On Duggar courtship, side hugs, and hand holding

My friend Kathryn recently shared an article written by author and journalist, Dan Savage, about the Duggars entitled, “Should the Duggar Girls #FuckFirst?”

Did that get your attention? It got mine.

Spoiler alert: They have competing views about pre-marital sex and human rights! (shocking)

The article is essentially a commentary by Savage, an openly gay and married father, on the strict courtship rules the Duggars adhere to. Savage notes that the Christian fundamentalist family the Duggars, stars of the TLC show, 19 Kids and Counting, are part of the Quiverfull movement. Which means basically they don’t believe in birth control and leave the family planning process up to God.


I’ll probably lose a lot of followers for this, so if you’re not cool with talking openly and honestly about religion and sex, look away!

I shall begin with this:

I love watching 19 Kids and Counting. My friends love watching it too. I enjoy the sneak peek into a foreign lifestyle and religion. I feel like Jane Goodall and they are my 19 monkeys. It’s fascinating to me. I don’t mock (well, not really) but I genuinely like the family and to me, they seem happy. Whether or not I would be happy living and abiding by their beliefs is a completely different story.


I’m not a religious person. I don’t believe in organized religion and religious institutions. I don’t consider myself an Atheist, but I’m definitely on the Agnostic spectrum, leaning heavily towards disbelief. I believe in science and admire the works of Richard Dawkins, Alain de Botton and the late, great Christopher Hitchens. I’m also fascinated and intrigued by Buddhism because I feel like  I’m on my own quest to balance my distrust with religion with my need for some kind of spiritual fulfillment. Confusing? Maybe. But hey, that’s me.

I was raised Catholic and majored in Religious Studies in university. I have tremendous respect for anyone committed to living a religious life. Like John Lennon sang,  Whatever gets you through the night/ It’s alright. I won’t ever try to convince someone to abandon their beliefs in favour of my point of view, and I expect that same courtesy and respect from others. I love learning how people think and feel, which is why I enjoy frank and insightful discussions about religion and theology the same way I enjoy talking about  pop culture, music or literature. It’s all interesting to me.

It looks like shit’s already gotten pretty serious here.


Let’s continue, shall we?

Even though I love the Duggar family and their TV show (Jessa’s my personal fave), I admire Savage for expressing his opinions and noting that even though we watch this lovable, happy family, their beliefs cause them to have some pretty harsh opinions of others, especially the LGBTQ community and those who are pro-choice. All you have to do is look to Anna Duggar’s Instagram account to see that this family has no problem with being open about their beliefs. It’s a two-way street, and there shouldn’t be backlash when Savage speaks openly about his. I think the language Savage used was a little harsh, but he succeeded in attracting readers and sparking a discussion.

I can’t hate on anybody for speaking their truth.

I love watching the Duggars in courtships. It’s a refreshing idea that definitely has ideas that can be extracted and applied to more liberal viewers: Date with the intention of having a committed relationship and respect yourself and your body. I don’t think people need to save themselves until marriage to show that they have self-respect. I also don’t believe there’s anything wrong with casual sex so long as both parties are consenting adults.


Sexual chemistry is an important part of a relationship. It’s not everything, but it’s a big part (or a little part, I’m no Size Queen). I think in some strange way, the Duggar family almost makes everything MORE sexual by having such strict limitations on things. Like hugging, or wearing v-necks. I never thought hugging was wrong until Michelle Duggar talked about touching parts and energies. Now I’m grossed out and only want to side hug people.

Even though I’m taking a very down the middle approach to all of this, I will say one thing about the Duggar’s strict courtship rules:

Is it not a little terrifying to think that you can get married,have your first kiss and have sex for the first time all in one day?

That’s a jam packed itinerary, right there.

I guess if you’ve always thought that’s the natural order of things then it might not seem so weird. You’ll never know if someone is a bad kisser or if someone is bad in bed. As someone who didn’t have their first kiss until 19 and their first yadda yadda until 21, in hindsight I can say had everything happened at once I would:

1) Be terrified

2) Not have any idea what I was doing

3) Not enjoy it at all


4) Ask “Is it supposed to look like that?”

Everyone’s different and blah blah blah so this is just my outsiders perspective on how the Duggar family lives. I wish I were friends with them so I could REALLY know what was going on and talk shit with Jinger all day long.

What do you think?

Do you watch the show? How do you feel about the Duggar family?



  1. Yay!!!!! I LOVED your post. I love the Duggars as well. I watch their show because for some weird reason it makes me feel good. I genuinely feel like the family is very happy, and the choices that they make seem to work very well for them. Personally, I don’t live my lifestyle the way they do, and I’m glad that I don’t. But what works for me, doesn’t work for everyone. I’m actually just so sick of everyone bashing them for their beliefs. They might believe some things that the general public disagrees with it, but let’s face it, they’re entitled to believe whatever they want. Just like we are.

    However, I must say that I agree with you about the wedding night. It must be terrifying for the girls. But at the same time, the love that they share with those boys is very strong, and I assume (hope) that the boys are equally as terrified, and things go rather slowly. Well…probably very quickly being that it’s their first time. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lmao I love you.
      That’s the thing. They’re already in love and married and to them this is all the way things go!

      I think when both sides attack each other everyone loses. I like when we can talk about beliefs and respect our differences.
      Thank you for your positive comment. I was terrified people would be angry!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really liked your piece and his piece. I am fascinated by the Duggars especially considering I am a part of the same religion, Christianity and my beliefs are very different from theirs. They do seem genuinely happy. And I really appreciate your take on things Libby even though you don’t agree. The confusing thing about religion is that there are hundreds of ways to express it hence within each of the many religions there are always different sects.

    Also I would hate to do all those things in one day, gosh especially your first kissing experience, that’s awkward, I feel like they don’t do it all in one night. But maybe so…anyway great post!


    1. Hey! Thanks for your comment. You’re right about different sects. I really appreciate that you commented from a different perspective.

      I’m still a few episodes behind this season… Going to watch Jill’s wedding soon!!! Love me some duggars.


  3. i have tried writing this comment about five times and i keep deleting it because i’m not sure how to write it and i also don’t want people to think of me as different…which makes me feel i need to write is more haha so…

    i’m a mormon. and since mormons are christians, we believe a lot of the same things as the duggars. obviously every christian family on the planet is going to have different rules than others, even in the same sect.

    as a mormon, you aren’t supposed to have sex before you are married. as mormons, we can kiss and hug and hold hands, but all things considering the private areas are off limits, as a way of protection from going further. that means that no, my husband didn’t see or touch my boobs, butt, or hoo-ha before we were married.

    i can say from experience that yes, it is pretty overwhelming to be married and have that whole “first time experience” thing on the same day. but isn’t it overwhelming for your first time anyway? when you have committed yourself to this person and then have this experience together it’s pretty great. not because the sex is great, but the whole experience of learning it together.

    also, as far as my experience goes, i knew that we had sexual chemistry without actually having sex. just from the way you feel things emotionally and YES a hug can be pretty powerful feeling depending on who you are hugging haha. which kinda makes me not want to hug anyone else either haha.

    when we were dating, my husband was always very caring and thought of me and my needs outside of the bedroom, so i knew those same characteristics would be applied in the other aspect.

    also, when you’ve only had one sexual partner your whole life, how do you necessarily know if he is “good or bad”. you have nothing to compare him to and that’s perfectly fine. as long as your needs are fulfilled, you both take care of each other…it doesn’t matter that there might be someone better or worse out there in the world…

    sorry to write a novel, but i obviously have much to say about this topic! i’ve had a lot of experience with people judging me for the way i have lived my life and making me feel like i’m doing something wrong when we should be able to live our life exactly how we want to.

    i don’t judge anyone or think less of them because they have lived different sexual lives than me…it’s just different and everyone should be free to that choice.


    1. Oh totally, Britney!
      I really appreciate your comment. I don’t think of you as different because of this at all!
      It’s a touchy subject and I was even doubting whether or not I wanted to talk another my beliefs or feelings. But I like when people talk about them.

      I think the thing about the duggars and about everyone for that matter is that whatever works and makes you happy is the right way.
      I thought Dan Savage was a little snarky in his article but made some good points that speak to a lot of people. But I still love watching the Duggars and learning about their way of life. It doesn’t affect me. It only makes me happy that they’re happy!


      Liked by 1 person

      1. i’m glad haha and i knew you wouldn’t think of me different, most people don’t but some people are so close-minded that they think anything different is wrong or weird. to quote one of my favorite disney songs:

        “you think the only people who are people, are people you look and think like you.”

        totally not the case. i totally agree! if you’re happy, then i’m happy.


      2. uhmmm i would judge you if you didn’t!
        (just kidding i try not to judge anyone ever)
        i DON’T have this song on my itunes…i just sing it randomly out loud. and i know all the words.


  4. Oh the Duggars, how I love thee.

    I think it’s really sad that people are still so ignorant and judgmental when it comes to religion. Live and let live. Who cares if you don’t have the same beliefs as someone else? I’ve never been able to wrap my head around the arse-hole-ness of some people. Sure, I think everyone is entitled to have their own opinion, but I don’t think that gives them to right to publicly and offensively broadcast their thoughts.

    The Duggars seem like great, happy and totally functional people so who gives a flying frisbee what they think or do, amirite?


    1. You’re right. Amen amen.
      I think that the way people combat their fundamentalism is by being crass or a little too… Vulgar? Which I think makes everyone look bad

      I love the show. Love the kids. Think it’s refreshing to see well behaved children on tv.even though I don’t agree with their religious beliefs I think there is a lot more that we do agree on than don’t.

      Love & family first, bro.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the Duggars and their courtships. I can’t get enough. Maybe it is because their lifestyle is so different from my own. But their relationships are adorable, as least the part we get to see on tv!


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