Why 'Bachelor' Colton Underwood Says the Fantasy Suites 'Changed Everything' (Exclusive)

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Colton Underwood is getting real about his time in the fantasy suites. 

ET's Keltie Knight sat down with the new Bachelor as he opened up about his upcoming season of the ABC dating show -- and shared that "everything changed" when he got to the infamous overnight dates. 

"It changed everything. It changed the whole direction of the show. It changed the game," he said, adding that this pivot didn't necessarily revolve around his much-talked-about virginity. "It's not that." 

The 26-year-old former football player's virginity has been a topic of conversation since he revealed he was a virgin on Becca Kufrin's season of The Bacheloretteover the summer. At the time, he explained that with his career, he just didn't have the time to get to that level of intimacy with someone, but now, it seems he's ready to tell the real story. 

"I think there's a lot of people that are interested in and invested in my virginity," he noted. "Which is sort of weird, but I get it. I think you guys are going to get a lot more answers to exactly why I have remained a virgin until this point, and why I take sexual intimacy as serious as I do." 

Underwood has maintained that he's waiting for the right person to have sex for the first time, and thus, wouldn't divulge whether he's engaged, or even in love. "That's the goal, right?" he teased. "That's why you become the Bachelor, and I had ups and downs. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't perfect, and I knew it wasn't going to be. But I'm exactly where I need to be in my life right now."

"The most emotional, most real, most raw, whatever words you want to use [to describe my season], I'm myself," he said. "And, of course, I heard the feedback going into it from [Bachelor in Paradise]. People said I cried too much, but that's just me." 

Being that emotional was a refreshing change for Underwood. "I've been the exact opposite [throughout my life]. Being an athlete and a football player, I was always taught to keep my emotions in, so I think once those floodgates came open, it was like, 'Oh, this is awesome. I get to express myself and feel emotions and be a normal human being!'" 

Promos for the new season have shown the philanthropist's emotions in spades, as well as bits and pieces of how the women will shake things up. Among the 30 ladies vying for Underwood's heart is a woman whose job description is listed as "Sloth," which is spot-on, according to the Bachelor. 

"The sloth likes to take things very slow, so I don't know if the sloth would be ready at the end of it," he joked when asked if he ends up engaged to her. "You know, sloths take things slow."

However, as Knight noted, the 26-year-old virgin's dating history hasn't suggested he moves fast himself. "It could be a match made in heaven," she said, as Underwood couldn't help but laugh in agreement. 

The Bachelor returns with a three-hour live premiere Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Join ET's Bachelor Nation Facebook group here

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