Sex Talks

The Sensual Triad

By Angie Vaaler | | February 23, 2018 @ 4:47 pm

Welcome to Sex Talk, a column in which Sexual Information Center staffers give the low-down on all things sex. I’m Angie, a staffer at the SIC, and I’m here to let you know about a lil thing called the sensual triad.

Communication, Relaxation, and Lubrication. The sensual traid. The coolest thing about this diagram is that it’s all about pleasure, which is pretty radical. Sex ed rarely teaches us how to make things feel good, and learning about pleasure from porn and pop culture can be misleading. Centering communication and prioritizing relaxation and lubrication can make sex safer and feeeeeel better.

First thing’s first: sex can be a lot of different things to a lot of different people! The sensual triad is a simple three-part framework that ensures the sex you’re having is enjoyable for everyone involved.

The Three Parts of the Sensual Triad

1. Communication

This aspect of the triad is important for both consent and pleasure. Clear communication about what each partner wants and how they want it is vital to good, consensual sex. Phrases like, “Would you like to do ____ or _____?” or “What would feel good for you right now?” are good ways to check in with a partner.


2. Relaxation

 Relaxation helps our brain release endorphins that are specific to sexual pleasure. It also helps certain muscles in the body receive touch!


3. Lubrication

This part of the triad refers to any lubrication, whether it’s made by our bodies (pre-cum, vaginal mucus, cervical mucus) or synthetically made (water-based, silicone-based, or hybrid). Both types of lube help sex along by decreasing friction. This is especially important when pleasuring body parts with delicate tissue, like the genitals. When friction occurs without lubrication, tiny little cuts, called microtears, can form, causing pain and increasing one’s risk of STI transmission. Lube can also make sex last longer, if that’s what everyone’s down for!

If you have any topic suggestions, email us at or visit us in Wilder 203. The SIC provides at-cost safer sex supplies, gender affirming products, peer support and comprehensive education to the Oberlin student body and broader community. Visit our facebook page @

Contact contributing writer Angie Vaaler at

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