11 November 2021

Get a room! No, really …

The Back Page

Your Back Page correspondent had to google this, but apparently “sex on the beach” is a fancy cocktail comprising vodka, orange juice, peach schnapps and cranberry juice.

It sounds quite appealing, and certainly better than actual sex on the beach, given the health hazards of combining sand, wind and biting insects with intimate body parts and a sense of abandon.

And without wanting to come across as a fully paid-up member of the fun police, we can now tell you that such activity is also bad for the environment. 

Thanks to a study by Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain and our very own Flinders University, we learn that beach bonking can have a significant detrimental impact on the ecosystems of arid coastal dunefields.

These boffins examined the environmental impact of sexual activities taking place in Gran Canaria, a well-known sex-tourism location in the Canary Islands, a Spanish-controlled archipelago off the coast of northwest Africa.

Writing in the Journal of Environmental Management, the researchers said 10 plant species were being adversely affected by frequent human sexual activity, eight of which were native plants and three of which were endemic to the hot, dry saline dunes of the Canary Islands.

“Our fieldwork … studied 298 sex sports on an area 5763.85m2 of these arid coastal dunefields,” lead study author Dr Levi Garcia-Romero, said in a media release. “In this area of Gran Canaria, we found that sex sports in places of bushy, dense vegetation and ‘nebkhas’ (vegetated dune hummocks) were having a significant impact on the landforms and native plants there, including waste left behind.”

The researchers were quick to establish that they were not targeting the LGBTI community in their study, but rather the effect of all human actions on these fragile environments and how beach use and management could result in long-term changes in beach-dune systems.

“No matter what the human activity, popular coastal tourist locations need to closely monitor ecology and erosion trends,” co-author Professor Patrick Hesp, from Flinders University, said.

“If you are looking to go cruising on dunes in one of the popular spots near major cities, it’s good to be aware of your impact on plants, animals and birds,” he said. “Tread lightly – and preferably in a less environmentally fragile location.”

We imagine our researchers, in the course of their investigations, were also treading lightly. 

If you like pina coladas and long walks along the beach at sunset, send a message to felicity@medicalrepublic.com.au

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