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Scientists: British holidaymakers must STOP having sex with strangers on Gran Canaria’s sand dunes

Scientists have said British holidaymakers should stop having sex with strangers on Gran Canaria’s famous sand dunes.

Research has shown that so many people travel to the Canary Island to have illicit sex in the open air in the dunes, that rare plants and shrubs are being destroyed.

The study discovered nearly 300 favorite sites on the vast sandy area on the south side of the island.

Scientists have said British holidaymakers should stop having sex with strangers on Gran Canaria's famous sand dunes (photo, file photo)

Scientists have said British holidaymakers should stop having sex with strangers on Gran Canaria’s famous sand dunes (photo, file photo)

Covering approximately 1,000 hectares of the island off the coast of Africa, the dunes have been protected as a nature reserve since 1987 and are considered one of the greatest natural treasures in Spain.

Researchers have conducted extensive research into the dune impact of “cruising” involving anonymous sexual encounters in public places.

And they conclude that the activities carried out have a direct impact on the dunes and on eight native plant species, three of which are endemic.

The study was conducted by the Group of Physical Geography and Environment, the Institute of Oceanography and Global Change (IOCAG-ULPGC), and the Beach and Dune Systems (BEADS) Laboratory at Flinders University.

Their conclusions have now been published in a report entitled “Sand, Sun, Sea and Sex with Strangers, the five S’s.”

The researchers point out that the dunes and the coastal beaches are examples of open public spaces where these sexual practices are widely practiced, to the point that they have been identified and defined by the bibliography as the ‘Four S’ (sand, sun, sea and sex; in English).

In this sense, there are abundant studies that have addressed the issue of the relationship between tourism and sex (sexual tourism), but few have analyzed the impact of these practices on the natural environment, especially when the spaces where these activities take place are protected areas ‘ said a spokesperson.

The experts located and recorded all points where sexual encounters (sex spots) took place.

They then collected information related to the dimensions or internal distribution of these spaces, as well as the type of sexual use, their geographical location, the cover and type of vegetation and the environmental impact or lack of management actions.

Subsequently, they were spatially and statistically researched, collected and analyzed using geographic information systems (GIS).

Pictured: A map showing the location of Maspalomas, where the sand dunes in the south of the island of Gran Canaria can be found

Pictured: A map showing the location of Maspalomas, where the sand dunes in the south of the island of Gran Canaria can be found

Pictured: A map showing the location of Maspalomas, where the sand dunes in the south of the island of Gran Canaria can be found

The results show that the total area occupied by the 298 located sexual meeting points is 5,763.85 m2.

These sex sites are related to the distance from the permitted paths in the protected area, the presence of very dense vegetation and the dunes (nebkhas) stabilized by vegetation.

The larger the sex site, the greater the number of people using it, and the more likely it is a low-lying area overgrown with vegetation and with more waste.

The activities carried out at these sexual points have a direct impact on the dunes and on eight native plant species, three of which are endemic.

The researchers point out that Maspalomas is not the only coastal dune area to record this type of activity in the world, as other similar places are known in Australia, France or Portugal, among others.

“However, given the nature of the research and the complexity of conducting socio-ecological analyzes of these processes, little research has been done on these types of events.

For this reason, the subject on which this report is subscribed is of international importance, as it has been possible for the first time to characterize and analyze the environmental impact of this activity in a protected area,” said the spokesman.

An aerial view of the dunes of Maspalomas on the Spanish Canary Island of Gran Canaria

An aerial view of the dunes of Maspalomas on the Spanish Canary Island of Gran Canaria

An aerial view of the dunes of Maspalomas on the Spanish Canary Island of Gran Canaria

“On a practical level, between September 2018 and July 2019, 159 of these points were removed and 1,244.49 m3 of dry vegetation were removed, uprooted and killed by the people practicing this activity in the above-mentioned reserve.”

The authors said they had no intention of offending the LGBTI community, noting that Gran Canaria has been gay-friendly for years, welcoming gay tourists from all over the world, especially the UK, US and Germany.

What they hope will come from the report is a better understanding of how to manage dune cruising and how to protect the environment when greenery is so important now.

At some sex sites, branches had been cut or shrubs were uprooted to provide more privacy and rubbish was also left behind, including cigarette butts, torn/cut vegetation, toilet paper and wipes, condoms, fruit peels and cans.

The report states: ‘The direct effects generated around the sex sites can be observed in several ways, such as the effects on vegetation, the abandonment of waste or the presence of urinal and feces,’ the report says. ‘In general, we can calculate with data from the fieldwork that a

A total area of ​​58 hectares has been changed to build the 298 identified sex spots. Due to the almost constant presence of humans, the dominant processes are man-made processes such as stepping on the plants, removing the plants and sand, making nests.’

Since 2018, the authorities have been working on a major project to protect the dunes.

The study discovered nearly 300 favorite sites on the vast sandy area on the south side of the island (pictured in an aerial photo)

The study discovered nearly 300 favorite sites on the vast sandy area on the south side of the island (pictured in an aerial photo)

The study discovered nearly 300 favorite sites on the vast sandy area on the south side of the island (pictured in an aerial photo)

“It is a benchmark environmental project with the main objective of protecting and preserving the natural Dune Area, one of our most important natural resources and a protected natural area of ​​inestimable ecological value,” said a spokesman for the island government.

‘For several decades, the dune system has been increasingly affected with a constant loss of sand, mainly due to urban development processes and human impact, changing the dynamics of the wind and dunes.

It is estimated that about 45,000 cubic meters of sand is lost every year and ends up on the seabed.’

“This has led to an uncontrolled increase in vegetation in the inner zones, decreasing the area occupied by the dunes and increasing erosion, affecting biodiversity and having a very negative impact on the animals and plants living in the zone. If this situation continues, the dune reserve could disappear in less than a generation.’

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