What Do The Duggars Really Think About Sex?

Known for their TLC shows "19 Kids and Counting" and "Counting On," the Duggars have been a topic of public fascination for years because of their unusually large family and conservative Christian values (per The Sun). Canceled in 2015 and 2021 respectively, the shows were each brought to an end by revelations of oldest son Josh Duggar's sexual misconduct (via Encyclopedia of Arkansas).

In 2015, a police report revealed allegations of sexual abuse performed by Josh Duggar between 2002 and 2003, which he addressed and admitted to in a public statement, Us Weekly reported. In 2021, he was arrested for downloading and possessing child sexual abuse materials, a crime he was convicted of in December of 2021. Duggar was sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison in May of 2022.

Given their large family and religious background, the public has always been curious about the Duggar family's ultra-conservative beliefs and practices, according to Cafe Mom, so it makes sense that this curiosity would only be heightened in the wake of the oldest Duggar's actions.

With this in mind, find out what the Duggars really believe about sex below.

The Duggars don't believe in physical intimacy before marriage

Abstinence before marriage isn't an uncommon belief in conservative Christian circles, but the Duggars appear to extend this practice to intimacies like kissing (per Today). In fact, it seems to be fairly common for the Duggars to even hold off on hand-holding until after they're engaged.

According to the family, avoiding any sort of physical intimacies before marriage is a boundary set by each individual Duggar in their own courtships, Deseret News reported. However, it's likely a choice influenced by their family's beliefs about purity. Referencing the relationships of daughters Jill and Jessa, Jim Bob remarked in an interview, "Both couples have decided to have high standards in order to keep themselves pure and also set an example for their younger siblings."

This idea of purity can be observed in some of the Duggars' other household rules, as they believe in a modest dress code to avoid eliciting lust in others (via Romper). Purity culture is an element of Christianity that has long been criticized, and something that experts argue is directly linked to the sexual misconduct performed by Josh Duggar, according to Reckon).

The sex talk is saved until the wedding day for Duggars

Given their focus on abstinence, you might be wondering what exactly the Duggar children are taught about sex. Based on "19 Kids and Counting," it seems that this particular talk isn't had until the kids are preparing to get married, as InTouch Weekly suggested.

This is seen in the show's second season, in which Josh Duggar's wedding preparations are depicted. Hours before the wedding, Jim Bob Duggar pulls his son away to give him "the birds and the bees" talk, in which he gifts his son a book and a book on tape, both written by Dr. Ed Wheaton. Given the vague nature of this on-camera discussion, it doesn't seem like the kids are given very helpful information about sex. Their homeschool program, which Romper notes comes from the religion-based Advanced Training Institute, is likely little help either. The curriculum actually contains misinformation on the topic and even promotes victim-blaming in sexual assault cases.

Despite this background, at least one of the Duggar kids has taken a different approach to sex education in their own children's development. According to Us Weekly, Jill Duggar Dillard and husband Derrick have spoken about teaching their kids about sex and their bodies from a young age.

"We definitely want our kids also to have the ability to protect themselves so that's another aspect of it . . . Knowledge is power and you would be amazed at kids just learning about their body at the right time," Jill said.

The Duggars have expressed mixed beliefs about birth control use

With so many kids, questions regarding the Duggars' beliefs about contraception aren't uncommon. As you might've guessed from their 19 kids, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar aren't avid users of birth control, but this hasn't always been the case.

According to Bustle, Michelle was actually on birth control after the birth of their first son. She became pregnant while on the pill and then miscarried, something that the parents have attributed to their use of birth control. As explained by Very Well Health, there is little scientific evidence to support the idea that hormonal birth control use in early pregnancy can cause miscarriages. Despite this fact, the Duggars were heavily impacted by their own miscarriage experience, which ultimately led to a change in their beliefs about the use of birth control.

While the Duggar parents have forgone any sort of birth control since then, it's known that at least one of their children isn't completely averse to the use of contraception. In a Q&A posted on their YouTube channel, Jill and Derrick Dillard addressed a question about birth control (per People).

″We use birth control, but we prefer to use non-hormonal birth control methods because we don't want to use anything that could potentially cause an abortion,″ explained the Duggar daughter, indicating that she's held on to some of the misinformed beliefs held by her parents. Either way, at least the couple is able to determine what is best for their own sex lives.

According to the Duggars, wives should always be available to their husbands

One of the most infamous Duggar beliefs about sex comes from Michelle Duggar (via Cafe Mom), who shared an old friend's marriage advice in a 2015 blog post and in an interview with Today. Essentially, Duggar recommended that wives are always sexually available to their husbands, regardless of how they're feeling.

Recounting her friend's advice, she quotes, "'In your marriage, there will be times you're going to be very exhausted. Your hubby comes home after a hard day's work, you get the baby to bed, and he is going to be looking forward to that time with you . . . Be available. Anyone can fix him lunch, but only one person can meet that physical need of love that he has, and you always need to be available when he calls.'"

While this allegedly works for the Duggar parents, it's important to note that this is problematic advice. While it's okay to agree to sex with a partner even if you aren't particularly in the mood, no one should ever feel pressured or obligated to fulfill the sexual desires of another (per GQ). You are free to say no to sex, inside and outside of marriage, and that should be respected by your partner.

One Duggar daughter mentions the importance of spicing things up

Beyond Michelle Duggar's advice about sexual availability, one of the Duggar daughters has also expressed the importance of active and interesting married sex life. Just as in other elements of her life, Jill Duggar Dillard has been unexpectedly and unconventionally open about her and her husband's sex life (via People).

The couple has discussed sex on their YouTube channel and featured snapshots of bedroom games on Instagram. One of Jill Duggar's posts even included a partnered giveaway with Dating Divas, a website all about keeping dating alive after you're married, according to The Sun. The giveaway included lubricant, massage candles, and a Sexy Dares book.

In 2019, Jill also wrote a blog post on the Dillard family website about sex, emphasizing the importance of having sex regularly and providing tips on how to keep married sex life interesting. While it's great that Jill has been able to create a life with her husband outside of her parent's strict rules, you'll definitely be better off turning to a professional if you're looking for sex tips (per Parade).