“The Bachelorette” Tries — And Fails! — To Slut-Shame Kaitlyn Bristowe

Since the beginning of the season, ABC has been hyping THE MOST SCANDALOUS episode of “The Bachelorette” EVER, in which Kaitlyn Bristowe has sex with one of her male suitors and ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE. The previews showed Kaitlyn sobbing about making a terrible mistake, the implication being that her decision to have sex with one of the men she is seriously dating was a regrettable one. Before the episode aired last night — and, to be clear, we haven’t seen the full “fallout,” which will seemingly continue next week — I expected Kaitlyn to wake up after her night with the man in question and be wrecked with guilt and to immediately regret her decision. The previews suggested that she would tearfully confess her sin to the other gentleman, as if having sex outside the bounds of monogamy was somehow disrespectful to them and something to be ashamed of.

But that’s not really what happened. Kaitlyn and — SPOILER ALERT — Nick Viall (who famously was candid about schtupping former “Bachelorette” Andi Dorfman after their season concluded), two seemingly sober and definitely consenting adults, concluded their one-on-one date by going back to her hotel room, where they forgot to turn off their mics before getting down and dirty. And the next morning? Kaitlyn was happy! She was excited about her night with Nick and unapologetic about her decision to sleep with him, while her only concern was how that decision might impact the other men’s feelings and her relationships with them. Despite ABC’s best efforts to editorialize the episode as if Kaitlyn was some sort of succubus who made a decision SHE’LL ALWAYS REGRET, the “Bachelorette” herself had a very human, healthy and empathetic response to having sex when you’re casually dating, something consenting adults do ALL THE DAMN TIME.

Nick, with whom Kaitlyn seems to have a genuine connection, expressed his support for her thusly on Twitter:

Here here! Nick got a lot of shit after his season ended (he was Andi’s “runner-up”) because he had the GALL to state the obvious on “After the Final Rose” — that he and Andi had sex in the fantasy suite and that level of intimacy made him vulnerable and all the more hurt when she rejected him for her other suitor. He was ripped apart for “kissing and telling,” as if the audience was determined to maintain the illusion of Andi’s chastity, while others accused him of slut-shaming because he was upset about what he perceived as mixed signals.

But I always thought Nick got an unfair shake; in fact, I thought that he was refreshingly honest about an incredibly important aspect of romantic relationships that “The Bachelor” and especially “The Bachelorette” have been frustratingly vague about: SEX! FUCKING! SEXUAL SATISFACTION! ACTUAL CHEMISTRY! Seriously, maybe if the various Bachelors and Bachelorettes had sex with MORE of the people they dated over the course of the show, more of the show’s engaged couples would have actually worked out.

It’s unclear what will happen on next week’s episode when it finally comes out that Nick and Kaitlyn made the beast with two backs. My personal fave dude, Shawn B. — aka Southern Ryan Gosling — has fallen hard for Kaitlyn (and I think she has fallen for him too, honestly) and I hope his reaction, while hurt, does not result in him shaming her. That would really suck, as it would ruin my masturbation fantasies (and potentially his chances to be the next “Bachelor” if Kaitlyn chooses someone else).

As for Kaitlyn, I hope that she ignores the show’s attempts to turn her perfectly normal behavior into some sort of scandal and owns and stands by her decision to have sex like a grown ass woman. And last but not least, I really hope Nick isn’t the only guy she takes for a spin this season. Get yours, girl. It’s only right.