"What people likely don't realize is that the fantasy suites are stretched out over a two-week timespan," Dorfman wrote in a Hollywood Reporter guest column

By Aurelie Corinthios
Updated July 26, 2016 05:20 PM
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Few episodes garner more attention, viewership and trending topics on Twitter than The Bachelor and The Bachelorette‘s Fantasy Suites.

Now, just one day after JoJo Fletcher invited her final two suitors to spend the night on The Bachelorette, the show’s former leading lady Andi Dorfman is lifting the veil on what happens during those much-talked about hours behind closed doors – and why the sexist double standard for men and women in the Fantasy Suites needs to end.

“For the non-viewers, the Fantasy Suite date is an important one when going through this process. It’s an opportunity to spend a night without cameras and alone with your final three picks,” wrote Dorfman, 29, in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter. “The show sets the mood by offering you a very romantic suite – usually in a beautiful location with added touches like rose petals across the bed. It feels like nothing short of a honeymoon suite.”

“Sure, most of the time there’s intimacy involved,” she continues. “But it’s not just physical, it’s emotional as well. The experience is a kind of unveiling of the fantasy, in an ironic way. It’s the first time you get to spend time with this person that you’re dating without producers. Cut the cameras, cut the microphone: it’s just you two and you get to see the true side of this person behind closed doors.”

Dorfman went on to address the slut-shaming she experienced after her runner-up Nick Viall revealed on live television during that season’s Men Tell All special that the two had had sex in the Fantasy Suite.

“After that aired, I saw clips of national news anchors on TV calling me a slut. Verbatim. On live national television, calling me a slut,” Dorfman recalled – though, as she points out, the Bachelor rarely faces the same criticism, despite sleeping with his final two or three women in the Fantasy Suites as well.

“Almost every Bachelor has sex with everyone he goes into the Fantasy Suites with. Obviously there are some exceptions, but regardless, you never hear anything of it,” Dorfman wrote. “And yet we as a society will go so far as to call a woman a slut for having sex with two men that she’s been dating. Two men whose families she’s met, who have professed their love to her and two men she has feelings for. And, somehow, having sex with them becomes grounds to call her a slut.”

According to Dorfman, despite what viewers might assume, shooting the Fantasy Suite dates takes several days – which is later condensed into two hours of television for viewers.

“What people likely don’t realize is that the Fantasy Suites are stretched out over a two-week timespan,” she explained. “It does come in one quick episode, but this isn’t back-to-back like viewers see.”

Just like JoJo, I decided not to enter the Fantasy Suite with my third pick, Chris Soules,” Dorfman continued. “I wasn’t feeling that desire to be intimate with him, and that goes to prove that it’s not like we’re going into this recklessly.”

“I could have gone three for three, but I chose not to because I didn’t want to have that intimate experience with somebody that I didn’t feel a certain way about,” she added. “It wasn’t just recklessly having sex, but even if I was, so what? Whether it’s love, lust or just enjoyment, there’s the notion that sex has to happen on a deeper level when it comes to women, but not when it comes to men.”

Dorfman also touched on her fellow former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, who experienced similar slut-shaming after sleeping with one of her finalists – also Viall, coincidentally, who was both women’s runner-up.

“It’s interesting that the Bachelorettes, like myself and JoJo and Kaitlyn Bristowe, have had to become the example and go through the slut-shaming in order to shed some light on the issue,” Dorfman wrote. “At least now people are talking about it. It’s a conversation to be had, for better or worse.”

RELATED VIDEO: The Bachelorette‘s Kaitlyn Bristowe: I Was Judged for Having Sex with Nick Viall ‘Because I’m a Woman’

Ultimately, Dorfman says, the double standard is a glaring example of sexism.

“The fact that we accept these actions from a Bachelor but not a Bachelorette is sexism at its finest,” she argues. “We give the Bachelorette the same opportunity by giving them this lead role and having men vie for them, but it’s not done unconditionally. There’s strings attached, and we see it with the Fantasy Suites and the issues of sex. The male lead is never called a manwhore. But when a woman who is in the same exact situation does it, she gets labeled a slut and it’s all of a sudden newsworthy.”

“It’s the epitome of sexism, but again, at least we’re talking about it now,” she added. “As women, we’re fighting for it and saying: I have every opportunity to do what a man does. There’s a sense of ownership that’s come out of it, and it’s almost a blessing in disguise. I never thought I would say that the revelation of me having sex in the fantasy suite would turn out to be liberating. But it has, because it’s opened up a dialogue and, in turn, has been a great platform for equality.”

Dorfman ended with a piece of advice for future Bachelorettes.

“You’ll get vilified for being open and honest, but if you’re not, you can get labeled as fake. So sometimes it’s not a win-win to speak out,” she cautioned. “But when in doubt, why not err on the side of openness and honesty? Let’s be real about it. You can’t rationalize the irrational. You can’t change somebody’s mind, and you can’t live your life for other peoples’ opinions. You’re not living if you do.”

The Bachelorette: Men Tell All airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, and The Bachelorette‘s finale airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET, both on ABC.