‘Counting On’: The Duggar Family Follows Some Incredibly Specific Abstinence Rules

By now, most people who have heard of the Duggar family are aware that they don’t believe in the use of birth control. At least, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar don’t. The couple, famed for their supersized family, happily left the size of their family up to chance, but that doesn’t mean they don’t follow some basic guidelines. In fact, Michelle and Jim Bob follow some incredibly specific abstinence rules.

Michelle and Jim Bob abstain from sex after the birth of their children

Michelle highlighted her thoughts on birth control in the family’s book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting! Back in 2008. Inside the pages of the memoir, Michelle admitted that she and Jim Bob did not believe in using birth control. That doesn’t come as a big surprise. The family has been outspoken about their thoughts on the subject since their very first special on TLC. She did, however, share some interesting information.

The Duggar family appears on 'Today'
The Duggar Family appears on ‘Tody’ | Peter Kramer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

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Michelle noted that she and Jim Bob adhere to guidelines about abstaining from sex after the birth of a child. The instructions they follow appear in Leviticus, a book in the Old Testament of the Bible. According to the guidelines, Michelle and Jim Bob abstain from sexual activity for 40 days after the birth of a boy and 80 days after the delivery of a girl. Michelle didn’t go into detail about why the gender of the baby influences their abstinence schedule.

Did the Duggar girls track their mother’s reproductive cycle?

Michelle and Jim Bob are surprisingly open about all things having to do with reproduction. Some family critics, however, argue that their openness may be a boundary issue. It’s been suggested that the Duggar girls were tasked, on some level, with tracking their mother’s reproductive cycle. There is no concrete evidence that that is true, though.

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One Reddit user points out that Michelle appeared to track her cycle on a public calendar. According to multiple interviews, Michelle has suggested the Duggar girls watched the calendar religiously during her childbearing years, in hopes of spotting a potential pregnancy before everyone else. Family critics point out that such behavior is almost as creepy as the Duggar girls being tasked with tracking the information themselves.

Do any of the Duggar kids use birth control?

The Duggar kids are a bit more reserved when talking about their sex lives, but family followers believe at least some of the Duggar kids are using birth control against their family’s strict beliefs. Followers seem confident that Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard are utilizing birth control to limit their family size. Derick has pointed out, on more than one occasion, that he has never suggested he is against the use of birth control.

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Family followers are also convinced that Jinger Duggar and Jeremy Vuolo are using some method of family planning. Jinger and Jeremy waited more than a year after their wedding to announce their first pregnancy, and a second pregnancy announcement has not yet come, despite rumors that the couple is expecting. Jinger and Jeremy’s daughter, Felicity, will turn 2 in July 2020.