‘Bachelorette’ Contestant Calls Out Show’s Shallow Treatment of Sex

August 8th, 2014 3:41 PM

A “Bachelorette” contestant seems anything but the ideal candidate to offer love advice (does anyone really believe in finding true love on reality TV?). But this guy gets one thing right: sex is sacred. 

In a piece written for Patheos and picked up by TIME, “Bachelorette” contestant Nick Viall criticized his show, saying “I hope Bachelor Nation will have a more honest conversation about the Fantasy Suites and the emotional repercussions of sex.” Sex, he emphasized, “should be treated with the greatest amount of respect” – by both men and women. 

Viall appeared in the 10th season “The Bachelorette,” which premiered May 19 on ABC. Along with 24 other contestants, Viall vied for the attention of bachelorette and former “Bachelor” contestant Andi Dorfman. 

After Dorfman chose her now-fiancée Josh Murray to wed instead, Viall challenged Dorfman with his “infamous question:” “Why did you make love to me?” “I figured,” he explained, that “she had been conflicted about what must’ve been a tough decision.”

That is, until Dorfman explained “in the tidiest terms” that she had never loved him.

In contrast, Viall stressed, “I loved her.” “To me, sex between us was a big deal, and she knew it,” he continued. He called Andi’s choice to have sex with him “not appropriate” and explained, “It was more than just physical. It was an act – I thought – of love.”

Because “we live in a very sexual world,” Viall highlighted how, “What’s most important is that the two people involved have a clear understanding of what sex means to the other person.” He continued to say, “If the emotional attachment to sex isn’t equal, sex can be hurtful.” 

Risking the “unmanly” stereotype, he reasoned, “I’m here to attest that men fall in love just as hard as women do and that sex can be just as powerful to a man as it is to a woman.” 

But Viall wasn’t all negativity. “Sex, when enjoyed in the right context, is a wonderful way to solidify a relationship,” he said.

For advice, “in a culture where sex has no bounds,” he concluded, “it’s important to be sensitive to the emotional attachment that sex has to your potential partner and to treat it with the greatest amount of respect.” 

A difficult request, considering the media’s recent fascination with sexuality and virginity.

— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.