough to Find One.

"The Isle of Sex Starved Women"

by Leroy Thorpe



Vol. 15 No. 7, 1958

     EVERY man dreams of escaping someday to an island of enchantment, where dusky native girls with hibiscus flowers in their long blue-black hair strum softly on primitive stringed instruments and love is as free as the sun drenched air.
     To most of us this thought is generally associated with Tahiti, in the South Seas. Over the years a great many men have visited Tahiti and have found the girls lush and loving. Sex freedom is unique on the island and has been ever since the earliest navigators began noting in their ships' logs that they had "put in to Tahiti to refresh the men." There's a very good reason why one of the island's highest landmarks was named Point Venus.
     Yet there's another island not far from Tahiti where the yen of the girls for love is far more eager, and even desperate, than anything to be found on Tahiti. Curiously enough, this island is almost entirely unknown to white tourists. This seems almost incredible in view of the startling fact that on this little-known island, which is easily accessible from Tahiti, there are six beautiful vahines to every male.
This is no pipe dream. The authority for it appears in numerous official publications, such as the Official Directory and Guidebook for Tahiti, 1951 edition. The island is described as "fine and rich" and the tantalizing observation is made that "the women outnumber the men some six to one."
     The name of this paradise for males is Rapa. People who have been there call it "the island of sex-starved gals."
     Men are so scarce on Rapa that quite a few vigorous ones have established harems there. The girls are so grateful they refuse to let their lovers do any work; their men just loll around living the lives of South Pacific sultans. The gals can't afford to be jealous of each other, but share the available males gladly. There are none of the hairpulling, clawing, screaming, and even knife-wielding battles over men that are common in Tahiti. After sampling Rapa's love-hungry females men have jumped ship with understandable enthusiasm
     How do you get to Rapa--that's probably what you're wondering now.
     You will have to go to Tahiti first. If you have plenty of loot and want to fly, you can get to Papeete, the rollicking and uninhibited capital of Tahiti, via New Zealand Airlines and Air Tahiti, or via Tasmanian Empire Air Lines. But if you're like most American males, the cost of flying will be too expensive. Your best bet will be to grab a freighter in some West Coast port and allow plenty of time for the trip. Depending on how thoroughly you shop around, you should be able to make the trip, one way, for about $350 or less.
     You will, of course, have to meet the legal requirements as to passport, etc., of both the U.S. and French governments. You will need a French visa. You will also have to have typhoid and smallpox shots. And when you arrive in Papeete you will have to deposit in a bank there a cash bond sufficient to transport you back to the States. This is a precaution against your going broke and landing on the beach The island authorities are rough on beachcombers, regardless of what you may have heard to the contrary.
     As far as living expenses are concerned, you can get by very comfortably on $200 a month, with a reasonable amount of carousing. You can cut down somewhat by buying and preparing the local foods, or by getting a room with a native family. If you go completely native you can live on much less, but to do this you should know French and some Tahitian as well.
     All right, let's assume you've arrived in Tahiti. You can have a hell of a time right there in Papeete, which is as far as most tourists get. But, of course, you're going further. If you have the money and the time you should reserve Rapa for last and visit some of the other islands which are fairly close together and easily accessible by excursion boats. For instance, the hula dancing on Bora Bora is the most uninhibited you'll see anywhere and the girls are just the same. If you saw the movie "Tabu" you know what the Bora Bora girls are like; it was filmed on this island.
     You might also visit Raiatea and watch the native sorcerers walk on fire--actually a long trench full of glowing coals. The secret of this trick is carefully guarded but it's certainly a frightening ritual to watch.
     On all these islands it will be a simple matter to find love. In some places the girls have their own personal thatched huts, especially built for romancing. But except for Rapa the proportion of girls to men is about the same as it is in Hometown, U.S.A.--roughly one to one. For the really love-hungry girls you must go on to Rapa.
     While your tiny excursion boat, little bigger than a launch, is throbbing through the blue sea , toward Rapa, let's find out why this island is unique, with more females to males than any other place in the world.
     There are two native legends which attempt to account for the man shortage. According to the first, Moto-rapa, king of the island, was defeated in battle by natives of another island and fled with his warriors in a fleet of canoes to mysterious Easter Island, leaving the women behind.
     The second legend is just the opposite. It holds that Rapa was settled by women from Easter Island, who miraculously conceived after their arrival and since then have consistently had far more daughters than sons.
     Both these legends, of course, are completely opposed to biological facts. Regardless of how many more women than men there might be in any given generation, over the course of several generations the differences would vanish, for Nature arranges it so that roughly about as many male as female babies are born. Whenever there are considerably more females than males, as in Germany today, war is generally the cause. And it takes only a few generations of peace to bring the balance back to normal again.
     In the case of Rapa there is no history of recent warfare. But there are two perfectly good reasons, each complementing the other, why Rapa is so short of males.
     Not so very many years ago one of the most animalistic sex cults known to man flourished throughout the islands of Polynesia. This was the worship of the erotic god Oro, who was supposed to be the deity of human reproduction. The songs and dances in honor of Oro, unless they are cleaned up in the interests of decency, are lascivious beyond description, nothing whatever is left to the imagination. The present-day hula-hula, for instance, is a tame descendant of a dance to Oro which frankly simulated the act of procreation.
     The priests of Oro were as lewd as the god they professed to serve. Since they were supposed to be able to grant or withhold fertility they possessed unlimited powers over the Polynesian women. They maintained large harems of temple girls, both for their own gratification and, for a price, the gratification of the male worshipers of Oro. Thus the depravity of the cult was as great as anything that ever happened in ancient Babylon or Greece, which were essentially places of prostitution.
     When the French acquired the islands they tried first to get the priests of Oro to abandon some of their more debased practices. When this effort failed, the French levied penalties for various offenses against common decency that were part of the worship. These penalties also failed to do more than make the Oro worshipers more cautious. Their orgies now became secretive, but they went on just the same.
     Finally the French decided the only way to smash the cult would be to exile the chief priests. Together with their harems these leaders were driven out of the islands and allowed to settle on isolated Rapa. Thus Rapa was populated by a handful of men and a considerable number of women. Obviously the women were all of exceptional beauty, for the priests of Oro had their pick of the crop.
     This alone, however, would not have created a permanent preponderance of women over men on Rapa. The circumstance that does this is that Rapa is a small island, only about ten miles long by six miles wide. It has no cities, no industries, few opportunities for an ambitious man other than to wear himself out making love. Except for this one factor it's a very dull place.
      Most of the young men of Rapa are eager to leave the island as soon as they're old enough to earn a living. They crave the bright lights of places like Papeete, even though there are fewer vahines available and the competition for them is keener.
Rapa is a fantastically beautiful island. Of volcanic origin, it rises steeply from the sea with waterfalls here and there 'plunging into the ocean, The coastline is irregular, many fingers of land jutting out and separating the little harbors with their beaches of fine white sand. Food is abundant.
     The man who steps ashore from the infrequent excursion boat will be fascinated by the place--the gleaming coral quai, the palm and hibiscus trees, the searing jungle covered hills, the neat little huts of plaited pandanu or palm leaves, the slightly larger house of the resident gendarme. He will be greeted by bevies of girls, tall robust vahines of somewhat darker skin than the Tahitians because there is less white blood in their veins. Their costume is a simple knee length chemise of cotton or tree fiber. In honor of the occasion they wear wreaths of flowers in their hair and carry musical instruments. Virtually every girl on Rapa plays either the guitar or the concertina.
     These girls are frankly amorous. If they get the chance they will lure you to their huts or into the hills, which are honeycombed with caves. If you show some interest you will be escorted by half a dozen of them. Wherever you go girls will follow you.
     The French authorities are well aware that the gals of Rapa are sex-starved and welcome immigrants who are willing to settle down there and marry native girls. On the other hand, they make every effort to prevent the landing of men who come to Rapa solely to indulge in unlimited sex. Periodically reinforcements of cops come from Tahiti and search the island for men known to have jumped ship and taken to the hills, If these men are captured they are deported. But finding a man in the Rapan hills is like finding a needle in a haystack, particularly since the women all co-operate to hide him or keep him moving about ahead of the cops. There's good reason to believe that at least a dozen men, including Americans, are successfully eluding the police in the Rapan hills right this minute. Some of them have been there for years.
     If you want to get ashore on Rapa be prepared to offer a legitimate reason for your visit. Some of the valid reasons are to study the customs of the people, to rest, to paint or write, to fish and swim, to survey the possibilities of settling down or at least establishing a vacation home there.
     Your stay will be limited to a basic three months. If you don't make an obvious nuisance of yourself by brawling, carousing and flagrant fooling around with the vahines, you should be able to get it extended another three months, and so on. The French are pretty broad-minded about these things.
     So there you are. Nowhere in the world are he-men more desperately needed than on the island of sex-starved gals. But as the official , guidebook warns, don't start packing your bag for Rapa until you're certain you can meet all the qualifications--not just the one that has to do with romance. 

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