Spain's happy hour for sex

Local beaches to test a lights-out period every night.

Published May 1, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

Tourists walking along the beaches of Spain this summer should watch where they step, especially between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. They might disturb the world's oldest activity. Local police have deemed this time slot a happy hour in the truest sense -- the time set aside for young people to have sex on the beach.

Beach lights will be turned off for this crucial 60 minutes, to allow young couples the privacy that a drunken, sand-covered sexual congress deserves. This strange pilot program is currently being tested on the beaches at Torre del Mar and Caleta de Velez, which are popular with European tourists on holiday. Local police authorities promise to suspend patrols of the beaches during this hour of lust, so as not to disturb the rutting.

According to Antonio Lopez, the town council member in charge of beaches, the sands were getting stirred up regularly from young kids who hit the dunes for a late-night romp after the nightclubs closed. Might as well give them some space to do it, goes the official reasoning, because they're going to do it anyway.

"It has always been traditional for young people to use the dark and the low tide for a quick roll in the sand," Lopez told the Scottish Daily Record, apparently with a straight face.

Traditional Spanish families will see the new happy hour in one of two ways: a blasphemous slap in the face to a devoutly religious population, or a chance for their hormone-crazed family members to get out of the house and sow some wild oats. Local young people usually live with their parents until the age of 30, in small, crowded family flats that lack the privacy needed for a quick roll in the hay.

And, of course, young horny tourists will do what they always do when they visit Spain -- try to get laid. Except now the government has made it that much easier, providing an officially sanctioned location, time slot, and mood lighting.

"It is up to the authorities to prepare places where young people can maintain sexual relations," said Antonio Fernandez, the region's director general of youth affairs.

Despite this liberal attitude, not all Spanish officials are pleased with the new idea. More conservative towns are vowing to increase beach patrols at night, to cleanse the sands of sex-crazed youth.

The unorthodox program will start when the annual summer tourist season begins, and is in no way affiliated with the travel industry.

By Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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