Dear Mr. Manners,  

I am writing because I need some advice. I am not a Utah native and I’ve been here for about three years (god, has it been that long?). Anyway, I’ve been seeing the most adorable young ex-Mormon man for about a year. I am originally from San Francisco where there’s more access and knowledge about some more diverse interests in the bedroom. I’ve broached the subject of taking things to the next level a little in the bedroom (always safe). But when I do, things get tense. What do I do? How should I get my boyfriend to break out of his shell? 

— Blue Balls Boy

Dear BBB,

To quote a fortune cookie I once received, “Do not dwell on differences with a loved one. Try to compromise.” Addressing any bedroom matter can be a sensitive subject, however, like all delicate subjects your success is in the approach. That being said, it sounds like the two of you need to sit down and really talk the situation through. On the topic of conversation, a gentleman never beats around the bush. But I believe that mantra is best followed by, “a gentleman never knowingly insults another person; neither does he revel in the embarrassment of others.” The relationship that you describe sounds solid, so I wonder if your partner’s insecurity in your desire to “explore more” comes from just a general lack of exposure to what you have seen in your life — Utah is not San Francisco.

When attempting to have this lover’s conversation, you have two options. You could jump right into it and continue your pattern of making your partner uncomfortable, or you could use the art of persuasion. Not to sound cliché, but we all know the neck turns the head. And in this case it sounds that both heads are having a problem. Maybe this is a chance to work together and come to a common solution. Is there any way to try and start bringing some of these other practices into your normal play without making them seem foreign or overwhelming? Now, by no means am I Dr. Ruth, but I do know that compromise brings results, and that famous last words have began with the phrase, “let’s just do it!”

As a final note of caution, make sure you are picking your battles wisely. Do not let something that makes your partner feel uncomfortable spiral out of control. Beneath your bedroom habits, hopefully lies something much deeper — something worth making compromises for. Why do we close our eyes when we pray, cry, kiss or dream? Because the most beautiful things in life are not seen, but felt only by heart. Bedroom compatibility is extremely important, but don’t let it override all that you have fought to build in the relationship.

As for your concern about being in Utah so long, I have no definite answers. For you see, I too am in the same boat, and that ship refuses to set sail!

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