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The Bachelorette's Kaitlyn: The 'Slut-Shaming' Has Been 'Really Hard'

Bachelorette: Kaitlyn Bristowe Says 'Slut-Shaming' Has Been 'Really Hard'
The Bachelorette's Kaitlyn
Craig Sjodin/ABC

06/03/2015 AT 10:00 AM EDT

Kaitlyn Bristowe made an important vow before embarking on her journey as the Bachelorette: to stay true to herself, no matter what.

That edict landed the former dance instructor in hot water when blogs and gossip sites pounced on a promo clip for the show in which Bristowe admitted to having sex with a contestant, labeling her a "slut" and worse.

"I knew people were going to get mad at me for kissing," Bristowe tells PEOPLE exclusively. "I knew there were going to be magazines with crazy headlines. I prepared myself. I definitely have tough skin, but when people are calling you names like a slut, it hurts. It's been really hard."

The 29-year-old, who admits she can be a "little too honest," was shocked nonetheless by the furious backlash. "It's 2015," she says. "How is this still an issue where if a woman [has sex], it's wrong, and if a man does, it's right? To me, it wasn't some crazy negative thing I was doing. If somebody was friends with somebody and they knew that they had sex in a relationship, they wouldn't go on social media and start slut-shaming them."



As far as regrets, Bristowe says that other than guilt over "the timing of [the intimacy]," she wouldn't have done anything differently. "People have sex in relationships. It's okay to talk about these things. I think it's important to be open and honest."

Plus, she says, "If people [have sex] on dates, why is it so wrong to do it when I'm looking for a husband? That's a decision I made. And I don't think we should be judging each other for it."

For much more from Kaitlyn, including her thoughts on the "Brokeback Bachelors," pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

RELATED VIDEO: The Bachelor Dudes Think Kaitlyn Is Kissing Just the Right Amount!


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