2/28/17
Why the New Frank Sex Talk on “The Bachelor” Is More Helpful Than Harmful

There was a time in Bachelor history when fantasy suite sex was never mentioned outright, it was only hinted at. Those hints grew more blunt over the years: cameras were let into the bedrooms of the suites for a bit, mics were left on longer. But in honor of at least the illusion of class, things never got too gratuitously overt.

Remember the scandal of current Bachelor Nick Viall, just two years ago, committing the ultimate faux pas of admitting on camera that intercourse had indeed occurred between him and Andi Dorfman? “If you weren’t in love with me,” he asked her on After the Final Rose, “why did you make love with me?” The masses, including Andi, were outraged. That was private, that was between just the two of them, was nothing sacred? In her tell-all It’s Not Okay, she tried to get back at him for his lack of discretion by indiscreetly disparaging his sexual style during their fantasy suite interlude (an effort that only really succeeded in making her sound uptight and judgmental). By then the cat was let out of the bag, but the clear message was that the cat should have never been let out in the first place.

But as of last night’s episode, it’s apparently one big pussy free-for-all on The Bachelor. The show, it seems, has no self-imposed line it won’t cross in its desperate appeal for ratings during a season which, despite lovable villain Corinne, is as compelling as watching acrylic nails dry. Yes, all the veils have dropped, and the contestants are now free — no doubt prodded by manipulative producers — to discuss fantasy suite sex openly on camera.

In a bold 180, ex Andi returned to give Nick some friendly (albeit awkward) pre-fantasy-suite sex advice, which basically amounted to: if you see marriage potential with anyone, then as consenting adults you owe it to yourselves to take a test drive. She called this her “feminist rant,” suggesting that there’s no shame in sexual exploration (even with multiple people), right before she again shamed Nick for admitting to the world that they did exactly what she was encouraging him to do now! (Grasping quantum mechanics takes less mental agility than it did to follow Andi down her self-satisfying rabbit hole.)

But the sex talk didn’t end there. No, the producers somehow convinced the young, black-haired Raven that it would be a good idea to share with us viewers and then again with Nick that not only has she only ever had sex with one person, but that she has never had an orgasm:

I guess my main fears today are saying I love you and having sex at the end of the night with him, because for me being physical and emotional means double the heartbreak if it ends up not being me at the end. I mean the physical part, you know, every girl wants great things, fireworks, magic to happen. But I have only had sex with one person and I’ve never had an orgasm before. It’s really taboo to discuss, but it’s important . . . And to be quite honest maybe I haven’t before with my last person because I really didn’t trust him. You just have to trust someone to be able to go there, and I think I could go there with Nick today. Here we go. Today is the day!

Even though we fear Raven may come to regret spilling these beans (how cool are Mom and Dad watching in Hoxie, Arkansas, going to be with this?) and even though we know the producers’ motivations for ruthlessly extracting this dirt are more cynical and salacious than philanthropic, this kind of honest talk about the unique realities of the show and the typical realities of new relationships is pretty damn refreshing. The problem with much of America and American sex education is that open discussions of sex are taboo; female pleasure and female orgasm are not given enough respect and emphasis; masturbation is not promoted as a healthy, natural endeavor; and pretending sex isn’t being had when we all know it is doesn’t help anyone. Good for Raven for having the courage to admit to the importance of sex to women and their desire for pleasure.

So often this show, due to its harem-like set-up, promotes a world in which women must and will do anything to win the attentions and approval of a man (look good for him, charm him, please him, don’t be too demanding) with little emphasis placed on reciprocation (how is the Bachelor himself charming and pleasing you, as an individual?). By telling Nick that she’d only been with one person and he’d never given her an orgasm, Raven not only effectively communicated important aspects of her sexual history and current emotional state (i.e. “This is a big deal to me”), but also suggested that she has a right to pleasure and expects her new partner to give her potential for orgasm equal time. That’s a much better example of responsible sexual relations than simply doing it without ever discussing one’s hopes and concerns, which has been the televised tradition on The Bachelor up to this point.

Of course people also have a right to privacy, especially when it comes to their sex lives, but to those willing to shrug off Puritanical norms and speak honestly about sex without shame, we salute you. Even Andi.

Read more about Nick’s confession:
What Happens in the Fantasy Suite Stays in the Fantasy Suite?

 

2 Comments

  1. There is a parasite that–through a remarkable chain of events–inhabits mice and makes them unafraid of cats. (Really. Google it. Who could make this stuff up?) This does not end well for the mice, although apparently the parasite does just fine.

    Watching “reality” TV will also rot your mind and make you do foolish things, such as trying to draw conclusions about society and sexuality from a marketing campaign.

    Lo, do not do this thing. It worries your friends. Go home, drink rye whisky, and write a book. Eventually the brain rot will heal.

    1. Oh Alan, don’t be such a pop culture snob, you party pooper! A lot of life lessons can be learned from the muck of reality TV. Mostly: “Don’t do this.” But last night was an exception to this rule, a rare example for viewers of how to do something right in a relationship. So don’t begrudge Lo the chance to turn her guilty pleasure into a constructive PSA. 😛

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