‘The Bachelor,’ Week 5: How to Decide Whether or Not to Have Sex in the Ocean

“And then there were 11,” just as it was foretold by ancient seer Agatha Christie. Or was it Nostradamus? No matter. The introductory sentiment stands, and the instructors at the Bachelor School can’t waste their time on any history lesson that doesn’t materially affect one’s strategy. It is Week 5, and the field has narrowed considerably. If you have progressed this far along the petal-strewn Path to the Final Rose, you might take a moment, between restorative soaks in a heart-shaped whirlpool and unlimited refills of a buttery chardonnay, to notice that several chairs in the common area are empty, many sofa cushions unoccupied by rivals drinking in your life force through the sides of their evil eyes.

You have never been closer to ForeverLove. You can almost feel its warmth on your skin, like the rays of the sun peeking over the horizon in a foreign land whose name you’ve already forgotten. That also may be the chardonnay working its magic. The feelings are indistinguishable. We take our warmth where we can get it. The world is a cold and lonely place.

At this crucial juncture in the season, we pause from our usual, more general learning plan to offer a hyper-targeted lesson on perhaps the timeliest and most important question facing Bachelor contestants today:

Should you have sex in the ocean?

The answers may surprise you. Let’s learn.

Yes, You Should Have Sex in the Ocean

“Putting out” has always been a fundamental strategy for success on The Bachelor. At its core, the show has always been about one intellectually incurious man’s journey to test his physical compatibility with as many partners as possible before deciding upon one woman with whom to temporarily share his life, before the pressure of nagging tabloid covers and the dizzying world of post-fame sexual opportunity necessitates a reexamination of his commitment to his original choice. Every so often, this process will result in an actual marriage, but that’s more of an occasional side effect than the intended outcome. ForeverLove is a paradoxically fleeting thing. We, as a society of Bachelor watchers, have come to accept that. It is the foundation upon which the entire franchise is built.

Ah, but here we are mired in philosophy when we should be up to our thighs in the gently lapping waves of practicality. Let’s set the stage.

You’re on a group date in an exotic locale. Your earlier strategic decision to not have any close friends among your sister-contestants means that you’ve been able to secure the passenger seat in your Bachelor’s boat, as the others all have foolishly paired off and left you with some free one-on-one time. Your Bachelor even steers your bamboo conveyance temporarily out of sight so that he may steal a kiss. He can’t stop kissing you, arbitrarily applied no-besito rules be damned. Your chemistry cannot be denied, mashing-faces-together-at-every-possible-opportunity-wise.

He later invites you back to his suite for a dip in his private pool. There is more kissing. He invites you to sit on the beach, because your make-out demands a more dramatic vista. You are dominating the leaderboard.  He is melting your inner ice queen.

Momentarily sated, he returns to the group, where he will have a series of unsatisfying encounters with women who demand his constant reassurance that he is developing feelings for them, that he’s still interested in “seeing where things go.” But it’s you he clearly can’t resist.

And so you steal off to his room at 4 a.m., rousing him from bed. “Let’s go for a swim,” you say, like it’s the most natural thing in the world. He accepts the invitation.

Moments later you are dancing in the surf. That chemistry takes over; you can no more deny it than you could stop the foamy explosion of a Mento dropped into a Diet Pepsi bottle. There are no cameras in the water; the vast expanse of the Pacific is now your Fantasy Suite.

So: Do you have sex in the ocean?

Of course you have sex in the ocean.

Given this set of perfect circumstances, not having sex in the ocean is madness itself.

The stars have not just aligned, but the entire universe. An imp-size Chris Harrison has suddenly appeared on your shoulder and rubs his tiny red horns as he whispers in your ear: “Go for it. I’ll never tell.”

You have to go for it.

 Or do you?

No, You Should Not Have Sex in the Ocean

Let’s reset the stage: Group date, cute round boats, kissing, private pool, oceanside make-out, boring other girls, late-night return to the ocean.

Dancing in the surf.

A surrender to chemistry.



Doesn’t he have a child at home? Isn’t the spirit of his vaunted, if frequently discarded, NO-BESITO rules that he wouldn’t want to do anything that might embarrass his daughter? You know, other than trying to find her a new mommy from a pool of 27 mineral coordinators/opera singers/pediatric nurses on prime-time television? The Chris Harrison on your other shoulder is busy licking his eyebrows with his adorable little forked tongue, so he’s no help.

And so you pause. And you consider the worst-case scenario of having sex in the ocean:

1. You have sex in the ocean.

2. The sex in the ocean is incredible.

3. The next day he loses his mind and tells you that it was all a huge mistake. Huh?

4. Because his 4-year-old daughter will watch the show and see the naughty-time that daddy had with the kissy woman in the ocean.

5. And somehow he blames you for it.

6. What a dick.

Holy shit! Given that set of totally unforeseeable circumstances that involve your Bachelor being an unbelievable hypocrite, even by the loosest of reality television standards, how can you possibly have sex in the ocean?

So: You should not have sex in the ocean. The downside is way too high. You should probably consider leaving the show, but come on, you already have a rose. You can’t just give back a rose. A rose is a valuable thing.

The only sane course of action is to save your first carnal exploration for the Fantasy Suite. That’s what they were made for. They are designed to be impenetrable to the gaze of even the most determined, unsupervised toddler.

To sum up: You definitely should not have sex in the ocean.

Or should you?

Maybe You Should Have Sex in the Ocean?

It’s a really tricky question. Damned if we have the right answer.

We’ll study it some more and get back to you. Tiny Chris Harrison has a fun trick he wants to show us.

Filed Under: Recaps, TV, The Bachelor, Chris Harrison

Mark Lisanti is an editor at Grantland.

Archive @ marklisanti