As with Keeping Up The Kardashians, I came to the Bachelor world extremely late. As in spring 2017 late. So when I started Bachelor In Paradise that summer I understood next to nothing about the contests, save for Rachel Lindsay’s rejects, Corinne “Cheese Pasta” Olympios, and poor Ashley Iaconetti. The first two make sense — the 2017 Bachelorette was my introduction to Bachelor Nation, and no one could avoid the endless headlines generated by Olympios during her Bachelor 2017 run — but Ashley I. was a special case. The Bachelor alum was only known to me because of her sex life, or lack thereof. That’s how much has been made of one woman’s virginity: a true Bachelor(ette) neophyte was already totally filled in.
Bachelor Nation’s fixation on one 29-year-old’s sexual experience continued into Bachelor Winter Games. It was an obsession that was only strengthened by the fact Ashley made it to her first-ever fantasy suite in finale “Episode 4” thanks to a burgeoning relationship with Canadian Bachelor lead and Tom Brady lookalike Kevin Wendt. And, to everyone frantically asking whether America’s most infamous virgin finally swiped that much-talked-about V-card I say: it doesn’t matter.
Winter Games is purposefully mysterious about what exactly occurs in Ashley and Kevin’s hotel room fantasy suite. Again, Ashley thanks her new love interest for being “sensitive” and “respectful” of her choice to wait to have sex; Kevin proves he’s a Good Guy by admitting he’s “kind of jealous” about how sure she’ll be during her first time. Everyone agrees Ashley isn’t “saving herself” — what an outdated phrase, by the way — for marriage, only a man she can really open up to. It’s heavily suggested Kevin could be that guy. So, the pair agree to enter the fantasy suite, and Kevin closes the metaphorical door on cameras before anything happens by shutting the blinds. In the morning, the couple is cuddled up and fully clothed in bed together.
And, that’s it. That is all viewers get to see of Ashley’s big trip to the fantasy suites.
It’s easy to imagine fans demanding clarity on what went down in the missing hours between the two scenes we do see. After all, much has been made over Ashley’s virginity since her entrance into Bachelor Nation three years ago. But, viewers’ thirst for sexy details isn’t as important as Ashley’s privacy when it comes to her most intimate moments. If Ashley wanted to continue spilling details, then they would be fair game; as a naturally nosy person, the basest parts of me would love to know more.
Yet, Ashley has made it extremely clear she doesn’t want to put a single iota more of her sex life (or no sex life) on camera. In a talking head paired with the pair’s morning cuddle session, the former Bachelor star explains, “What happened between Kevin and I last night is something I want to keep just between me and Kevin. My virginity has already been talked about way too much. After this point we can keep it a private issue.” At the “World Tells All” special, Ashley went so far as to explain she and Kevin had a “pact” to never talk about their sex life again after accepting the fantasy suite card. A pact. This a couple that seriously doesn’t want us to know what is or is not going on behind closed doors.
Last week I praised Winter Games for being shockingly sex positive for a franchise that often confuses sexuality with villainy. But sex positivity doesn’t mean yammering on about people’s bedroom exploits all day, every day. Rather, it’s about respecting someone’s boundaries on the subject, no matter how wide or narrow they may be. Ashley has straight up told us hers, so now it’s time to politely nod along in agreement.
Since Ashley’s sex life is officially no longer up for discussion, we should switch focus to all the young women the Bachelor Nation fixture is apparently empowering to make their own sexual choices. As Ashley claims throughout the episode, many young women tweet and email her with appreciative messages about making them more feel “comfortable and smart” in their sexual decisions. One look at Ashley’s Twitter replies confirms that outpouring of love is 100% real.
If none of this can convince you the state of Ashley’s virginity doesn’t matter, there’s one last fact that should change your mind: isn’t the entire Bachelor journey supposed to be about finding love? She clearly found that with Kevin, and isn’t that enough? That means we’ll never have to see Ashley's cryface again.
That alone is enough of a reason to celebrate.
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