America got to know Jessa Duggar and her sisters on TLC's hit show 19 Kids and Counting, and now audiences get to see them in a whole new light as they enter the dating world for the first time.
The oldest Duggar girls, Jana, 24, Jill, 22, Jessa, 21 and Jinger, 20, have teamed up to release a book on dating rules which they hope will inject a new perspective into the younger generation on finding a life partner. The entire family appeared on Good Morning America yesterday to discuss the book, titled Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships.
The girls are older now and have started to take interest in socializing with boys, as most girls their age are doing. However, because of their Christian upbringing, they have a different set of guidelines to follow. In their community, dating and courtship are not the same thing.
"Courtship is a new season of life." Jessa told Lara Spencer. "We call it dating with a purpose and not just frivolous, really considering the person as a potential life partner."
In the new book, Jessa Duggar opens up about her parents' strict dating rules and her first courtship experience with a friend from church named Ben Seewald. While many teens will have their first kiss in high school and even before, the Duggar children are only allowed to 'side-hug' while in courtship.
Michelle, the 47-year-old Duggar clan mother, previously told People, "Dad allowed them to do a side hug when they were officially courting."
"Jessa and Ben have said that was the only contact they would have, when they initially greet each other, when he comes to visit for their first hello, they have a quick 30 second or less side hug and a goodbye side hug and they agreed that would be the only contact they should have," she added.
The girls do admit in their book that they "have a natural physical desire toward men", but they do not act on their feelings because of their strong relationship with God.
To purchase Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships, click here. The family's show premieres its new season April 1 on TLC.