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
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.
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 email@example.com
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 wasnt 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.
From: SUZANNE REESE
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.
From: HALLIE BENJAMIN
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.
FROM: KATHY MORRISSEY Chico, CA
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.
From: ROBERT SCHUYLER
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.