The MTV dating reality competition Are You The One? returns for its eighth season at the end of this month, and it has done something no other show has done: cast a group of sexually fluid people.
AYTO’s format asks its contestants to try to find their perfect match—as determined by a matchmaking test administered before the show begins—among the other cast members, so now, dating, partnering off, and/or hooking up won’t be limited by sex.
In its previous seven seasons, the show has had a cast of 20 or 22 people, half men and half women, all straight.
MTV isn’t shy about bragging about this, calling itself “a trailblazer in breaking down gender barriers,” and calling this season “the first sexually fluid reality dating competition show in the United States.”
MTV has aired dating shows that had LGTBTQ cast members before; its 2007 show A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, for example, had a bisexual star and a cast of straight men and bisexual or lesbian women all competing for her affection.
And there have been other shows, though not in the U.S., that have cast people other than those who identify as straight. Last fall, RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Courtney Act hosted a UK show called The Bi Life that had a cast of bisexual men and women looking for love.
The new season, which will be hosted by Terrence J, premieres June 26, and airs Wednesdays at 9.
It will have a new addition: “Dr. Frankie, a relationship expert who works with the singles to help them become better daters and navigate between drama, poor choices and reoccurring patterns in relationships.”
That’s nice, and I think everyone could benefit from that kind of feedback, but I also wonder why it’s being introduced simultaneously with the cast of gender fluid individuals, and if it might contribute to some viewers thinking that this means sexually fluid people need the help of a doctor while the straight cast members didn’t.
Here’s MTV’s description:
“…16 singles head off to Hawaii in hopes of finding their ‘perfect match’ and splitting a $1 million cash prize. For the first time ever, all the singles identify as sexually fluid, meaning there are no gender limitations in perfect matches, and finding love is fair game.
This season introduces Dr. Frankie, a relationship expert who works with the singles to help them become better daters and navigate between drama, poor choices and reoccurring patterns in relationships. Dr. Frankie also helps the singles identify current disaster-dating trends such as ghosting, benching and stashing, and tests them on their willingness to fall into these painful trends.
Host Terrence J. digs deeper with the cast than ever before, helping coach and guide them to tap into their true feelings and follow their hearts.
From coming out moments, to discovering sexual and gender identity, ‘Are You The One?’ tells powerful stories about navigating relationships and finding love as a sexually fluid individual for the first time ever on a reality dating show.”
AYTO season 8’s sexually fluid cast
AYTO started casting for sexually fluid people last August, with a casting notice saying “in addition to our usual hot singles, we are particularly interested in casting SEXUALLY FLUID INDIVIDUALS,” while another casting call asked for “bisexual, pansexual, or sexually fluid men.”
They obviously found enough people to cast a full season. All of the 16 cast members are in their 20s.
Here’s MTV’s list of the cast, with links to their Instagram accounts:
- Aasha Wells, 22, Miami Beach, FL
- Amber Martinez, 23, Yonkers, NY
- Basit Shittu, 25, Brooklyn, NY
- Brandon Davis, 25, Salt Lake City, UT
- Danny Prikazsky, 27, San Jose, CA
- Jasmine Olson, 21, Oxford, MS
- Jenna Brown, 25, Bloomington, IN
- Jonathan Short, 28, Panama City Beach, FL
- Justinavery ‘Justin’ Palm, 24, Palmdale, CA
- Kai Wes, 26, Chepachet, RI
- Kari Snow, 23, East Hanover, NJ
- Kylie Smith, 24, Salt Lake City, UT
- Max Gentile, 25, Columbus, OH
- Nour Fraij, 25, Kenilworth, NJ
- Paige Cole, 21, Allen, TX
- Remy Duran, 27, New York, NY