The Natural Use of a Woman: Jim Bob Duggar says, “It’s fun trying” for Baby #20

The Natural Use of a Woman: Jim Bob Duggar says, “It’s fun trying” for Baby #20 August 28, 2012

by Vyckie Garrison

During a recent interview on the Today Show, Jim Bob Duggar blurted out, “It’s fun trying!” when asked if he and Michelle were actively seeking to have another baby.  Today’s host, Savannah Guthrie responded to the mega-dad’s salacious remark with, “Jim Bob – you sly dog!”

Viewers may have come away with the impression that TLC’s “19 & Counting” celebrity parents, Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar hold very casual, perhaps even avant-garde attitudes regarding sex and sexuality.

But a quick look beneath the surface reveals that America’s most celebrated Quiverfull couple believe and espouse decidedly unhealthy ideas when it comes to sex and babymaking.

Although Jim Bob makes frequent displays of romantic affection toward his prolific wife, Michelle, which would suggest that the couple might enjoy sex for non-procreative purposes, the “biblical family values” advocates – whose “literal” interpretations of scripture inspire the Duggars to receive each and every pregnancy as an unmitigated blessing from God – also teach that the primary purpose of woman is to conceive and bear sons, i.e., “arrows” for God’s army.

Consider Romans 1:27: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Quiverfull movement leader, Mary Pride, in her seminal book, The Way Home: Beyond Feminism and Back to Reality, offers the following interpretation of “the natural use of the woman” …

Since the word used for female is connected so strongly with the idea of nursing babies, whereas it has no connection at all with the idea of sexual activity, I believe that God is saying here that when women exchange their natural function of childbearing and motherliness for that which is “against nature” (that is, trying to behave sexually like a man), the men tend to abandon the natural sexual use of the women and turn to homosexuality. (pp. 27-28)

Nancy Campbell, “editress” of Above Rubies – an international Christian women’s magazine – encourages “women in their high calling as wives, mothers, and homemakers” by explaining in her book, Be Fruitful & Multiply: What the Bible Says About Having Children, that the word “woman” is a combination of the words “womb” and “man.” Woman means “womb man” or “man with a womb.”

With regard to the Romans 1:27 “natural use of the woman” passage, Campbell says, “Women were created by God’s design to function as nourishers by nourishing life in their womb and a babe at their breast.  When women deliberately turn away from their natural functions, they do it to their own detriment.” (pp. 105-107)

Sure “family values” champion, Jim Bob Duggar puts on a nice show of desiring his godly wife for more than just her ability to produce yet another arrow for his already overflowing quiver … but Jim Bob’s hermeneutics as well as his politics belie enigmatic presuppositions about the purpose of marriage, sex, and Christian wives.

Speaking in regard to Todd Akin’s recent “legitimate rape” and Paul Ryan’s rape as a “method of conception” remarks, feminist, Amanda Marcotte explains the fundamentalist mentality that, “the fact that someone can make a baby means that making babies is what she is for. … Women are among an array of objects to be used. The refrigerator is for storing food. The bookshelf is for holding books. The woman is for making babies. You no more give her a choice in the matter than you would give your refrigerator veto power over what food it holds because it didn’t like your method of shopping.”

Could another pregnancy be life-threatening for Michelle Duggar? Might it be risky for baby #20? Could another pregnancy leave their 19 already-born children motherless? Yes – of course! Is Jim Bob Duggar having fun trying to get his wife pregnant nevertheless?  If making babies is Michelle’s divine purpose – if that is why God made her … why shouldn’t her husband enjoy knocking her up one more time? It’s only natural.

Jim Bob – you sly dog!

Comments open below

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Vyckie Garrison started No Longer Quivering to tell the story of her “escape” from the Quiverfull movement.

Over time, NLQ has developed into a valuable resource of information regarding the deceptions and dangers of the Quiverfull philosophy and lifestyle. Several more former QF adherents are now contributing their stories to NLQ and our collective voice makes these Quiverfull warnings impossible to dismiss or ignore.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce



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  • Danielle

    Fact check: “woman” is not a pastiche of the words “womb” and “man”. It’s a compound of “wife” and “man”, because the word “man” used to mean any human, regardless of gender (like how we think of “mankind” today). This is pretty easily established with our friend Google. Granted, I don’t know if Campbell’s book was written pre-internet, but this is such an easy thing to fact-check, even in the pre-digital age! Hint: when you have to resort to lies to shore up your arguments, maybe your whole argument is garbage.

  • Wow. Great article, V.

  • Liriel

    I had a history teacher in 10th grade that told us the “womb man” thing. And about JerUSAlem. And some biblical literalism type stuff. He was only at our school one year.

  • Phatchick

    Oh. My. God! This man is beyond douchewad! Doesn’t he have ANY feelings for his wife (who has already suffered enough in the cause of xtain womanhood, IMO) or the kids he already has who might lose a parent it the next pregnancy goes wrong? Of all the self-centered, arrogant, misogynistic attitudes I’ve come across lately (and sadly I’ve come across a LOT), his takes the blue ribbon.

  • Saraquill

    Jim Bob, go **** yourself, as you come across as doing a piss-poor job of being a husband. Michelle made it very clear how badly she was hurting after her miscarriage, and last live birth was a threat to both her and the baby. Any thoughts of future pregnancy should be taken with careful consideration and gravity, not a flippant “orgasms are fun!” mentality. If you’re going to be this callous to your wife, may you spend the rest of your life celibate.

  • Bill

    the really sad part is its mostly women who watch and support these horrendous people and give them a platform for their medieval world view.

  • Mark

    I know a women whose fifth pregnancy almost killed her. But her fundie pastor husband proceeded to get her pregnant again. They ultimately had nine children.
    I had the misfortune of attending preacher boy’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. It was sickening watching all the fundies swoon over a man, who I believe committed spousal abuse by endangering his wife’s life.
    And preacher boy’s church only has about 30 members and meets at his house.

  • Good work!!! I’m so sick of the Duggars p.d.a. Jim-Bob please think of something other than sex for a few minutes.

  • Erstaz

    It shouldnt surprise people that a patriarchal system like quiverfull advocates women as only baby-makers, it allows them unmitigated access to their wive’s vagina 24/7 and leaves the wife no room to possibly reject the idea of sex, even if she’s in the mood or not.

  • Meggie

    Jim Bob never ceases to amaze me. He talks about modesty and then makes jokes about sex in front of his wife, his children and the whole world. This is not modest and the lack of respect for Michelle is appalling.
    I think what surprises me most is this, like other comments made by Jim Bob, is the sort of comment I hear from my sixteen-seventeen year old students. What is my response? Quick lecture on respect; respecting others and respecting yourself. They are young and they need to learn. Jim Bob is not young but still hasn’t learnt apparently. Michelle also seems to lack self-respect, putting up with his comments and kisses. She often looks embarrassed by both but never tells him to back off – I guess that is what patriarchy does to you. So sad.

  • Persephone

    Jim Bob appreciates the extreme fecundity of Michelle and her willingness to spread ’em whenever he wants. Beyond that, no, he really doesn’t, for the reasons stated in the article. Michelle is not a human being to Jim Bob, but an extended piece of himself that God has given Jim Bob for Jim Bob’s use.

    Complementarians don’t use the true meaning of the word complement, which means to complete, but use it more like compliment, a kind of human lagniappe or note or reward. The man and woman are complements to each other, not master and slave, or user and tool.

  • Sophie

    JerUSAlem??? I’m not American so I’ll have to Google that one!

  • Karen

    ugh as soon as I saw the title of the article I got creepy vibes all over.

  • LG61820

    I am not a Duggar apologist, however, I find his remark typical of lots of folks’ answer to the question about whether they plan more children. His comments about anything remotely sexual always seem to be kinda adolescent to me, but nothing really sinister.

    I have quite mixed feelings about the Duggars. On the one hand, I enjoy watching the kids growing up but OTOH I feel like the kids are being exploited. I have learned a lot from Michelle about smiling at the children and speaking in a soft voice and have used her methods with my difficult grandchildren with some success. However, blanket training? This seems like cruelty to me-to put temptation in front of a baby and then spank the baby for natural curiosity. I did enjoy learning about their frugal ways, but haven’t heard any mention of homemade laundry soap in awhile and recently saw them using “store-bought” cleaning products.

    I couldn’t watch the miscarriage episode (I have my own issues with that topic) but I have been kinda looking for some comment from them about the difference between this miscarriage and the first one that was blamed solely on birth control . . . what’s their stated cause of this miscarriage? I’d be fascinated to hear how they could spin the first as evil birth control, but the second as God’s will or something.

    I’ll keep watching, if only to see if Johanna’s spunk gets “trained” out of her. LG

  • Liriel

    I don’t know if it’s really a thing. But he was taking the USA part of Jerusalem as meaningful, as … won’t say prophetic, but not just a coincidence in spelling, in regards to the US and Israel and foreign policy and the like. I honestly don’t know if that’s a widespread thing or was just him.

    He also said the serpent had sex with Eve, but later said he was kidding. I’d hadn’t heard of the “serpent seed” thing back then, but I wonder if he followed that view.

  • Faith

    You guys are nuts. The guy just said he likes gettin’ it on with his woman! Even that Bible passage about the natural use of a woman and all that. I don’t know about all those Bible teachers, but if you just read it on this webpage, it seems pretty obvious it’s talking about men not wanting to have “natural” (a.k.a. vaginal) sex with women, but wanting to have sex with other men instead. It’s not about breastfeeding or having babies – it’s about sex! Maybe not everybody agrees with that family’s views on having so many children, but I think this article and these posts just go way too far. They love each other, and they like sex. Totally normal.

  • Faith

    seriously, you can’t win for losing. Most fundies are criticized for being sexual prudes. Here these guys are just acting like normal people who enjoy each other’s bodies, and they’re still criticized. Weird.

  • Lisa

    Me too! I kept swinging back and forth between shuddering in horror and giggling at the sheer ridiculousness of it. “The natural use of a woman,” indeed! As if we’re wheelbarrows, or chickens kept just to lay eggs for the rooster. Sod that!
    And one tiny correction, Vyckie (you are one of my heroes, BTW!). The next one would be baby #21, out of 22 confirmed pregnancies. I guess one might legitimately exclude little Jubilee (#20) from the lineup, since she hadn’t crossed the threshold into viability yet. Still, I think from the Duggars perspective she would be included.
    I would posit that the likelihood of a twenty-first child is pretty low at this point. Josie barely survived, I heard a rumour that Michelle conceived once before Jubilee but miscarried before the family announced it, and we all know what happened with Jubilee of course. Jim-Bob and Michelle milked that tragedy for all it was worth. I really wish humanity wasn’t so venal that parents will happily sell out their kids’ lives (and deaths) for the sake of attention and monetary gain.

  • Karen

    I agree with your interpretation, however, for the QF/P folks, there’s virtually no distinction. Vaginal sex is for making babies, and any other kind of sex is an abomination because it doesn’t lead to babies, end of story. For people in this movement, it is ALL about babies. You can trust the author on that – she was in this group for years and years and years. Enjoying sex, and enjoying the natural (sexual) use for a woman is, in the end, about making the babies to build up God’s Own USA Division.

  • Karen

    What I mean Is I agree with your interpretation of the verse. Should clarify that. And yes, it’s normal for them to like having sex with each other. Well, normal for Jim Bob. We have no idea what Michelle feels, because her husband feels for her.

  • Carol

    Well, because they want other people to conform to their ideals of modesty and prudeness, while they get a free pass to say whatever they want.

  • Carol

    That’s what we hear from fundies, you’re not behaving this way, you’re not doing God’s will, do it our way, do it this way, do it that way, no premarital sex, no 2 men together, no 2 women together, you know, if they want to be above criticism, fundies should just learn to mind their own business.

  • EEB

    This is quite hypothetical, as I’m a woman, but if I knew that every time I was having sex, I was endangering my wife’s life, “We’re having fun trying!” would be the last thing that could possibly come out of my mouth. Maybe, maybe, if she was desperate for a child, if she told me that she would rather die than never have another baby and asked me to provide that…well, I don’t know what I’d do. I’d think about it seriously, of course, because my spouse would be an equal partner and her desires and needs are important, but I don’t know if I could do it. (Honestly, I’d probably suggest marriage counseling.)

    I do know that a casual, flippant, joking remark about it could never pass my lips, and “fun” would be the last word I’d use to describe it. Of course you can’t make a judgement call based on TV and interviews about the relationship between a couple and whether he loves his wife…but, okay, I’m going to seriously question if he really loves his wife. Because I just don’t understand how you can treat someone you love like that. It’s sick. And it breaks my heart, because maybe she’s happy, I don’t know, but she has all those kids watching her marriage and thinking “This is what love means.” Her daughters are growing up believing that love is about being used, and her sons are learning that not only can they use their future wives, but that they must use them; that’s what love is.

  • EEB

    I watched marriages in my church like this. I knew a woman who was told by her doctor that she had a serious heart problem, and she could not have more children. Her husband said that they must obey God, that her body was a living sacrafice, and proceeded to father children on her until, after their 18th, she died. She was barely 40. Another woman, after her 10th or so, began to get seriously ill with each pregnancy, and would take months to bounce back after birth (leaving the entire burden of taking care of the newborn, the other little ones, and homeschooling on her three oldest daughters, one of whom was a good friend). They believed in home birth, until the insurance company said they could only cover hospital births. My friend said that she suggested to her husband that since she was going to be in a hospital anyway, she might as well have some pain medication or an epidural. He told her flat out that if she had any pain management care, he would stay home with all the kids (her older daughters attended all the births, along with half the church, usually–big party, lots of singing and chatting) and she would be giving birth completely alone. Because even though she had 16 kids, she homeschooled, she wore dresses, she never talked back, and she let “God open and close her womb,” she would be disobeying God by having pain medication. After all, God said painful childbirth was the woman’s curse. Fucking sadistic bastard.

    Sometimes I wish there was a hell for these guys to rot in. Maybe not for eternity, just the 30 years or so of hell that they put their wives through.

  • Minnie

    My southern baptist christian father got a big thrill out of child birth pain, child birth pain is their porn, they love it. My father makes me sick.

  • seculargal

    I am sorry, but every single time I see Jim Bob Duggar stop Michelle in the hallway to kiss her and give her a scripted, smarmy compliment I want to throw my remote at the television. “Oh, you look beautiful today, honey, you look like you’re getting younger.” Really? He sounds like a poorly written character from a Lifetime movie of the week! I’m not buyin’ it.

    I know that Michelle will get pregnant again if it is possible for her uterus to do so. She is completely brainwashed and committed to their version of faith. I feel sorry for her. If she does get pregnant again, it will not end well. She will either miscarry again or have another baby like Josie. Everyone acts like having Josie was so great, but it was a Nightmare for them, Michelle was sick with worry. Josie was lucky that she made it out of the woods, but she very well could have died or been so severely disabled that she’d have to have constant care for her entire life.

    The other mom on this show that concerns me greatly is Anna. She’s got two kids that she’s birthed at home without pain managing drugs. (If I recall correctly, Michael was born on the bathroom floor…how wonderfully sterile) How many more babies are going to come so ‘easily’? (I’ve given birth…and it is NEVER easy) I think Josh Duggar is an ASSHAT for encouraging his wife to give birth at home. Sure, you can dial 911 if something goes wrong, but what if your wife bleeds out before they ambulance can get her to a doctor? I LOATHE him for allowing that possibility to become reality…all so he can save the money they’d have to pay to have a baby in a hospital like most every other woman in America does.

    The more I watch the Duggars the more I am horrified….and yet I watch….this is such a train wreck….I cannot look away!!!

  • MissAbby

    Just a couple of questions. What if Michelle can’t have any more children? Would he dump her in favor of a woman who could? Would it mean an end to physical intimacy if it can’t result in children?

    Will they even allow people who are sterile to marry?

  • Rachel

    Sadly No. He’s also brainwashed Michelle to the extremes.

  • not a gator

    Yes. My highly religious, conservative (Republican!), but Catholic German relatives from down home on the farm had nothing but contempt for a man like Jim Bob… in fact, he wasn’t a “real” man. He didn’t treat his wife with respect, “couldn’t leave her alone” right after she’d had a child. Yes, my German relatives had big broods but prided themselves on spacing the births.

    I’m far removed from their values but it is interesting to remind oneself that this Quiverfull stuff is profoundly new and radical. In the 19th century the average age of marriage in the US for women was 19, and most women in rural communities completed more years of education than men. There were long periods where unmarried women were recruited as schoolteachers. In my own family my great-grandmother was an English teacher whereas my great-grandfather had dropped out of school early and never spoke English well. Although he was born in the US he and his other blood male relatives spoke Plattdeutsch.

  • not a gator

    Unfortunately Kissinger was correct–power is the greatest aphrodisiac. Patriarchal men who dominate and humiliate their wives are upping their testosterone levels. Mohammed, who convinced his followers to give up wives and daughters to him, was said to have the virility of ten men (or was it 30?) and I doubt Joseph Smith was far behind.

  • Kitten

    Oh please… SMH.. You act like he has no respect for his wife. He loves her cares for her and she wants for nothing. Exept for another baby. This is her choice. She was not blind when she got married. This is what she chose. Catholics also don’t use condoms and believe sex is for making babies. Go make fun of them next. I don’t like people who twist the bible around to make Jesus followers look hateful when they are not. This is the life they both chose to live. You on the other hand need to get a life instead of making up dirt on people and acting like mrs duggar is some abused mistreated women. Just because you had a bad marriage doesn’t mean you can assume things about other peoples lives.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    First warning: You’ve attacked the original author’s personal life. Next time you will be blocked and banned. Please go read the Comment Policy before posting again.

  • Zantippy Skiphop

    The children look VERY unhappy and scared in this photo. Some of them do frequently but in this picture it looks like one of the boys, the one in the chair in the white shirt, was just roughed up and made to cry, and all the little ones look subdued and scared, and most of the older ones look torn between being upset and smiling. Of course Jim Bob and Michelle are all smiles. This is very disturbing.

  • Zantippy Skiphop

    Vyckie is writing about Quiverfull views of women and the rules for them, not about what Bible verses actually may mean.. The Duggars say they aren’t “formally” Quiverfull which is not technically a lie since Quiverfull is a new religious philosophy, not a formal organization or denomination. It is literally about the woman being only for child bearing and taking care of the home until her older girls can, despite her health or the health of future babies.