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Ana Dabrundashvili

Georgian Parliament’s Problems with Defining a Condom…

The new ruling party, amid the chaos of organizing the new parliament,  has found some time for (not so) innocent fun. Few MPs initiated amendments to the Administrative Code of Georgia restricting selling of sex paraphernalia and condoms. As there is an increasing controversy about arrests of former officials, Georgian Dream perhaps chose a bad time to publicly ridicule itself.

A ban on selling "sex toys"... vegetables can be next! (photo: market in Kutaisi), author: Spyros P, source: Flickr

New amendments

A new amendment to the Administrative Code of Georgia proposes to ban selling “sex toys” to all under 18 as well as to restrict the areas where such production may be sold. Stores that sell children’s clothing or toys will be fined by 100 Laris if they sell sex toys as well. Sex-related objects and content also cannot be sold in the areas close to schools, kindergartens and similar institutions.

The Committee session in the Parliament working on this initiative was… hot. To include or not to include condoms in the “sex-toy” section was the key dilemma. Levan Berdzenishvili, an MP from Republican Party within the Coalition Georgian Dream, defined that there are different kinds of condoms, some of which are meant for pleasure only. The video where he categorizes condoms into groups of “toys” and “protection” – with the help of his colleague Koba Davitashvili, soon became one of the most watched Facebook videos in Georgia.

Defining a difference of a “sex toy” from other objects led a little bit too far. Even some vegetables were classified as instruments of pleasure by some MPs, who seemingly could not resist the temptation to use some rather not politically correct words, revealing how freely they can speak about sex-related issues in deeply conservative Georgia.  A few, however, awkwardly tried to avoid certain terms while speaking.

Honestly: what’s the purpose?

Liberals criticize the Parliament for the initiative thinking there is no need for such regulations. Georgian citizens are allowed to marry from the age of sixteen and many under-aged Georgians use that right. Not allowing them to buy condoms or any other sex-related production is considered illogical. Georgia never actually cared about sexual education of youth and many think that the state should encourage usage of condoms rather than restrict it.

Restrictions on selling sex paraphernalia, however it might be defined, perhaps makes even less sense when we realize how tiny this sector in Georgia really is. Many prefer to ignore the sexual side of human life and there was perhaps little demand for a public discussion on it.

As the wave of arrests followed the elections and there are few key changes coming up in the Georgian legal system, this initiative is perhaps highly misplaced and only irritates the public opinion. The liberal part of the society panicked that the government is robbing us from the right to use condoms, so Georgia would be going “Back to the USSR.” Others state that the Parliament loses time on stupid things instead of dealing with truly important issues.

The initiative, even if accepted, will probably not change much in day-to-day life. Whatever the restrictions, young people will manage to find access to whatever they need.

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Ana is from Tbilisi, Georgia, where she currently works for the Caucasus Research Resource Centers. She has an MA in International Relations and BA in Journalism. Pursues writing in free time and is interested in literature.

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