Healthy Living

Josh Duggar: Sex Addiction

Josh Duggar: Sex Addiction

Josh Duggar, pictured left. The Duggar Family Instagram. @duggarfam.

The Duggar Family 

The story about the Duggar family began decades ago on a hot summer day in July 1984, when 19-year-old Jim Bob Duggar and 17-year-old Michelle got married. They were young, enthusiastic, and in love. They couldn’t have dreamed that one day, they will end up on a reality TV show and be exposed to the public, revealing their private lives to the millions of viewers around the globe.

Oddly as it sounds, today, after 19 children born and counting, in the early years of their marriage, Jim Bob and Michelle didn’t want children. They chose to wait and used birth control pills. After four years of marriage, their first child Joshua was born. The couple then decided to wait before having more children, so Michelle continued to use contraception. However, fate had other plans for them. Success rates placed on the birth control pills’ box claim 99 percent effectiveness, but there is a 1 percent chance to get pregnant even if you are on the pill. Later on, Michelle conceived but unfortunately miscarried soon after. This sad event was the reason for their big change of heart and mind. Deeply shaken by the loss of their unborn baby, the couple swears never to use contraception again and let God decide how many children they will be blessed with.

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Years passed and they had many healthy children in their family. As a devoted Baptist family, they led a life not fitted to our perception as “normal”. Religion was the cornerstone in directing every aspect of their family’s life. The Duggar children never went to public schools because they were all homeschooled. They didn’t date freely but exclusively under the supervision of adults. Even their clothes and the TV shows they watch have to adhere to the strict set of rules that promote Christian values.

Naturally, their way of life attracted public attention, and in 2005, Discovery Health filmed a one-hour long special about the Duggar family titled, “14 Children and Pregnant Again!” following Michelle’s 15th pregnancy. This was only the beginning of the family's popularity that peaked during TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting”.

In 2015, however, the show was quietly removed from the TLC lineup due to a huge scandal, which revealed controversial family issues. The scandal was connected to Joshua Duggar in his early teenage years. However, more scandals were yet to be revealed.

Josh Duggar

Joshua Duggar, Jim and Michelle's first born son, is today 29 years old and now lives with his wife Anna Keller. Josh and Anna have four children and the 5th one is on its way. Following the steps of his father, Joshua was politically active and a former member of the Arkansas House of Representatives. As a Republican, Josh advocated conservative politics and promoted, in his words, a “family-centred” Christian viewpoint. It appears that Joshua has accepted and followed the Christian values he learned at home. But was that really the case?


In 2015, the first of many scandals to come tied to the name of Joshua Duggar was revealed. A Springdale police report leaked and it was released on In Touch magazine stating that Joshua Duggar sexually molested several underage girls back when he was only 14 years old. To make the shock even nastier, four of the girls were his own sisters, and his parents knew about this situation. It doesn’t come as a big surprise that this allegation caused the immediate shutdown of the family's reality show.

Joshua didn’t deny these allegations. In the days after Joshua admitted everything, he explained:

“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends,” Josh said in the statement. “I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling. I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.”

However, this story wasn’t totally unknown to the biggest of Duggars fans. Fans were discussing these rumors on chat boards long before the media set their hands on it. On many forums where Duggar fans gather, there was another rumor circulating. This rumor was connected to the mysterious “sin in the camp” controversy. According to the information that fans were sharing on forums, Joshua, who was 14 years old at the time, allegedly molested another girl at a sleepaway camp. While she was asleep, he was touching her sexually. Soon after this incident, his father, Jim Bob, lost his bid for political office and a family friend, Jim Holt made a statement that Jim Bob lost because there was "sin in the camp". This same Jim Holt had a daughter who was betrothed to Josh at the time and the betrothal was called off because of the scandal.


Even though Joshua prominently stated his support of traditional family values and conservative public policy, his life more and more appears to be a set of totally opposite behaviors. Experts arguing his case speculate that Josh may have developed a defense mechanism projecting his own negative attributes onto others and resenting them for it. Growing up in a rigid environment, he had to suppress his urges to the maximum. As a result, they grew even stronger leading him slowly to the state of hypersexuality or as others are labeling it as "sex addiction". News about Joshua cheating on his wife only confirmed this hypothesis.

Once again, In Touch magazine released a shocking story. This time, it was about Joshua Duggar cheating on his wife. Danica Dillon, 28, is a stripper and porn star claimed that she and Joshua had sex on two separate occasions, both occurring when his wife, Anna, was pregnant with their fourth child. Sharing details, Danica said that their sexual encounters occurred in a time span of only a month. The first occurred after Josh approached her at the club in Philadelphia, where she was performing, and the second when Danica was performing at a cabaret in Colmar, Pennsylvania.

Danica revealed that Josh was extremely aggressive during sex, he did not use protection, and gave her thousands of dollars after their encounters. Joshua admitted being unfaithful when the Ashley Madison controversy hit his reputation once again. Josh maintained a paid account on Ashley Madison, a website created for the sole purpose of cheating on your spouse. The hack on Ashley Madison website revealed incriminating data that Joshua spent almost $1,000 for two different monthly Ashley Madison subscriptions from February 2013 to May 2015.

Faced with accusations, Joshua said: “I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years, been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.”

In the same statement released on the Duggar family's official website, Joshua stated that he feels sorry for the pain and embarrassment his action brought to his family. Being brutally honest, he added: “The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country, I was hiding my own personal failings.”

Sex addiction

Shortly after the Danica and Ashley Madison revelation, the family released a statement on their website. They said that Joshua’s wrong choices hurt many, and he brought big insult to the values and faith they hold dear. Finally, the Duggars revealed that Joshua went for addiction therapy: “Josh checked himself into a long-term treatment center. For him, it will be a long journey toward wholeness and recovery. We pray that in this he comes to complete repentance and sincere change.”

New reports state that Joshua is still in therapy even though he had been released from rehab a year ago. He regularly attends counseling to try curing his addiction. However, rumors are going around that he won’t get much help. Unnamed sources claim that Joshua is going to a family pastor and his therapist is not a licensed professional. It is a religious counseling, so it’s not very likely that he’s getting actual help for his issues.

Josh Duggar’s net worth

After a number of appalling revelations, many are curious about what happened to Joshua’s financial status. Josh began losing his popularity with the molestation scandal, but when his extramarital affairs were revealed, his public reputation was completely ruined. However, Joshua seems to be resilient to the consequences of his mischiefs and financially he is doing just fine. He has taken over the family business of repairing and reselling used cars. He even managed to expand the business to new locations. At the moment, Joshua Duggar's net worth is estimated at $200,000. And if his used car repairing and reselling business thrives, who knows? Maybe he will become popular again.

Bottom line

The reality TV show, 19 Kids and Counting, focused on the real-life ups and downs of a largely conservative Christian family. The Duggar family actively promoted family togetherness, respect for the elders, firm but loving discipline, and more about positive family behavior. At the same time, they were rejecting same-sex marriages and LGBT rights, claiming that such are “unnatural behavior”.

The revelation of Joshua’s sex addiction, cheating, and abusive behavior provoked certain questions. Sexual therapist experts think that rigid, strict, and inflexible religious beliefs are part of the problem. However, they emphasize that strict, religious family environments don't necessarily lead to these types of behavior, but can certainly contribute.

So, what is the correlation between the values we are professing and the values we apply? Is it maybe that every exaggeration and incessant insisting on a certain set of values are signaling an underlying problem? If we discuss the case of the Duggar family, this may be true to a certain extent. In their family, as far as we know, Joshua is the only black sheep. But what if there is more never to be revealed? That’s something to think about.