‘The Bachelor’: Virgins ‘Come Out of the Closet’

Looking back on the latest season of The Bachelor, which had its finale Monday night, a surprising storyline about women’s virginity has emerged throughout the season.

The first discussion of this topic was begun by Ashley Iaconetti, who felt like she needed to tell the Bachelor, Chris Soules, in order for him to better understand who she was as a person. She first attempted to tell him in coded language, hinting at her intact virtue, but Chris wasn’t able to put together what she was trying to say. Eventually she straight up stated: “I’m a virgin.”

Credit to Chris Soules: while he was clearly shocked, he responded kindly and respectfully.

But Ashley was left shaken, crying in the bathroom, worried she had “freaked him out.” Another girl attempted to console her saying she should be proud of it since “in our generation it’s so not normal.”

In the same episode, Becca Tilley also told the girls that she was a virgin, simply stating, “It’s a decision I made.” A stunned Kaitlyn told the interviewer, “We’ve got two virgins in The Bachelor mansion … I can’t make this up.”

Several episodes later, Chris invited Becca into the Fantasy Suite. This is traditionally the sordid episode where the Bachelor is able to “test-drive” his potential bride-to-be before making any substantial commitments. Becca, who had been agonizing about when to tell Chris that she is a virgin, finally did so. She had trouble even getting the words out, and she was visibly anxious.

Once again, Chris responded kindly, saying “I respect that in a lot of ways ... and I would be lying if I said that it surprises me and that says a lot about who you are.” Chris’ respect must have had some sincerity, because he took Becca all the way to the final two.

(Spoilers ahead)

While Chris proposed to another woman, Whitney Bischoff, in the season finale, he had a remarkably respectful and amicable parting with Becca. Her virginity was never implied as any factor in his decision.

Nevertheless, this season of The Bachelor mirrors a disturbing trend in the media and society at large. A trend where women are made to feel abnormal about their decision to wait until marriage, and so scared to tell men they have remained abstinent that they are reduced to tears or self-doubt while other women respond with laughter or patronizing comments.