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Dating & Romance

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 Until recently it largely catered to the sex-crazed support staff of the now withdrawn US airbase.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.

Paul Bartlett

Paul Bartlett was born in southern England in 1962. After graduating in 1985 with a degree in Cultural Studies he spent the next 5 years or so working in a series of dead-end temporary jobs in London in order to finance trips around Europe. Then he hit upon the idea of teaching English as a means of combining making money with travel. Since 1992 he has lived in Greece, Czech Republic, Russia, Spain, Uzbekistan and now Kazakhstan, where he lives with his partner, Jo, who is similarly afflicted with the travel bug. In that time he has traveled all over the former Soviet Union and ventured into China, India and Thailand. He has been writing about his travels for the last 5 years. He is an easy-going individual who sees work as a means to provide the money for future trips to obscure parts of Asia. He is currently trying to adjust the work-life balance more in favour of life, having tired of working full time for other people.