Ritual and Erotic Bathing Conscious Practice

Getting Wet

Do you want to experience ecstatic and blissful loving? Good. Then take a bath! Bathing can be a wonderful part of conscious loving relationships.

IMG_1375From the earliest times, baths have served to do more than just clean the body. The great baths of the Indus Valley date back 4500 years and were used for ritual, rather than biological, washing. Ritual pools are found in Indian, Middle Eastern and Mexican temples. In China, the bride and groom bath before the wedding and even the Buddhas in the temples were bathed once a year. Participants in the Eleusinian Mysteries were obliged to bath in the sea. In Judaism, a woman is obliged to take a ritual bath every month before initiating a new cycle of sexual intimacy. Baptism originally involved total immersion and Jesus was baptised in this way. Alchemic transformation requires repeated washing and many of the drawings accompanying the texts depict the alchemic union as a man and a woman sexually joined in a bath. In all these instances, water and bathing is used as part of spiritual cleansing.

Our bodies are 60% water and when we get into water, we return to our source and become receptive. That allows us to go forward, ‘newly created’, into whatever follows, be that sacred temple service or sacred sexuality. Warm water reminds the cellular memory of our bodies of the time we were contained and nurtured in the womb.

If we want to get more out of our experiences, it is desirable to set up ritual space, to encourage the transition from the mundane world into sacred consciousness. Putting in a little effort and intent will completely change the experience.

Here is one way to have an erotic bath. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to do this. Trust your intuition and create something personal that is fun and playful.

Gather some freshly laundered towels, essential oils, a fine soap, a few candles, a jug, a scarf to use as a blindfold and soft wrap-around cloths for afterwards. You might want to add incense, flowers, some scented massage oil, and some fruit. Clean the bath and prepare the bathroom and the other items earlier, before you begin, so that your attention can be directed to your lover when you are together. Close all the windows and the door in your bathroom. Trickle in the hot water only. The purpose is to get a steamy, warm room. When half full, add essential oils, heating and scenting the room. While the hot water is running, place a few lit candles around the room. Throw a handful of petals or herbs onto the water. Have your jug, soap, massage oil and peeled and cut fruit next to the bath.

Now invite your lover into the bathroom. Take off your clothes before entering the room or put your cloths outside after you undress. It is best if the room remains tidy. Look at each other’s eyes. Feel your energies slowly begin to merge. Breath slowly and deeply into your bellies. If you retain your sense of humour and kindness, there should be no need for talking and one of the best non-verbal means of communication is loving touch.

Add cold water to adjust temperature. Your bath should be pleasantly hot without burning yourselves. Allowing for sweat is healthy and sweat is also one of the sacred body fluids. This would be a good time to brush your teeth. Offer your lover a toothbrush with a bit of paste already on it. When the temperature is right, invite your lover into the bath by silently extending your hand. Sit in the bath face to face. Use the scented bath water to ‘anoint’ the third eye and heart area. Invite your lover to do likewise to you by taking their finger, dipping it in the oil or water and guiding it to your forehead and heart region. Fill your jug from the bath and pour this a few times over the back and front of your partner.

Encourage the person being washed to close their eyes, using your fingers to close their eyelids. Or tie a blindfold lightly over their eyes. This will encourage greater trust and surrender and allow the body to relax. Bath them like a baby. Rub their tummies and backs in a circular movement. Raise each arm, and lower it after you are done. Take your time to feel and cover every part of their body. Use a loofa or bunches of herbs to make firm movements on their buttocks and backs and gentle movements on the front of the torso. Breasts are very sensitive, so rub them gently.

With the soap, slowly begin to wash every part of your lover’s body. This is not a bath to wash a dirty kid! This is a sensuous connecting with all your senses through the medium of water. Do not use soap on the inner labia, the vagina or more than a tiny amount on the shaft of the penis. Soap will only irritate these highly sensitive areas. Clean water, with the oil and soap already present in the water, is enough. Wash his penis gently. If he is not circumcised, gently pull back the foreskin and wash that area with water. Wash her labia with a gentle rubbing with the water. The vagina is a self-regulating system that does not need any water inside to disturb its moisture and balance. Wash the anus slowly with some soap. This is erotic and will make your partner more relaxed later when making love.

From time to time, splash or drum the water softly to become aware of the sound of the water. Splash water against their body, not their face. When you are done, pour hot water from the jug several times all over them, this time including their heads. Pour slowly, to emphasise the sound. Pour fast to create a rush of energy. Now ask them to open their eyes, hand them the soap, close your eyes and wait for them to do the same to you!

When this is all done – at least five minutes each, ten or fifteen would be better – feed each other some fruit. After a good soak get out and get the towels. After drying yourselves or each other, wrap yourselves in a clean cloth.

Understand what you are doing. Bathing creates a bridge to cross over between the tensions of daily living and the relaxation of conscious lovemaking. This transition is necessary for the merging of energies and the feelings of well-being that mindful loving offers. Most people need to be fairly hard and armoured to survive and succeed in their everyday world. But softness and surrender are essential for meaningful intimacy. If lovers cannot merge, then the true depths are not discovered in either partner. It takes time and trust to really allow the flower of deep loving to unfold.

Although you will likely be turned on by all the attention, you are not just bathing your lover as a prelude to making love later. That will no doubt follow in a short while. You are allowing time for the essential transition from the profane world of judgements and rules into the sacred place of genuine passion, openness, surrender, freedom of expression and playfulness. Biologically, a person needs a period of safe time to shift from the fight-flight operation of the sympathetic nervous system to the more in-the-moment meditative parasympathetic nervous system. In the playful present, Self meets Self by meeting at the centre.

If this transition is not made, then the lovemaking itself will simply become another variation of the attacks, defences and protection often required to survive every day. This becomes translated into performance anxiety, questioning our own ability and desire-ability, the need to prove oneself or the need to deliver expectations and the ruthlessness, resentment and indifference that sometimes results from these experiences.

For those who are striving to become more conscious, who are willing to risk genuine intimacy as part of a meaningful realtionship, who value transparency as something worth making an effort to achieve, then the attentions of bathing with your lover is a way both to honour and value yourself and at the same time, it is an appropriate expression of showing respect and giving thanks to the divine companionship of another person. And both these qualities – self-respect and appreciation of your lover – are essential in every aspect of conscious, sacred, passionate, meaningful living and loving. Enjoy!