Since first being introduced to Bachelor in Paradise's Ashley Iaconetti, I've always felt a kinship toward her. We have a lot in common. Like Ashley, I cry about everything. Happy or sad, I'm at an 11 on the crying scale. I love the Kardashians and Disney princesses, just like her. We are both freelance writers. And I, too, love corn on the cob. So obviously, out of all of the women of the last season ofThe Bachelor, Ashley's the one I could definitely see myself being BFFs with. So, when the show started hyping up the fact that she's a virgin in her 20s, I was over it before it began. Why was this something we were even discussing? And, now, just one week into Bachelor in Paradise, the crafty editing is back. Recent promos have hinted that Ashley will have sex on Bachelor in Paradise this season. But, guess what? Whether you're curious or not, whether it's true or not — it's none of our business.
Chances are, nothing anywhere near as dramatic as the promos are suggesting happened. (Remember when the editing team made it look like she had sex with Chris Soules on the camping trip, only to have it not be like that at all?) I'm definitely concerned about how the show will handle it if these early teaser trailers are any indication.
The viewers' response to women who choose to have sex on Bachelor Nation shows isn't great, either. After Kaitlyn slept with Nick Viall before the official Fantasy Suite dates began on The Bachelorette and then bravely elected to talk about it (and the consequences of it in her other relationships) on the show, she was mercilessly bullied on social media. And, unfortunately, I don't think that anyone has learned their lessons in the weeks since. So, if Ashley had sex in Paradise (which also might not happen, editing is tricky, people), I fear that she's going to face similar backlash. It's unfair, stupid, and I'm disappointed that society still thinks that women embracing their sexuality is wrong.
Although not everyone sees it this way, sex is a pretty personal thing, and it's offensive to me that the show is using someone's potential first time having it to bring in viewers. Here's the thing: If Ashley had sex in Paradise, it's none of our business. If she didn't have sex, it just means she didn't — and it's still none of our business. And, if it did happen, whether it's with Jared or someone else, it's not for us to know. It was totally Ashley's decision to make, and how much of that she wants to share with the viewers is up to her. For example, Kaitlyn was open to talking about her time with Nick, whereas other Bachelorettes have chosen to stay more private about their sexual encounters on the show. Both are acceptable ways of handling the situation.
I'm hoping that The Bachelor franchise will realize this and respect whichever decision Ashley makes without turning it into a huge spectacle for ratings. She's been through enough at the hands of the editing team already.
Image: Bob D'Amico/ABC