"The Bachelor" Fantasy Suites Hot Take: I’m Disappointed That Women Can’t Respect A Guy Who’s Trying To Respect Them

All "The Bachelor" fans saw what a train wreck fantasy suites week was. But was it all Zach’s fault? I think the reaction of the women had a big effect on how things played out.

By Hannah Leah5 min read
BachelorABC Instagram

Take note: This article contains spoilers, so don’t keep reading if you haven’t finished the show!

I want to preface this article by saying that I actually really like the group of girls from this season. In general, they were drama-free and had a great bond with each other. In past seasons, there was a major villain, but I feel like these ladies were here with true intentions. So I’m writing this based on their reaction to Zach’s decision to refrain from sex during fantasy suites week. 

For those who are confused or need a recap of how the show ended: Zach went into the week of fantasy suites with the stated expectation of no sex. He told the host at the beginning of the show that he’d thought a lot about the week, and he really wanted to avoid unnecessary drama and heartache. He wanted to save sex for the woman that he proposed to, so he could respect her and the women he sent home. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as he planned. By the time he proposed to Kaity, he had taken steps back in their relationship, as well as hurt both Gabi and Ariel. 

How the Girls Reacted 

The women didn’t take well to Zach confessing that he wanted to save sex for his fiancée. All of them were surprised and wished that he would be intimate with them. Having this reaction made Zach question his decision, and eventually convinced him to change his mind. He was ready to set boundaries so that when the show was over, he wouldn’t have regrets watching the week play out on TV with his fiancée. But the women had different opinions. 

On his first overnight date with Ariel, he explained his position to her at dinner, and her reaction on camera was disappointment. Going into the date, she said during interviews that sex was important to her to know for sure if the connection is there. When Zach told her how he felt, she said she understood, but was disappointed about it. She said, “I feel like if you set the standard before, like, I'm definitely not going to sleep with you, you probably will by saying no.” Then during interviews with producers before their overnight stay, she said, “We’ll see what happens.” Though challenging, he did keep his word, and he felt ready to go on his date with Gabi. 

Gabi expressed her insecurities with Zach on their date, and you could tell she was apprehensive about avoiding sex. She actually slightly mocked him during interviews (maybe unintentionally) and laughed at his decision, saying, “I guess he won’t be test driving anything.” She continued, “Zach says he's not having sex, but I don’t know, maybe he will.” She told him she never thought she'd get engaged to someone without having sex first. Sure enough, they did have sex on their date. 

Zach was overwhelmed with guilt about going back on his word. He had already told the whole world on camera that he wasn’t having sex with anyone, avoided it with Ariel, and then he slipped up with Gabi. He decided that it was best to be honest with Kaity about how the week had played out so far. She was very upset, but not merely because he had sex. She expressed that she was more upset that he told her about it. And in fact, her fears about him have strong connections with the other women were confirmed. Ultimately, she forgave him for telling her the details of the week, and told him they could move forward. In the end, the two got engaged. 

The Good and the Bad from Fantasy Suites

Typically, this is the week where the remaining three contestants stay overnight without cameras, and sex is assumed. Every single season there is drama around this week, because who truly feels comfortable getting engaged to someone after finding out they recently had sex with one or even two other people? Even if you aren’t waiting until marriage, it sucks to find out that the person you’re hoping to spend the rest of your life with had sex right before your engagement with someone else (and is possibly drawing comparisons). And on top of all that, the winner and the lead will watch back the season, only to find out everything that happened with the other contestants. 

Fantasy suites are a great opportunity to get real with each other, talk about what the future outside the show looks like, and to find out things you wouldn’t while being filmed. Unfortunately, sex is the main theme of the week, and most couples from the show end up breaking up after the show ends, especially after watching it back as a couple. Sean Lowe had the right idea holding off during Fantasy Suites and saving sex for his future wife, Catherine. He got a lot of public backlash for his decision, but he is one of the very few couples who actually got married, stayed together, and started a family.  

A Good Man Will Set Boundaries

I know Zach got a ton of hate from viewers, saying he was the boring bachelor or complaining about his way of handling the season, but I have quite a bit of respect for him. He saw the result of previous seasons and knew how he felt being on The Bachelorette. He wanted to save his contestants from as much heartbreak as he could. He had the opportunity to go into the week sleeping with all three women, and you could rationalize that it was justified because it’s expected. But instead of indulging, he put the feelings of the women first and set a boundary in hopes of respecting the contestants and especially his future fiancée. 

He tried to put them in a position to transition into the engagement or breakup with the best outcome possible.

I was surprised to see the reaction of the women to his decision at first. He put them in a position to transition into the engagement or the breakup with the best outcome possible, and they completely spiraled, which ultimately tempted him into having sex. Imagine if a Bachelorette lead set the same boundaries for the overnight dates, and the male contestants reacted the way the women did? There would be backlash from the entire nation saying that the men weren’t respecting the Bachelorette, and how dare they make comments about seducing her on the overnight date. 

Why the Women Insist on Sex

The fantasy suite week on The Bachelor really got me thinking about society and how sex is expected, even early in relationships. The modern feminist movement has created a culture where women place their worth and validation on sex. Men can’t set boundaries without women questioning if they really like them or find them attractive. This puts men in a really weird position. If they have casual sex, they’re seen as pigs; but if they don’t have sex with you, you question how they feel about you. I’m not justifying men having stupid sex with just anyone, I’m just pointing out that our culture has made it hard for them to want to be chivalrous and respectful.  

By devaluing sex, we have given men a pass to have casual and reckless sex without commitment, saving nothing for a long-lasting relationship. Sex is the most vulnerable thing you can do with someone, and it bonds you together (whether that’s the intention or not). If you saw Gabi’s interview at the finale, she even said that she feels ashamed about sleeping with him, especially because the entire world knew, and he didn’t choose her in the end. He tried to go into the date setting boundaries, but she insisted on crossing them, and so they did. 

The Solution

I’m not shaming Gabi or the other girls for how they handled the week. I think many women would have had the same reaction as they did based on the dating culture today. But if I were to propose a solution, I’d say this: Allow yourself to set boundaries while dating, and save sex for the man who wants to commit to you. Don’t place your personal value in whether or not a man will sleep with you. You are valuable with or without that man, and the right man will treat you with the utmost respect if you expect it. 

In a perfect world, I'd suggest saving sex for the man you marry. This will save you from so much heartbreak and make your marriage that much stronger. I know this isn’t what most people do, and it will be harder to find someone who shares these boundaries, but it’s so special knowing that the man you married was willing to commit to you forever before having sex. I understand this isn’t the norm and we all have different values, but don’t settle for a man who wants to rush into sex. Find someone who shares your values and respects your boundaries. I promise there are men out there who are willing to wait until there is a commitment, and I think Zach would’ve been one of those men if the women would’ve let him. 

Closing Thoughts

Fantasy suite week didn’t go as planned for Zach or the women, but I think there was fault to be found on both sides. The reaction of the women was disappointing, but I blame that on our society today, which has devalued sex. But Zach also broke his word and gave in. This was an example on a small scale of how men can be inspired or dragged down by the influence of the women around them.

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