Monday, November 15, 2010

Ver Gavige!! Sexual Repression & Homophobia in Georgia!

For quite sometime I have been meaning to blog about this topic. As I stated earlier in my previous post, The Republic of Georgia is the poster child for sexual repression. I think they put Asia to shame with this one. Apparently the phrase 'people don't have sex in the Soviet Union' is far from being false and apparently since being free of Soviet ties Georgia seem to not want to catch up with the rest of the world and start having sex; apart from for the means of procreation (reproduction).

I find it very odd that in this society of repressed desires and homophobia that Georgian men exhibit so much affection for each other in public. This was something I could not fathom from the beginning and I am still trying to wrap my mind around it every time I see it. In Georgia it is fairly customary to see men walking down the streets with their arms around each other, or holding hands, when they greet they kiss on the cheek sometimes almost in the mouth and on the subway they are all over each other. Magram (but) they are apparently the most homophobic men in the history of the fear itself. Confused yet? Well good luck sorting it out because I still don't understand hence 'ver gavige' (I don't understand).

I consider myself to be an open-minded individual and therefore I have no problems with homosexuality, but seeing such public displays of affection is so odd to me, because where I come from 'straight'men would never be caught dead engaging in such physical closeness with their male friends due to the stigma of being called gay. I've discussed this phenomenon with many other volunteers and most of us think it is a product of sexual repression and pseudo homo-eroticism. It is quite uncanny that all the men here like to rub on each other and when they are drunk it is taken to another level.

The irony of this situation is astounding. Men are all over each other because their customs/culture denotes that they cannot be all over the woman and yet they are homophobic. This is one of the things that makes Georgia so special, and a place that I can never begin to understand.


  1. i think you got it wrong... (sorry for being so direct, but could not help to comment...)
    you're saying "men cannot be all over the women"...
    the problem is the double standard that is apparently according to your blog is still present in Georgia: men can have sex but women shall stay virgin before marriage.

    that double standard is the root of the problem. man usually have sex in Georgia starting from young age. typically with a prostitute. yes, it's sad, but true..

    the whole situation is very unhealthy. i am surprised you were not advised of it before you got there.

    if you dislike Georgia so much I hope you get out soon! what's your term?

    despite the things you write about, there are many decent people in Georgia (including males and females). i have many decent friends there that I would not trade for any money in the world!! so though I know you are just writing about your deepest impressions have you met any decent people yet???! because I know they are there somewhere...
    good luck with your job and take good care of yourself.

  2. First of all everything you said I know already. I've been living here for awhile. Men cannot be all over Georgian women in public is what I said and because of the repression they are all over each other or at least that is my explanation for what I see on a daily basis i.e. walking down the street, on the bus, on a marshutka and on the metro!!! Yes I know many decent Georgians as you say but this is my blog and my experience so I will tell which stories in whatever order I see fit.

    Do you even live in this country????

  3. > Georgian men exhibit so much affection for each
    > other in public

    Well, the affection from Western point of view, despite it might LOOK as sexual, it is not in the reality.

    As you've already notices privacy and taboo on physical contact the way it exists in Western society does not exist in Georgia. It is OK to touch people during conversation, social interaction (gathering, standing in line an so on). This is not uniquely Georgian or even Caucasian tradition, but rather Asian - from Egypt to India you'll find the same way in people's behavior.

    As far as guys hands on each others shoulder: again nothing sexual here - it it showing their brotherhood in public. If you have older students (10-12th grade) ask them how would they describe into English meanings of words 'megobari' (friend) and 'dzmakatsi' (Georgian word meaning 'true, real friend'). Let them try to explain to you.

    Yes, showing affection between opposite sexes in public is not encouraged in Georgia, however there is no discouragement in showing friendship.

  4. I just read your reply. Sorry I came across so harsh and I now wish I worded it better. Of course it's your blog and you're free to do whatever. I actually enjoy reading your thoughts and learning about your experience in Georgia. btw, I'm Georgian. I lived there for 23 years. I live in the U.S. now with my hubby and two kids. Come visit my blog at