What 'Bachelor' Fans Should Take Away From Arie's Fantasy Suite Dates

Paul Hebert/ABC

As The Bachelor winds down, said Bachelor (in this case, Arie Luyendyk, Jr.) has to make some important decisions. The biggest one is obviously what woman he wants to propose to and spend the rest of his life with. By life, that probably really means a year or two until they release a joint statement of their separation. But, before that comes, Arie has to decide whether he would like to spend some time in the Fantasy Suite with his final choices. But did Arie have sex in the Fantasy Suites on The Bachelor?

The Fantasy Suite is the series’ wink-wink-nudge-nudge reference to letting the remaining contestants and suitor know each other physically before getting married. The idea makes sense, because many people would like to have sex with the person they will be spending their whole life with. This is, for Americans, fairly common — according to the Guttmacher Institute, 95 percent of sexually active people were sexually active before marriage. And this isn’t a new thing — despite modern thinking that more people have having premarital sex now than in the past, nearly nine in ten women who were born in the 1940s had sex before they got married, according to the same study. Sex is a part of our behavior, and it’s perfectly normal.

Paul Hebert/ABC

Arie is down to his final women, and he’s probably going to want some alone time with them. But will he have sex with them, or will they just stay up and talk all night, as some contestants have explained actually happens in the Fantasy Suite? Frankly, fans shouldn't give a fig. It doesn’t matter who Arie goes to the Fantasy Suites with and what happens there. It’s not America’s business. Yes, Arie has chosen to be on television to find a wife and all of that, but we don’t need to be invited into his bedroom. What happens between two consenting adults is the business only of those two consenting adults.

For example, on Emily's season, she decided not to let Arie go to the Fantasy Suite because she wasn't into having that part of her life recorded. Totally cool, totally her choice. If Arie makes a different decision, that is also OK. It's basically whatever he (and the women, of course) want to do.

Treating one of the most fundamental parts of human existence as a circus spectacle isn’t healthy for American sexuality. The minute you handle anything with kid gloves, it becomes stigmatized. People have sex. In fact, most people have sex. Here, The Bachelor isn’t fighting old adages of what sex should and should not be — it’s reinforcing them. The Fantasy Suite underscores old-fashioned attitudes about what sexual encounters should be deemed “appropriate.” It's as if to say, you can only have sex under these guidelines, and if your lovemaking doesn’t fit in the box, you’re a slut or you’re immoral or you’re ruining your true shot at love.

Paul Hebert/ABC

The Bachelor has had a fraught relationship with sex since its inception — sex is only “allowed” within the confines of the Fantasy Suite. Women, particularly, who have had sex on the show not in the Fantasy Suite were subject to scrutiny and ridicule. Clare Crawley and Juan Pablo Galavis hooked up on a date in the ocean on his season of The Bachelor, and Juan Pablo later treated her like she wore a scarlet letter. Kaitlyn Bristowe and Nick Viall had sex on her season of The Bachelorette, and a big chunk of her Men Tell All episode was dedicated to showing all the people on Twitter who called her a whore. Also, unsurprisingly, the Internet attacks on Nick were far fewer, with far less venom spewed.

Arie’s Fantasy Suite dates will follow the same demure lines as all of the others — a date card, a question, a wink, a camera pan of a curtain fluttering in the breeze, like a mid-century movie. Whether he has sex? That’s for him and the contestants to say (or not). And let's leave it at that.