As Georgia rushes to embrace Western ways, a cultural taboo on sex before marriage for women is one tradition that is still holding strong.And even while acknowledging the macho tenets that shape it, the taboo is one tradition that many Georgian women from all walks of life say they do not want to buck.
Speed dating, as two separate words, is often used as a generic term for similar events.
Some blame the advent of a market economy in Georgia for the rising marriage ages.
Young people now start working earlier and the more exacting work environment – and less predictable economic security -- can interfere with wedding plans.
“Sex is something you do in Ukraine, Russia or some other place where people are grown-up about this, while here you just get married,” grumbled twenty-something cellist Vakhtang Gabisonia.
Georgian women may shrug their shoulders and laugh about “the virginity institute,” but many still willingly play by its rules.
“Often these marriages have to do with sex, more than anything else.” At the same time, heavy social and family pressure can also play a role.