Preface – This entry deals with intimacy, including sex.

Since the beginning of early civilization man has used bathing as a ritual for building relationships and intimacy with both man an G-d. The Romans, Greeks, and Turks built bath houses where men gathered and shared thoughts and ideas. Jews use mikvas as purification ritual between man and G-d, and between husband and wife, both very intimate relationships. In fact, the first time King David see Batsheva, she is bathing.  For me, personally this is the first violation David commits, he has invaded on her intimacy. And only after Batsheva purifies herself, I assume this means she bathed i.e., went to the mikva (ritual bath), does she return home. As Jews use the mikva, Christians baptise and use terms like “washing your sin away”.

In fact, in the Roman tradition, bathing was considered a healing process. The bather would enter the bath with up to seven healers. Each healer was responsible for a different part of the body. Each part of the body was anointed with perfumes, oils, colors and gems. These healers were more sought out after than doctors. Even within art, some of the most intimate pictures are focused on the bather. We are allowed to see the subject at their most intimate moments.

For me personally the ritual of bathing is an important step in building intimacy. For years my ex husband and I showered together (TMI you say, perhaps), it was a point in the morning or evening that we reconnected intimately where sex was not  involved. I recently told a good friend that one of the signs that my marriage was really at the end was that we no longer showered together. I could no longer connect to him physically and certainly did not want him in my intimate space. I no longer wanted to lovingly cleanse him, and  I sure didn’t want him touching me with soap or anything else. There has been only one other relationship where I have allowed myself to be cleansed by another person.

I think this is important because when we allow ourselves to be washed by another human being, we are allowing our selves to say, “I trust you to see, touch, and cleanse me when literally there is nothing to hide behind. You cannot hide when you are being bathed. You are simply naked before another human being. They see you in your entirety, as you are and as G-d created you. And if they see you as you are, and they choose to purify your physical body through anointments they are truly accepting you as you are. I have never once had a conversation with a girlfriend and she said “yeah we met at a bar, had sex, and then we showered and washed each other”.  For me, and the women I know the act of washing is far to intimate to occur between strangers.

I know for myself this is the Litmus test. I know today, I cannot be physical with somebody that I cannot bath with, because for me it means I don’t trust them with me. And if I don’t trust you enough to anoint my body, why would I trust you enough to share it with you.

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