Ben Higgins is set to pursue love on The Bachelor this Monday night. But viewers will already know him from The Bachelorette, when he was third place to Nick Viall, Kaitlyn Bristowe’s runner-up, and Shawn Booth, her winner.
In one episode of that earlier series, Bristowe pointed out Higgins’ young age while on a date. She also questioned his relationship experience—specifically whether or not he was a virgin. Straight-laced Higgins recently told People the question—which he answered in the negative—caught him off-guard.
“Thanks Kaitlyn! It’s not something you expect to be brought up. I don’t think it was something my grandma or my mom didn’t expect or were shocked by, but it was weird! I have to thank Kaitlyn for taking the opportunity to ask me that on national television. So now my grandma knows for certain!”
But Higgins isn’t against conversations about sex—far from it. He told People conversations about intimacy are, for him, an important part of a relationship.
“I don’t think many topics should be taboo, especially sex. Those conversations should exist in a relationship, especially when it comes to your expectations, limits and boundaries.”
A preview clip of the Bachelor‘s opening night cocktail party, provided to Entertainment Weekly, shows Higgins rejecting an aggressive advance from one of the contestants. He said he wanted to get to know the women before progressing to a physical relationship.
The Toronto Star said Higgins’ conservative attitude is a departure from Bristowe’s Bachelorette season and when Chris Soules was The Bachelor. Bristowe’s dalliances with contestants—some caught on camera—were controversial. Soules was known for his tendency to lock lips with the women who were trying to win his affections.
Higgins, who is known as a good, nice guy in his home town, as The Inquisitr previously reported, sought advice from Sean Lowe before taking on the Bachelor role. The Star quoted Higgins as saying he admires Lowe, who was, like Higgins, open about his faith. Lowe and his Bachelor winner, Catherine Guidici, are currently expecting a child.
“I’m really happy for (Sean and Catherine). I think they are a great representation to a lot of people on how a marriage works, how a relationship works. I know they were both a big influence in a positive way for me as I step into this experience.”
Higgins said he admired not only Lowe’s performance as The Bachelor, but his public presence since the show ended. The Lowes got married as part of an ABC special. They have also appeared this past year on Celebrity Wife Swap, Celebrity Family Feud and Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars.
But Sean Lowe is not the only former Bachelor to guide Ben Higgins as he navigates the reality show dating world. The press release for Monday’s debut episode reveals that Soules, Lowe and Jason Mesnick will all be on-hand to help Higgins before he meets his season’s contestants. Soules eventually broke up with his season’s winner, Whitney Bischoff. Mesnick broke up with his winner only to marry his runner-up, Molly Malaney.
The new season keeps it in the Bachelor family, as two of Ben’s women have been on the show previously. Becca Tilley and Amber James were both on Chris Soules’ series. Tilley was Soules’ runner-up and—speaking of intimacy experience—had a storyline that largely revolved around her virginity. James also appeared on Bachelor in Paradise, Season 2.
The Bachelor debuts on Monday, January 4, on ABC.
[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment (left); Monica Schipper/Getty Images Entertainment (right)]