Uzbek society is at heart conservative and the influence of Islam remains a strong presence in the country. Despite these influences, Uzbek men recognize two distinct types of women – the ones you marry and the ones you have sex with. In the larger cities you will see Uzbek men cavorting with Russian and Korean women and some Uzbek women who are not considered to be of the ‘marrying kind’.
Casual sex between foreigners and ethnic Uzbeks is not too common but you may have better luck with some of the other ethnic groups living in the country.
There is a thriving prostitution scene in Uzbekistan. Until recently it largely catered to the sex-crazed support staff of the now withdrawn US airbase.
If you do strike lucky and pick a woman up in a nightclub she may not be the ‘marrying kind’ and she may not be a prostitute but you may still have a nasty shock when she demands fifty bucks for her services. This is quite a common practice, both for local men and foreigners, and does not mean that the woman is a prostitute – it is just another way of paying the bills.
If you marry in Uzbekistan you don’t only marry one person – you marry a whole family. Appearances count for everything – the wedding night is still marked by the relatives and neighbours crowding round the next day to see the ‘Japanese flag’ hoisted – the blood-stained sheets that prove the bride’s virginity. It is usual for the bride to have her friends as ‘helpers’ to ensure that these requirements are met.
Homosexuality is illegal in Uzbekistan – you can be imprisoned for sodomy.There is a gay scene, albeit extremely underground.