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Hannah Brown Opens up About Being ‘Slut-Shamed’ for Talking About Sex on The Bachelorette: ‘It’s Just Not Okay’

People logo People 7/19/2019 Brianne Tracy
Hannah Brown wearing a purple shirt: Hannah Brown | Gina Modica/Instagram © Provided by TIME Inc. Hannah Brown | Gina Modica/Instagram

Hannah Brown isn’t here for slut-shaming.

Throughout her season of The Bachelorette, the former pageant queen has openly discussed her sex life — and even boldly declared “I have had sex, and Jesus still loves me” while sending contestant Luke Parker packing — but she has received backlash on social media for the decision.

“I sit with people who know me the most and think, ‘How have I become the sex girl?’ Like, I had only kissed five guys and I had sex with my two long relationship boyfriends,” Brown, 24, tells PEOPLE. “College was the first time. It wasn’t like I was what anybody would call ‘promiscuous.’ And then now I’ve been slut-shamed for it.”

Brown says that the slut-shaming first began when she was seen “making out” with the “same three or four guys” on the show.

“It’s just not okay because this show is about trying to find a husband and a part of a relationship, a marriage, is physical intimacy,” she says. “And if I want to make out with a guy, I’m going to make out with them.”

Things hit a fever pitch on Monday night’s episode when Brown and Parker, 24, had a heated argument about sex and religion that ended with Brown flipping off Parker as she sent him home.

Earlier in the night, Parker revealed that although he’s not a virgin, he has been abstinent for nearly four years and plans to wait until marriage to have sex again — and expected Brown to follow suit.

“I just want to make sure that you’re not going to be sexually intimate with the other relationships here,” he said on the show. “I totally have all the trust in the world in you, but at the same time, I just want to make sure we’re on the same page. Like, if you told me you’re going to have sex or you had sex with one or multiple of these guys, I would be wanting to go home, 100 percent.”

His comments infuriated Brown, and after a heated back-and-forth, she laid down the law.

“My husband would never say what you said to me,” she said.

By being so open about her experiences and having the ups and downs of her relationships play out so publicly, Brown is hoping to change the conversation.

“We’ve got to change the language of how women speak to women and how men speak to women and how we shame them for the decisions that we make,” she says. “Everybody’s relationship is different and we just need to support and encourage each other and make sure that we’re making the right decisions for ourselves and what we’re ready for in relationships.”

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And, for that, the show’s longtime host Chris Harrison couldn’t be prouder.

“Look, Hannah doesn’t want to talk about her sex life — that’s not fun,” Harrison tells PEOPLE. “It’s embarrassing. But the fact that she does and she does so openly to help others in these situations — good for her. I love the fact that she is strong enough and vulnerable enough to do that.”

The Bachelorette airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.

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