How the sexual appetite of tourists came to destroy the beach in a reserve on a Spanish island

The Dunas de Maspalomas nature reserve, on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, is being endangered by tourists having sex among the sand dunes in the area, warns researchers who have inventoried hundreds of “sexual points” on the beach, which have a negative impact on vegetation and dunes, CNN reports.

Overtourism is often seen as a cause of the suffocation of historic cities, where areas near the most famous targets face the problem of garbage, and locals cannot lead a quiet life. In Spain, however, specialists warn that the beach in the Dunas de Maspalomas reserve risks being destroyed by the sexual appetite of tourists.

The reserve is known for its wild dunes that stretch behind the waterfront lighthouse, considered one of the main places to visit on the island. The dunes here, which have been protected by law since 1982, are one of the last systems of moving dunes left in Europe and provide a resting place for birds migrating from Africa, but they are also an attraction for tourists.


The phenomenon became the subject of a paper published in the Journal of Environmental Management, denounced “Sand, sun, sea and sex with foreigners”, in which the impact of tourists’ activities on the protected area was analyzed for the first time.

Researchers have inventoried 298 “sexual points” on the beach in the area, over a total area of more than 5 square kilometers, mainly among the “bushy and dense vegetation” and nebkhas, the dunes around the vegetation. Even in areas where public access is completely forbidden, 56 “sexual points” have been discovered. The study was done in May 2018, a period that included the local Gay Pride festival.

Parctic, tourists who have intimate relationships among the dunes, trample the vegetation, use the area as a toilet and leave behind waste such as cigarettes, condoms, toilet paper, napkins and boxes, have a “direct” impact not only on the nebkhas, but also on eight species of plants, three of which live only on the island of Grand Canaria.

And the garbage bags left by the authorities in some parts of the beach do not cope with the amount of garbage left behind by tourists, the cited source said, adding that some huge lizards in Gran Canaria died after eating from garbage.

With over 14 million visitors a year, Gran Canaria is a destination chosen by tourists from the LGBT community, many of them coming from the US, UK and Germany.

The authors of the research emphasize that their intention is not to criticize LGBT people, given that it is not only visitors from this community who have sex among the dunes.

Photo: Freedom