'The Bachelor' 's Colton Underwood Opens Up About Fantasy Suite Dates and His Virginity

The new Bachelor says his virginity is just 'a small part of who I am'

The fantasy suites episode is easily one of The Bachelor‘s most anticipated, a fact that is not lost on new Bachelor Colton Underwood.

“It’s no surprise to me that people are going to view the Fantasy Suites as this big week for me,” says Underwood, who revealed on Becca Kufrin‘s season of The Bachelorette that he is a virgin. “People are probably going to put a lot of pressure [on it]… but for me, it was more about the private moments.”

The 26-year-old former professional football player’s admission certainly made headlines, but he never intended for his virginity to be such a talking point.

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“I had no plans to share that I was a virgin,” says Underwood. “It was something in the moment with Becca. It was important for her to know. I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal but obviously, a lot of people latched onto that.”

And though he’s “grateful” for the support and fan reactions he received after he opened up, Underwood is quick to point out that being a virgin is only a “small part of who I am.”

Says Underwood: “It’s a decision I consciously made, but it’s just something that makes me into who I am. There is a stigma around athletes and I think the more that us as humans can do to break those, the better.”

For the full story on Bachelor Colton Underwood, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.

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And when it comes to the fantasy suites, Underwood says he looked forward to them — if for nothing but a chance to get away from the ever-present cameras.

“It’s the first time you get to spend with somebody off camera and you can really get to know them and ask the weird questions you might not otherwise,” he explains. “I treat it like another date, an opportunity to get to know someone on an intimate level.”

The Bachelor premieres Monday, Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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