The Duggars and public displays of affection don’t usually go hand in hand. Heck, you’re not even allowed to hold hands while dating.
Sorry, courting. They don’t do “dating.”
After marriage, however, side hugs go out the window and fornication is encouraged, as reproduction is basically one’s reason for being.
Still, while Derick and Jill Dillard’s PDA levels are considered relatively high by Duggar standards, they tend to keep things pretty tame.
At least in public. (In private, who knows!?)
All of this brings us to newlyweds Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth, who recently tied the knot and are now allowed to front hug.
Hard. They can even hold hands and kiss.
But while we all know the Duggars have sex (just look at the sheer number of kids), that doesn’t mean their fans are ready for this display.
Joy and Austin married on May 26, which is also the day that they shared their first kiss, finally free from burdensome rules and chaperones.
They both come from fundamentalist Christian families and have been taught that premarital sex is sinful, so this was a very big deal.
As a result, one can certainly understand why the young lovebirds would be making up for lost time in terms of physical contact now.
At least we would understand. Some fans have been criticizing the duo for being overly affectionate on Counting On: The After Show.
During a sit down with Daphne Oz (see helpful GIF above), Austin was filmed lying on the couch while Joy-Anna Duggar sat on his crotch.
Wow. Get a room, you two!
Yes, a 19-year-old girl sitting on the pelvic region of her 23-year-old husband in a non-sexual setting was enough to rile up Duggar Nation.
The Duggar Family News: Life Is Not All Pickles And Hairspray Facebook page shared the controversial image in question with this commentary:
“Who does this in public? She’s sitting on his little willy. Once the Duggars get married they get obscene. Do you think this pose is biblical?”
Picks n’ Spray, a well-known ambassador of the Duggar Truther movement, thus sparked a debate over whether or not this was indecent.
After all, Joy-Anna and Austin’s PDA may seem benign for most couples, but for Christians who tout modesty standards and self control?
In any case, not all Duggar fans were feelin’ it.
“There’s a time and place for affection with your spouse. This isn’t it,” wrote one fan, who swore that she isn’t a prude, but it’s just wrong.
The Joy-Anna and Austin critic continued:
“I’m no prude but I’d be offended if I saw my daughter sitting on her husband this way. I’d tell her to find an appropriate chair, thank you very much.”
Others defended the couple’s behavior.
“I don’t see the big deal. They are adults and can sit however they prefer,” one person said, while others took issue with something different.
Austin making himself too at home on the Counting On set by stretching out on the Duggars’ couch was rude, in some fans’ estimation.
(Some fans may need to get out more.)
All kidding and crotch/couch PDA aside, the Duggars’ strict courtship rules have been called into question many times over the years.
It’s not difficult to see why, either.
The notion that Duggar girls marry the first guy who expresses interest because they’re so starved for physical affection is not a stretch.
Not like Joy-Anna could date around, or Jim Bob would let anyone side hug her who he hadn’t vetted, grilled and had fill out a questionnaire.
(Seriously, he does that.)
“The real reason for marriage for the Duggars is physical contact,” says one longtime critic of the reason they marry so young.
“It’s not normal for these people to only physically connect when married,” another concerned follower said of this worrisome pattern.
“It’s absolutely absurd!”
Perhaps this, like Jinger Duggar wearing tight pants, signals a modest changing of the guard among the next generation of Duggars.
There’s no serious breaking of the rules (see above, there are many rules), but the subtle acts of post-wedding defiance are increasing.
Personally, we love it.
If Jinger’s shorts and high heels rankles Jim Bob, or Joy-Anna sitting on Austin’s crotch may do the same, we say more power to them.
We already know Joy-Anna broke courtship rules at least once (allegedly because she didn’t know cameras were on), so stay tuned.
This could be the start of a beautiful new trend in which the Duggar girls drive their overly protective dad insane with G-rated rebelliousness.
Break free, ladies.