Between Smoke and Fire

The millennial aphrodisiac ritual that has existed since the ancient kingdoms of the Northeast Africa persists in Sudan where it is transmitted from mother to daughter across generations.

The smoke bath is practiced by married women and women preparing for marriage. The main objective is the tightening of the vagina, used mostly after childbirth and to enhance sexual appeal of the couple. The pleasant aroma it leaves in the body, the softening of the skin and the tanning is another of the aesthetic benefits worshiped by Sudanese women.


Among brides preparing for the wedding, it is tradition to perform it two times a day for 30 days. During this time, women do not wash. Your body is covered by a thick layer of aromatic oils and on the last day this layer is removed, revealing shiny, soft and fragrant skin.

It is forbidden to leave the house for 3 days after the bath because of the aphrodisiac power of the strong fragrance produced by the smoke.


Dukhan is more than a beauty ritual. This practice has many health benefits and is used in the treatment of diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, as well as to relieve rheumatic pain, joint problems, circulation issues, arthritis and muscle pain.


The bath begins with the woman anointing herself in scented oil. Naked and covered just with a thick blanket sits in a hole in the floor that can be replaced by a mid-opening chair or even a tire. Fire is lit from aromatic woods and placed below this seat, producing Dukhan – smoke in Arabic. She remains seated for up to an hour when the heat usually becomes unbearable.


The Sudanese ritual is practiced weekly throughout life and is only abandoned on grounds of age or in case of absence, divorce or death of the husband.