and then Thumb interesting e-mails

In this section are a compendium of interesting e-mails as varied as the individuals who sent them. If you have something you'd like to relate, e-mail me. Of course anonymity is assured if you request it.

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BoardRoom: thankyou 28 May 1999

From pat

i want to say thank you to everyone who sucks thier thumb and had the courage to say so. i have sucked my thumb my whole life and would be lost if i could not do it. It really helps to know I'm not the only one.

Tue, 25 May 1999

From Jody

Hay how are things going? I am good and I hope this letter finds you well. I saw your web site on the news last night. I found it nice to know that this others out there like myself. I know sometimes it is hard and other find us a little weird. I am 23 years old and a police cadet in FL. I know that others would think I am unable to do the job and might make fun of me if this leaks out so I hide. Well I have to go now. If you don't mind I will write back later.

Tue, 25 May 1999 Ali

I just wanted to say thanks for what you do. I, like most people it seems, thought I was the only one and that I was completely mental for not being able to quit. I have tried numerous times but cannot stop. Part of the problem is I don't want to stop. It is something that comforts me. When I tried to quit it actually seemed to make me feel physically ill, but that probably was just in my head. Those who are open about it with family and friends are very brave, no one knows my secret though I think my husband suspects something is going on. Thank you again for the wonderful site and for connecting me with those who have the same problem.Ali, 23, female

Tue, 25 May 1999

From Karen

WHEW!!!! I knew I couldn't be the ONLY one out there! Thanks so much for creating this site for fun and information. I'm a 36 year old married woman who has sucked my thumb all of my life...quit briefly a couple of times, but never really saw the "need" to rid myself of the habit. I am careful these days about who I entrust with this activity, (my husband doesn't mind a bit), but was a bit more open about it in my early 20's. I was unable to reach certain categories of the site, but will try again later...I've already added it to my favorite site list. Thanks again!

May 25, 1999

From: Cindy :

I Am The President/CEO Of My Own Corporation -&- Recently Saw The EXTRA TV Story On Adults Who Suck Their Thumb. FINALLY !!! VERY Brave People To Be Featured On National Television Like That. I Am 32 -&- Have Sucked My Thumb My Entire Life. I Run A Very Successful Corporation And Am Under A Great Deal Of Stress At Times...Sucking My Left Thumb Is What I Do To Relax -&- Wind Down. If I Did Not Have This 'Option', I Would Never Sleep -&- Possibly Alcoholic Or Drug User Due To The Stress Of My Career. I Am Glad I Found This Website -&- Would Love To Hear From Any Of You That Would Care To E-Mail Me... Cindy at

P.S. - Go Lefties !

subject: web site...seen on EXTRA Tue, 25 May 1999

From: Karen

WHEW!!!! I knew I couldn't be the ONLY one out there! Thanks so much for creating this site for fun and information. I'm a 36 year old married woman who has sucked my thumb all of my life...quit briefly a couple of times, but never really saw the "need" to rid myself of the habit. I am careful these days about who I entrust with this activity, (my husband doesn't mind a bit), but was a bit more open about it in my early 20's. I was unable to reach certain categories of the site, but will try again later...I've already added it to my favorite site list. Thanks again!

From: Taffy

Tue, 25-May-1999 18:04:35 GMT IP:

I went to the website this morning and read everything! I've been so excited. For so many years my thumbsucking (actually I suck a finger)has been a deep, dark secret because it was so childish and disgusting--or so I was made to feel. I have been less and less inclined to feel that way for quite a while, and I always believed there must be SOMEONE else out there who sucked their thumb or fingers--at least one person. I've been searching for Adult thumbsucking on the Web for three years without success. My siblings are also thumbsuckers so I knew there were at least two other people, but I thought it was just in our family. I found a lot of interesting stuff in the posts and on the website, that I'd like to discuss eventually, but I will start with this brief post to say Thanks to those who appeared. Tony, Theo (whom I assume is the Webmaster H)and Amy all did a great job and were very courageous. If you had only reached one person it was worth it--but you've obviously reached a lot. You've made a huge difference in my life. By the way I'm over 50, so I've got a lot of thumbsucking experience and pretty good teeth

Subject: EXTRA on TV --&-- Thumb-sucking

25 May 1999

From: Michael

Tue, 25-May-1999

Hi, I just watched EXTRA on TV and saw the story on adult thumb suckers. That's how I found the address for the thumb sucking adults site, actually. You know, quite frankly it's sad that people find this simple and innocent activity to be embarassing. So what if you're 20+ or 40+ or whatnot? There's nothing wrong with sucking your thumb. Sure, sure they say that only babies and toddlers do it. But it's not written in stone that ONLY babies and toddlers are allowed to. Society inked that little rule in by itself. The problem is, we care TOO much about what people think. We're obsessed over being embarassed.

Although I don't suck my thumb, I *DO* in fact find it kinda cute. It shows an individual's inner child. We all have one. It's just that some people are more willing to let it out than others. There really are no consequences aside from dental related problems. But that really depends on HOW you suck your thumb, doesn't it? Adult thumb suckers should not be ashamed. In fact, I believe that if we could all just take a few minutes from our busy schedules to do something as simple as sucking our thumbs to relieve pressure and whatnot, it might do us all some good. Michael ---- Thanks

Tue, 25 May 1999

My name is Anna I am a 54 year old grandmother and I still suck my little finger. I want to thank you all for your sharing it has been a eye opener. Especially about the overeating as I have that problem also. I will be coming back to this site for the peace and serenity that it helps with to know that we are not alone.

My Thumb

25 May 1999 From: MARY

Hi everyone, I have been sucking my thumb all my life, and sometimes wondered if I would go insane if I stop. But I find I suck my thumb more when my life is in turmoil. I am 27 and my secret was exposed at work when a co-worker saw me, I was in a daze and had not realized that I was sucking my thumb so now I am out of the closet and I feel great about. I suck both my thumbs although I believe my right is my favorite. I don't have any of the dental problems that are associated. I find that I cant always count on someone to soothe me when I am sad or upset, but my thumb never lets me down. thanks for allowing me to vent!!!

From Nika 25 May 1999

i am 19 and i suck my thumb... mostly during relaxing moments like when i go to bed... or when i am watching tv... or reading... i am not ashamed of my habit. i am often curious why some babies suck their thumbs and some do not. It begins utero? right? i can understand post birth thumb sucking as it is a reminder of breast/bottle feeding... which is a most comforting time for an infant... any ideas? -nika --- Thank you

Mon, 24 May 1999

From: Cathy

You have managed to sum tears into my eyes. I have lived alone for over twenty years hiding a secret not to be admitted to anyone. I honestly and literally believed I was the only one with such an oral fixation. I have tried to quit sucking my thumb for years. Nothing works. I was afraid to tell anyone.

When I stay at my boyfriend's apartment, I lie awake for hours in fear of being caught. Somehow, I have found a way to fall asleep without the habit there. But, frankly, I no longer wish to quit for it soothes me. I could write a novel about all this. Repressed feelings all are surfacing to me from twenty years.

I just wanted to thank you for bringing the awareness out of this problem. I was so afraid of people finding out I almost did not move away to college. I am still looking through your webpage and will continue to visit it. a large weight lifted off my arms tonight after watching 'Extra' (which I would also like to thank but cannot find an email address). Well this is getting long. I intended only to drop you a note telling you that it is not imaginable how happy I am to find this fact out and I no longer feel as lonely. No one knows of my sucking. I have been dating someone for a year now and he does not know. Sometimes I wait for him to sleep and sometimes I force myself from doing it at all. I was curious how people react to this habit. Do boyfriends/girlfriends accept it or have problems? I don't know if I should tell my boyfriend. Help. Thank you.

Tue, 25 May 1999

I watched the special on Extra tonight and saw your web page. So I thought I should email you to tell you that i also suck my thumb. I am a 22 year old college student who has sucked my thumb ever since i can remember. I have tried everything to try to quit, even my family has tried to help me, but nothing has worked. I have now come to the conclusion that i really do not want to quit. So i really do not have a problem with it.

Everyone of my friends knows that i do it and i even disclose it to others. I really do not care about their reaction, because like they said on Extra, it is a habit. So i wanted to tell you that I also am a thumb sucker and proud to be one. It is nice to know others are out there. Sincerely, tutee23

Is there something wrong with me?

Tue, 25 May 1999

Answering questions raised by "tlowrie"

You asked, "I am writing this letter to ask if there is some way of me finding out if there is something wrong with me. I am the only one in my family that has this bad habit. I have been sucking my thumb since I was born."

Adult thumb sucking, taken alone, does not indicate, necessarily, any problem. It has been an adaptive habit that you've simply carried into your adult years. If you do have a psychological problem, the thumb sucking may also be a way in which you can retreat into a past, safer form of behavior. The main point is, are you functioning to your capacity, are you happy with your life in general, do you feel you have other problems that are affecting your ability to function? If your only "problem" is that you suck your thumb, consider yourself lucky and....enjoy!

You wrote, "I become so embarrassed and so unconcious of doing it that I sometimes feel that I have some weird condition. "

Please read my section on embarrassment. You can find it in the articles section, or, currently, at the home page of the site: This article thoroughly addresses this subject.

You asked, " My question to you is, will this habit be with me for the rest of my life. Is there anything that can help me quit. I have tried but for some reason or other I feel like it is my security blanket. I am 32 years of age and would really like to know if there is some method to use to stop me from doing this."

It is possible that this habit will be with you for the rest of your life, but not likely. Based on my statistics, it seems that the habit has a fall-off after 50 years of age, but this may just be a statistical flaw. Off course, if you feel thumb sucking has more disadvantages than advantages, you can try to stop. I have a bias in this regard, since I feel that the habit is harmless and, compared to other tension relieving methods, is convenient and effective. The Internet is packed with suggestions on habit cessation, I'd suggest you go to your favorite search engine and look up "thumb sucking". You'll find the numerous web pages focused on your concern.

24 May 1999 20:24:56

From: Robb

I am so happy to hear about this site and all others like myself. I have sucked my thumb probably since almost birth, my parents tried everything that they thought might help.. My dentist even put a retainer in my mouth that had four sharp spikes that came down from the roof of my mouth, all I got from that was four callused over holes in my thumb, teachers would tape brown lunch bags over my thumb in order to embarrass me.

Today I am 32, I work as a substance abuse counselor.. I am fairly comfortable with this habit of mine today, although it does at times cause some embarrassment. My family has stopped with the comments, I know that they really don't like or understand it, but have accepted it.. I have never met anyone else who does this (at least who admitted it). Nevertheless, it is my little "secret" which has caused me to feel less than others... Until now!! Thank you, thank you, I cannot say enough... -)R

At last someone to talk to!

24 May 1999 23:25:14

From: Kris

I am 33, will be 34 in two weeks. I have been a left thumbsucker all my life.I have thought about purposely breaking or crushing my left hand (thumb) and have also thought of ending my life because I am so ashamed of my habit that I cannot allow myself to get close enough to someone and reveal my secret. I have always been considered by others to be good looking. Some people say I resemble Shania Twain! But I think to myself "So what...I am so lonely." The thought of going through my entire life alone really scares me. People can't understand why I am so unable to take my guard down...but I know why and it hurts.

I dated the quarter back and one of the most popular guys in high school for about 3 years. After we broke up, I dated many different guys but only long enough that I was able to keep my secret and not get to close. Most recently, I dated one of the "Marlboro Men" know, one of those really good looking guys with the cowboy hats on the billboard. He treated me like a princess. He took me on wonderful vacations (Cancun, New York, etc...) but he began to sense that I was keeping something from him. Well, thats all over know.

I have been told by many people that don't even know why I always keep my distance "That sooner or later I am going to have to take my wall down." I'm sure I will but not until I feel it's safe. After all, security and safety are probably all of the reason why I suck my thumb in the first place. The thought of letting my secret out creates anxiety which actually makes my want to suck my thumb! I have read so many books, I have paid money only to be laughed at by therapist, and I have memories as a young child of being ridiculed by even my own mother.

I heard about you on the television show "Access". I am so thankful that I am not alone anymore. What took you so long! Almost 34 years of me thinking I was one of a few. I am so releived that I have found this site! I wish I could stop but you know sometimes (often) I think, "Who has ALWAYS been there for me...My one else on earth, just my thumb has helped me threw some hard time times." Its sounds kind a silly (but some people think thumbsucking is silly!) but I depend on this thumb and, I know it sounds corny but, I have a special place in my heart for this thumb! Just the left one though, the right thumb does nothing for me! Thank you again, Kris

Who cares what they think!!!

27 May 1999

From: Brianna

My name is Brianna and I am 19. I have been sucking my thumb since before I was born. ( they have ultrasound pictures ) When I was younger my parents tried everything to make me quit from duck tape to tabasco sause to tieing my hand around my back but it never worked as I got older they eventually gave up and accepted it.

I never felt the need to quit. It never messed up my teeth, so what is the problem? I suck my thumb everywhere I go and I mean everywhere. I do not care what anyone thinks and, in a way, I guess I like the attention. My boyfriend sometimes gets embarressed but I do not care because he too was a thumbsucker until he was 14.

I love my thumb for me. It is my security blanket. It has always been there and always will be there I would not trade it for anything in the world!!!!! love always

Not alone

26 May 1999

From: Coley

I found this site right before the piece in the Extra segment came out. I was really glad to know that I was not alone in the habit. I have been sucking my thumb for thirty years but have kept it a secret to all except immediate family. My own husband of three years (I have known him fifteen years) doesn't know. My son knows but is so use to it he doesn't even acknowledge that I'm doing it.

I usually suck my thumb when I'm extremely tired or very nervous or under stress. I have never not even as a child sucked my thumb outside my home. Although I've sucked my thumb for 30 years, I have no dental problems. My teeth are perfectly straight and my thumb looks just like my other one.

My parents use to fight over my thumbsucking. Each blaming each other. They constantly said that I was insecure because of the other parent so I sucked my thumb. No logic there. I am extremely independent and look upon thumbsucking as a weakness. I have tried to stop but I can't seem to. It's not like I can cut my thumb off or throw it away. It's nice to know there's a place where others who suck there thumb can relate and know they are not alone. Thanks

Another question

26 May 1999

From: Jonandra

If your boyfriend truly wants to quit, assuming, of course, he's not under the socially imposed impression that it's an unacceptable behavior, it would be best not to put ANY stress on the subject whatsoever, as thumb sucking is a stress activated habit. It's not really a habit that can be quit, with the psychological "addiction" associated with such behaviors is so strong. It's not really an addiction. It's more of an instinctive reaction. It's a method of relaxation and de-stressing.

If one were to truly quit thumb sucking in the most well adjusted manner possible, one would have to find a more "socially acceptable" form of stress release that is just as satisfying. The one time I got close to quitting was when I was slowly weening myself from sucking my thumb and replacing the sucking action with rubbing my face and mouth against a soft blanket.

I felt I was pretty close to success, until my mother decided to take my security blanket and throw it away while I was at school. Whereas I'd plan on eventually getting rid of my blanket, I wasn't ready yet. And the hurt feelings, shame, and stress of associated with my mother's rejective behavior sling shotted me back into thumb sucking with a vengence. I was eight years old then, I've been sucking since.

I've heard somewhere that thumb suckers are more secure in themselves generally than non thumb suckers. And I'm inclined to believe this, considering rather than being dependant on others to relieve thier stress, they have an autonomic stress release reaction. In my opinion a much better habit to have than alcoholism, or sex addiction. It's pretty hard to yell at someone when you've got a thumb in your mouth, and pretty hard to stay mad when you're feeling safe and comfortable. So, if you've gotten this far in the message, be VERY sure that your boyfriend REALLY wants to quit, and isn't just reacting to the socially imposed shame. It's really no shame at all. It's pretty harmless, and the only associated difficulty with the habit is acceptance of it.

I repeat, stress of any kind, including shame, will only encourage the habit, no matter how hard one tries to quit. A viscuous, vicious circle of a problem, that. The best thing to do is to just accept the problem. Either make your peace with it, or make a slow, peaceful solution. My suggestion is, if you want to quit, find a nice piece of silk to rub against your mouth at night before bed, instead. But that's just me. *smile*

I can understand how hard it is when you're a teen and dealing with social acceptance. But, you know what? That's their problem, the one's who don't accept you for who you are. If you have true friends, they'll just accept it as something you do, and defend you against those who have to attack what they don't understand. One thing I know for sure, the more stress in your life, the harder it is to break the thumb sucking habit.

I admit that I also find thumb/finger sucking an erotic experience. This is something I didn't find out about myself until I also came out of the closet as a bi-sexual. It was a surprising and gratifying experience, and one I often use as foreplay now, the first time I sucked on my partners fingers. I have yet to run into a partner who does not find the experience mind-maddingly erotic.

Would it surprise you to know that in a number of erotic venues, thumb sucking is a common theme? Even in a few non erotic venues, it can be construed as "cute", "sweet", and in some instances I've seen it used to get the attention of the opposite sex, a "Hey, you get me worked up" gesture. All in movie or literature form, really, as I don't personally know any adult thumb suckers. But as you can tell from this site, they're out there, they're just not advertising.

Next time you get razzed for thumb sucking, tell them that Madonna does it. So does Suzanne Sommers, Rossanna Arquette, Lisa Boyle, Courtney Love, and Posh Spice. You got the pictures here to prove it, if you can get them printed out. Or you can just send them to this site to see the pictures for themselves. It's all there at the site.

It's not about fitting in, it's about finding people that fit in with you. Truly charismatic people know this instinctively. If you can talk to your friends, maybe you'll find out that they will most likely accept it. My guess is that the reason they are focusing on making fun of you about that is your reaction of embarrassment. If you've got a "best" friend, you need to pull them aside and start with a confession, of sorts, with them, and see how it works.

I also suck my thumb

26 May 1999

From: Sean

This is so embarrassing but I suck my thumb every time I am alone, I dont know why, but its cool to know there is people like me. I wish I wasn't so ashamed about it. I am 24 years old married,(my wife doesn't know) and spent 6 years as a ranger in the Army.

I am so excited

24 May 1999

Hi, I have been a thumbsucker for 30 years. My family hated it and my friends, dealt with it. I know they thought I was weird. I am not, I like it, it is great. I don't drink, smoke or do drugs. My habit doesn't make me sick or hurt anyone. It makes me very happy. I am so happy that I belong to this great club of people. Happy sucking:) --- "closet thumb-sucker"

Mon, 24 May 1999

From: Lissy

I found out about this site through "Extra's" clip on adult thumb-sucking tonight on TV. I was pleased to see that i was not all alone. It looked strange to me to see other adults with their thumb in their mouth, but i'm an adult thumb-sucker myself.

I'm 22 years old and living at University. Only my boyfriend nows that I suck my thumb because I live with him. He is very accepting of this habit of mine that I have tried to break since I was around twelve years old. I love the fact that he is accepting because my parents (mostly my dad) were always disappointed in me because of this and my dad was angry because he felt he was wasting his money on my braces (which I had for 5 years).

I've always wanted to quit because this habit made me live in shame and embarassment. Also, I hate how my teeth are crooked again. :( I suck comfortably in the privacy of my own home only, and never in public. Often I will feel very relaxed and begin to motion my thumb into my mouth, but I stop myself if I know that there is a chance that I will be caught, and if someone happens to see a second of it I pretend to play with my teeth. I wish that I didn't need to feel so ashamed of this habit!

I believe that there is NOTHING wrong with me. It's a habit that relaxes me and makes me feel good and I don't feel that I could ever stop, no matter how hard I might want to. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone! Lissy :-&~ (me sucking my thumb)

I'm a thubsucker too

24 May 1999

Wow, this is really cool! I saw the clip on EXTRA tonight and i am sooo relieved that there are others out there like me. Oh ya, by the way, i am 30 and have sucked my thumb since i was just a baby thanks again for a great web page andrea --- still sucking my thumb at 31

Mon, 24 May 1999

From: J





From: Jill

I am so thankful that I was watching tv tonight. I happened upon the "Extra" adult thumb suckers interview. I am 25 and have sucked my thumb for as long as I can remember. Honestly, I have always thought that I was the only person over the age of 10 who still had this habit. What a relief to know that I am not alone. My family has always been pretty supportive of me. Of course I got the good natured teasing and still occasionally do from them. but now that they know that I'm not going to stop, they just accept it as part of me.

My husband is also very good about it. He used to bother me sbout trying to quit. After he saw that it was of no use, he had come to accept it and even tells me that it's cute.

Sucking my thumb is a habit that I have no desire to break. It is relaxing and comforting. I only do it in the confines of my home and my parent's home. I have no need to do it in public. Thank you for this website and what it means to adult thumb suckers

great site very interestingand informative!

25 May 1999

From: Lulu F

Hello. I am just writing to say what a great and interesting site! My other sibling is a thumbsucker, but i didn't know why he could not stop. I never embarrass him. I only believed that he was wrong. I found this site watching EXTRA. I believe now you will get a lot more hits to your site due to that show. Now I have come to an understanding that it is just like a regular habit that is very comforting.

Again, great job on your site I just have one problem, approaching my brother on how to show him this site. i think he should see this site but I don't want to embarrass him, any suggestions?

24 May 1999

I thought I was the only adult to suck my thumb. No matter how hard I try, I can't stop. I hate what it does to my teeth, but worse is the ridicule I have to take, so I try to do it privately. When my husband sees it, he call me a baby. I probably suck my thumb whenever I am alone. Thanks for letting me know I am not the only one.

24 May 1999

From Laurie:

Hi, my name is laurie, I have been sucking my thumb as long as i can remember. I am 30 yrs. old right now and still suck my thumb.

I saw your program on Extra TV and really enjoyed to see others like myself sucking their thumbs.

I have tried to quit several times. But i dont want to. It soothes me. It relaxes me and I really don't know why I feel embarassed by doing it. I only usually do it when i am tired or need to go to sleep. I have a ragedy ann doll that I sleep with as well.

21 May 99

From Monica

Hey, I was wondering if you had any information on why some adults who do suck there thumbs why they don't have messed up teeth or big thumbs. I get that all the time and thats mainly why I don't have a reason to quit. It's not hurting me in any way. I don't really get embarrassed when someone finds out I'm usually the one telling them. But I always get the question of why. I don't know. But I still have more to read. Maybe I'll find out Monica

24 May 1999

From: Jan

All I saw was a preview to something about adult thumbsucking. I am 41 and have done this all my life. Actually, I use my left forefinger instead of my thumb. Same result. Comfort.

Years ago I read in an old Ann Landers article and she consulted with some Dr.s that said it's really no different than someone smoking a cigarette-meaning comfort, not the health side of it. The article also stated that, yes, there are many people who do this and do keep it a secret.

My family knows and they dont care. My husband never even flinched when I told him. I guess, it's like it doesn't hurt anyone, so who cares? No, I dont do it in public though.

24 May 1999

From Amy:

Up until today I thought I was the only adult who sucked thir thumb. I saw the exclusive in EXTRA. I was shocked! So thanks! Now I know I am not the only one. Actually I am very relieved,but still don't have the courage to tell anyone. Thanks, Amy :)

Thumbsucking method

24 May 1999

From Deb

I had no idea that there were any other adult ts..ers! I'm not sure, however, that obtaining that information will make a difference in my keeping it a secret.

I have sucked since I was a baby, and my father used to slap me for it. I began hiding it when I was in gradeschool, and I finally divulged it to my then-fiance. After we were married, I continued to suck in front of him, but no one else.

I attempted successfully to quit when I turned 21, but when my first baby was born at 23, I resumed sucking when I rocked him. It now is a "hidden" habit, although my sons are aware that I do it when I'm alone. My husband, if he IS aware, has said nothing about it to me. I wish everyone was a thumbsucker. Wouldn't the world be a kinder place if everyone found solace in such a simple habit? Kinda like "hugging" my thumb.

i am new toooo

25 May 1999

From: andi

Just wanted to say hi to all you thumbsuckers. I saw a little section on the EXTRA show and I am soooo happy to know that there are other adults that suck their thumbs I am 30 and have sucked my thumb for as long as i can remember i have tryed to stop but no way i am going to my grave sucking my thumb take care to all andi --- thank you.

29 May 1999

From: Theresa

Well, I'm 22 years old and just stoped sucking my thumb about 5 to 6 years ago, got married and I married a man who sucks his thumb at night when he is in bed! He will be grateful to hear that there are a lot of other men and women out there that still do { not childern} thank you for the site. Theresa

Time: Mon, l8-Jan-1999

Hello, my name is Albert. I tried to use the survey, but it didn't work so I decided to post here in this public forum.

I am 25 yo Male in California. Instead of sucking my thumb, I actually suck my fingers. Specifically my index and middle fingers on my right hand. I have been sucking them for as long as I can remember. I have two very large and very ugly calluses on my fingers. I am so embarrassed and ashamed of my ugly fingers and this habit. I also use a blanket or pillow to hold onto when I suck. I also sometimes pick my nose while sucking my fingers. I know it must sound incredibly disgusting. I hate myself for this habit. I always have to hide my right hand so no one can see how ugly my fingers are.

My two front teeth are also crooked. I usually suck my fingers at bedtime or when I am alone and need to relax. No one knows of my habit. I am not sure if it has anything to do with my childhood which was traumatic. My father was physically abusive and I have a feeling it has something to do with it. I suffer from severe depression sometimes, and even suicidal thoughts. I am also gay. So the whole combination of my gross lifetime habits and depression really makes me feel awful. I wanted to cry when I saw this website. I never knew how many people had this habit, although it seem the majority suck their thumbs, and not their fingers like I do.

re: Thumb Sucking

Time: Wed, 09-Dec-1998

Wow, I just can't get over the honesty in your post and so many others on the thumbsucking web page. I am a 42 yo licensed psychologist and a gay male. I am openly gay and proud but my thumbsucking has been a source of constant shame. I am now and always have been more afraid of anyone finding out about my habit than of my being gay.

It is amazing how much shame has been attached to this habit. I have always known that it soothed me and comforted me, I love also to touch satin or silk or soft fur. I sleep with a couple of "bunny furs". My partner has known from very early on. He's so cool. He's never thought it was any big deal.

I had one client about 15 years ago who disclosed he was a thumbsucker and felt incredible shame. Apart from him, I've never met or been aware of other adult thumb suckers. It's like coming out all over again. I just want to say thanks for being courageous and so open and honest.

I am also quite interested in understanding the dynamics of adult thumb sucking. I don't have calluses and my teeth are straight, I have a bit of an overbite. The more noticeable thing to me and my dentist is that my teeth don't hit on the left side in the back when I bite down normally. It hasn't been a bit deal because I can make them "hit" by moving my lower teeth slightly to the right. Some people have noticed that I chew a little funny. My dentist has never told me if he knows the real reason for this. I haven't told him. He did tell me it would take surgery to correct it. They would have to break my jaw and reset it. (OUCH). Since I doubt I will ever give up thumb sucking, it seems pointless to have it corrected if my "habit" will move the teeth again over time.

I am "ambithumbious" and seem to be primarily a "passive" thumb sucker vs. a "vigorous" one. I did talk to the one client about my own habit. I rarely cross a boundary like that but it was a very healing moment for him. (and for me). My mother was terribly ashamed of me on numerous fronts. She thought my ears were too big and always dressed me in caps. (I'm from Phoenix, AZ) so that was kind of odd. She tried everything to break me of my "habit". She enjoyed humiliation the most. I recall a Thanksgiving dinner when I was 13 and she announced it to the entire extended family that I still sucked my thumb. When she caught me "messing around" with a boy in my early teens, it was the final disappointment. She told me I was a queer and that she was completely ashamed of me. I am sure there was not much "bonding" between my mom and me.

I hypothesize that the thumb sucking is a form of self nurturance. It was such a paradox as a kid though because it could be soothing at one moment and then create intense anxiety the next when I'd "whip it out of my mouth at the "speed of light" when someone would walk into the room. Usually we'd all pretend no one had noticed.

Mom would such give me her "knowing" look and I'd feel that incredible load of shame. She's 82 now and I have come out to her as a gay man and though it was very hard for her, it didn't kill her. Sometimes I think the final step in my coming out might be to sit openly in front of her watching t.v. some night and stick my thumb in my mouth. I fear she'd "topple over". Hummm, there's a thought. Just kidding.

I've tried self hypnosis with "symptom substitution", but I guess squeezing one of those "sand" balls used for carpal tunnel relief just didn't do the trick. At this point in time, I'm not trying actively to "quit". I do think it is an indicator of some compulsive tendencies and is probably a "repairative drive" at some level to meet some early developmental needs that weren't met. Perhaps the majority who do stop the behavior had different levels of "unmet needs" or perhaps for them it was a more or less aquired habit with less intensity. This is really psychobabble because no one has studied this at any length.


Subject: 26 yr old thumb sucker

Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 16:31:34 EST

Hi I came across your website and up until that point I thought I was the only adult who sucked their thumb.

I don't know why I do it, I've just done it for as long as I can remember and my family would put hot sauce on my thumb so I would quit sucking it and it never worked. It really relieves my tension though not many of my friends know it, I always considered it really embarassing.

I would like to know more information about adult thumbsucking.

Thanks for having your website Respectfully Robin

another embarrassing habit



deep breath... you guys don't even know me yet, and i am about to reveal a very embarrassing secret - i have noticed that alot of others post about their 'embarrassing problems' etc, and are often very reassured by a whole bunch of others who are in the exact same boat. although i fear i will stand alone on this one, here goes:

i am 23, and i still suck my thumb.

there, i said it. it was probably kinda cute when i was tiny, but very embarrassing if i am caught doing it now...i tend only to do it in the evenings when i am very tired. to me it fits in with the eating disorder in a number of ways... -oral fixations: i smoke, suck my thumb, bite the inside of my mouth, eat,eat, eat, purge, etc etc -old habits die hard -insecurity: i am pretty sure that is why i clung to it as a child (horrendous family life), and it may still be a contributing factor thanks for listening sarahC

Re: another embarrassing habit

Author: Bryan Gusdal


Date: 1998/12/09


Hi Sarah, You are not alone. I spent 26 years working as a psychologist, and in such a job one encounters a pretty wide range of "secrets". I have met people in thier 20's who do that, as well as one in her 30's. Your speculation on why the behavior persists has a fair degree of credibility as well. Take care, Bryan --

Subject: BoardRoom: re: Thumb Sucking

Date: 2 Dec 1998 21:55:36 -0000

Time: Wed, 02-Dec-1998

I'm a thumb sucker, Devorah. I have been all my life. Sometimes I wonder why I do it. I wonder if there is some underlying psychological explanation (i.e., childhood trauma, neglect, etc.). Am I somehow "diverging" my stress or anxiety because I am otherwise incapable of dealing with it? I don't really know, and I don't know if anyone really knows the answer to why some adults like us suck our thumbs. All I know is: I enjoy it, and I can't stop. If I feel the urge and try to ignore it, I get edgy and distracted. I don't smoke or drink, though. And I don't have any other habits that some could consider "addicting."

One note here: I have a stuffed Pooh bear that I love to sniff and scratch while I'm sucking. In fact, if I can't find him, my thumb sucking is not nearly as enjoyable. I love my bear, and am contiuously putting back stuffing into his arms and legs and sewing up his holes. He reminds me of the Velveteen rabbit. I wonder if he'll ever come alive....Would Disney be jealous? I'm glad I found this site. I've looked at a lot of the pictures, and I can tell who is and who isn't a "real" thumb sucker. There's just something about how comfortable they look, and how much of their thumb is in their mouth....Rosanna Arquette's picture was great. She's a real thumb sucker.

From L.

My boyfriend is 18 and the other night we were sitting on the couch watching TV and he looks at me and says, "I have a terrible habit." So I was thinkkijng he's joking around or whatever. So then he tells me that he still sucks his thumb and how he's so ashamed about it and he can't stop. He said that the only time he does it is when he'ss really relaxed, lying in bed watching TV or going to sleep. I wasn't ashamed of him at all. I think it's really cute.

My name is Tony and I'm 39. I have always sucked both of my thumbs, but have always been too embarrassed to do it in public. I am an elementary school teacher and see other kids do openly. I admire them for it. My first wife made me feel like crap because I would do it around the house. My wife now is very loving and accepts me the way I am.

I am glad to have found this site where I can openly say I suck my thumb and I am glad I am not alone.

See mom... I'm not the only one out there who does and it's OK!

From A, a woman, aged 33:

I want to commend you on your site. It is simply great to see this. It has brought some comfort and allowed me to feel a little less different. I'm currently having my teeth straightened and in that have had to admit to several different people that I am an adult thumb sucker. I was however, very interested to read the content on your page about calluses. I am 33 and sucked my thumb all my life to the point of having extremely crooked teeth and a severe open bite. I have never had a callus on my thumb. However, when I looked at your pictures I realized I don't stick my thumb as far into my mouth as the thumb calluses indicate.

I also noticed that when I suck my thumb I put my tongue overtop of my front bottom teeth. I would venture to say that calluses would be related for a lot of people to crooked teeth as it would be an indicator of the amount of thumbsucking a person does but, clearly there are some techniques that prevent calluses from forming. I must say that I usually never have to trim my thumb nails as they do not grow and the nail flakes and generally looks unhealthy. I would be very interested to find out how some people can suck there thumbs and not end up with open bites and crooked teeth. There must be something they do that prevents this.

Dentists can tell that I still suck my thumb or at least that I sucked my thumb to an extremely late age. This is because the open bite that I have is so extreme. The current dentist treating me measures it at 9 mm (this is not an entirely accurate measurement). He can tell that I continue to suck my thumb. There are also concerns from the dentist to ensure that they don't tramatize the teeth in the straightening process. Part of the reason I admitted to it, is that my roomate who works for the dentist is aware of my thumb sucking and did some of the admitting for me (with my permission of course). This made it a little easier. However, the dentist was not surprised and could tell from seeing me that I probably still suck my thumb.

From Gregg at

This e-mail message has been edited for this site. It had contained references to adult infantilism which can be found at other, numerous, sites.

The path to your inner child is through your thumb. Over the years, [my friend] suck[ed] his thumb . . .throughout our sessions. This started because I . . . put my thumb in his mouth while cuddling him.... Soon, he was voluntarily popping his own thumb into his mouth and [he started] aggressively sucking it. In fact, it has gotten to the point that after lounging around [he'd spontaneously put] his thumb in his mouth. The evolution to being a voluntary thumbsuck[er] happened over several years, and now it is second nature to him (or maybe that should be "first nature"). But, It wasn’t until he became a voluntary thumbsucker that he completely lost all hints of [anxiety], he was totally at ease and totally involved - thumbsucking and all! That's how I came to the conclusion that the path to your inner child is through your thumb. I have had confirmation of this from a friend who was studying psychology a few years ago. He told me of a session where everyone in one his classes had to sit around on the floor one day for an hour just exploring the sensation of sucking their thumbs. It just came up during casual conversation about his course work. I have also heard of the practice of treating people with severe anxiety problems by regressing them to the comfort level of baby/toddlerhood as a method of therapy, so I know it's not the first time it's been done.

From: Maxine Winslow

I'm 33 married with an 18 month old. My husband is very understanding about my thumbsucking I'm also in therapy for other reasons (I wount go into now) but lately I haven't thumbsucked in a while.

I find that the time when I thumb the most is when I'm tired, or when I'm in bed awaiting sleep I don't get the urge to thumb around others as you spoke of however I really try not to let my son see Mommy thumb. He might get the wrong idea.

My husband used to make fun of this, but he has calmed down quite a bit since he knows that his jokes are hurtful I hope that I have helped you.


I know 2 adults who still suck their thumbs. Both are female.One I've known since elementary school. The other I've known for a few years.I don't know how long my friend has been doing it but she does it for a lot of reasons - to cut back on her smoking, or when she's upset. It wasn't until I became friends with her and I had been over to her house for a while that she started doing it in fron of me. She does it in private or in the car. The other girl I've known since elementary school doesn't care where she does it. She used to do it in class and she still does it in public. I hope this helps you.

I only do it to arouse my SO. I'll lightly suck my own thumb or suck on his or one of his other fingers. It's a very erotic thing to see. As my SO puts it, it's even more erotic than watching lady eat a banana. From what he has told me there isn't one guy out there who doesn't think about sex when he see's a lady eating a banana or sucking a thumb Hope this helps.


I can really say with experience that relaxing is the only way to go. I am a 24 y.o. mother of three and all I can tell you is there is nothing you can do. I suck my thumb at 24. My mother always said what are you going to do lay up in the bed with your husband and suck your thumb! That is exactly what I do today.

They tried everything, yukky things on my fingers, gloves, punishment,reward. But I still do it today. My family and friends accept me just as I am -Believe it or not none of my children does it they didn't even like pacifiers. For me it's an ongoing test to see who accepts me and who just tolerates me. Love can do miracles.

Please don't make a big deal out of this. If this habit makes your child feel secure. Then let the child feel secure because that thumb will be there when you aren't and that thumb will give security that will not leave the child. I say this because my thumb was there when when my sister died, when I lost my job, when I'm home alone. please understand that their habit is nothing more than ann extention of the love you give the child and they can carry that love with them where ever they go.


I do it while relaxing, to get to sleep, while riding in the car, and even when I 'm on the computer. I could be doing something a lot worse, like smoking, or overeating, etc. I am happy for the other person who wrote in who seriously wanted to quit and did. But I have no desire to quit. I tried it years ago but I am in my 40's now.

The only people who know about my unusual habit are my immediate family, my best friend and another friend who shares the same habit. She, like us has no desire to quit. She is only 21 years old and unmarried, but each time she has a steady boyfriend she does not try to hide it from him. I married my high school sweetheart so I never had the opportunity to reveal my secret to many other people.

I enjoy my thumb like some people enjoy a cigarette, a drink, or a chocolate. I once saw a talk show on adult thumbsucking I think there is more of us than we think'. Robert (last name withheld by request) My family was always trying to get me to quit sucking my thumb when I was a kid. I finally gave it up when I was twelve. When I was eighteen, I went off to fight in a war. I don't know if it was the stress and fear, or that I didn't want to deny myself anything that I enjoyed, but I started sucking my thumb again. I haven't even tried to stop since then, but I don't suck my thumb in public. Usually I do it when I read, watch TV or go to sleep. Do you suck your thumb in your sleep? Whenever I start coming down with a cold, or such, and my nose starts to clog up, I wake up with "night terrors" (a psychological term applied to a child's problem). I'm sure this is the cause of them, but the only psychologist I talked to about it (a teacher) wasn't interested. I'm glad to hear there are other adults out there who suck their thumbsw. I once saw a lady on the street sucking her thumb. I tried to turn my car around because I really wanted to talk to her, but she was gone. I do have to agree with the guy who wrote the note that it is really sexy. At least I thought so that time. Of course, it could justhave been a desire for someone that I could share a unique facet of my personality with. I don't know.


My family knows that I suck my thumb cuz I have been doing it since I was a kid and they know that I haven't quit. I do it when I'm watching T.V. once in a while my mom will catch me sucking my thumb, now she doesn't say anything but I do stop when she enters the room. Then when she leaves I start up again. It bugs her I think.

Let's see, when I stopped sucking for awhile, I don't know~how I did it. I just did it. I said I was going to stop and I stopped. I think it was more of that I was so busy with school, work, and football that I kind of didn't have time or I didn't think about doing it anymore. Then about a year and a half later I was sitting on my bed and I was craving something and I couldn't figure it out cuz I wasn't hungry and then I stuck my thumb into my mouth and BAM!! I started up all over again.

About my friend Lisa. We were at work and I guess she noticed the callous on my thumb. We started talking and within the next few days she invited me over to her house to go swimming. She had told me just to walk into her backyard so I did and when I got there she was lying on a deck chair in a bikini and her eyes were closed and she was sucking on her thumb. She opened her eyes and just smiled at me. Then she asked me if I sucked on my thumb and I told her I did. She told me she wanted to watch me suck my thumb so we went in to the house into her bedroom. We laid on the bed and we were each sucking our thumbs. After awhile she asked me If I wanted her and of course I did. She then stripped off my trunks and told me she was going to suck me off but she wanted me to watch her while I sucked my thumb. So of course I obliged. Then after that she laid me on my back and she got on top and again told me to suck my thumb while she rode me. After we both came several times and spent most of the afternoon in bed we finally stopped.

The thumbsharing was my idea if I remember right. We were lying in bed and sucking our thumbs and I just took her thumb out of her mouth and put it in mine. Then I put my thumb in her mouth. It was kinda weird cuz her thumb didn't really fit my mouth and vice versa but we got used to it. We used to do some kinda strange things but it was good. Our relationship ended when she graduated from high school and went to school in Ohio. I have seen her once since we broke up and it was some really hot thumbsucking sex. I go to college but I live at home with my parents. Never really had a problem with roommates. If I don't want people to find out then they won't. Now I can control my nightly thumbsucking. If I don't want people to see me then I just don't do it. Simple as that.