Scientists warn tourists against getting frisky on sand dunes in Canary Islands

Scientists have warned tourists, especially those from the UK, US and Germany, to refrain from having sex with strangers on one of the Canary Islands' sand dunes due its adverse impact on nature.

Tourists frequently having sex behind the bushes on Gran Canaria's famous sand dunes are having a detrimental impact on the landscape, according to new research

This research, by the Beach and Sand Dune Systems [BEADS] Laboratory of Flinders University, states that the sheer number of visitors that come to the Canary Islands to engage in unlawful open-air sex on the dunes are wiping out the uncommon species and bushes that are native to the region.

The paper entitled, "The Five S's: Sand, Sun, Sea, and Sex with Strangers", looks at "cruising", a term used for anonymous sexual encounters in open and/or closed public spaces.

The researchers found and studied nearly 300 favourite spots, on the enormous expanse of land on the island's south side.

Through this research, they have discovered that "cruising" has had a direct impact on the dunes as well as eight native plant species, three of which are endemic, meaning they are only found in that specific region.

The scientists studied these regions by gathering data on the size and internal distribution of these areas, as well as the type of sexual activity, their location, the vegetation coverage and type, and the environmental repercussions or lack of management efforts.

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In the end, they found that the factors that influence what makes a specific protected location more desirable for cruising include how far it is from the authorised trail, the existence of dense forest, and vegetation-stabilised dunes called nebkhas.

The larger the location is, the higher the number of individuals who use it for sex. These locations are also most likely going to be low lying areas with little vegetation and a lot of trash.

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This kind of activity has also been observed in coastal locations around the world, including in Australia, France, and Portugal, among other places.

According to the study, between September 2018 and July 2019, the people who engage in public sex in the Reserve area were responsible for eradicating 159 of these points. They also removed, uprooted, and killed 1,244.49 m3 of dry vegetation.

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