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What is Adult Thumb Sucking?

By Jennifer Burger
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Thumb sucking is a natural behavior that can be seen in most babies. It's the result of a normal drive that compels newborns to suck in order to get milk from their mothers' breasts. In fact, it isn't uncommon for thumb sucking to begin in the womb. Some babies do it only occasionally and stop at a young age, while others continue into early childhood. Adult thumb sucking is less common, and it usually happens because the natural habit was never broken.

The reasons for adult thumb sucking vary, but most do it simply out of habit. Because they didn't stop as children, the behavior became more ingrained over time. These individuals tend to report that they get a strong sense of calmness and a soothing effect from sucking their thumbs. It is often used as a coping mechanism for stress, occurring more frequently during difficult periods of life. They may also use it as a sort of natural sleep aid. Like other similar habits, it can be triggered by certain places or things. A small percentage of adult thumb sucking is related to the effects of a serious psychiatric illness.

There are no serious medical concerns associated with thumb sucking until a child reaches six to eight years of age. This is when permanent teeth begin to come in. The habit can potentially lead to dental malformations such as a cross bite or buck teeth, and these problems may range from mild to very severe. However, many people who continue sucking their thumbs into adulthood experience no related dental problems. Whether they occur is dependent on how much pressure there is on the teeth during sucking as well as how long and how often it's done. There's also an increased risk of illness associated with thumb sucking, unless hands are washed frequently.

In general, society views thumb sucking as juvenile or immature. This stigma causes most adults who engage in thumb sucking to limit it to times when they're alone or with people they trust. They typically begin hiding the behavior in late childhood, due to societal pressure in the form of urging or ridicule by parents and other children. However, most people who continue this habit past childhood experience no negative effects other than possible embarrassment. Adult thumb sucking is usually unrelated to an individual's level of maturity and degree of success in life.

Because it gives them a positive feeling and can usually be done in privacy, many individuals don't have a desire to stop thumb sucking. However, others do decide to quit, sometimes because they find that the behavior lowers their self-esteem. Cognitive behavioral therapy and a special dental device can help those who are having trouble giving it up. If the thumb sucking is related to underlying anxiety issues, psychiatric drugs may be prescribed.

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Discussion Comments

By anon1000168 — On Jun 19, 2018

I'm an adult tser. My teeth have formed around my thumb almost to the point where I hardly have to open my mouth for my thumb (right thumb only). They're also quite bucked out so that they are visible even when I close my mouth.

Yet, I think of it as an advantage since it makes it so comfortable. In fact, it feels better with my thumb in my mouth than otherwise.

I suck my thumb wherever I am, even in public. Yes, there are the occasional comments and stares but there's also a lot of people who have told me that they're jealous since they've admitted to the habit to me, but can't find "the nerve" to do it whenever they get the urge.

It's ridiculous that it's socially unaccepted given what is, like biting one's nails (more so anyway), smoking, etc. If all the adult thumb suckers would just do it whenever they feel like it things would change.

My girlfriend sucks her thumb also, so that score is a settled one! It really is a lot more prevalent than most would guess.

A few times I went to the orthodontist at the urging of others but they won't touch me unless I stop. No way!

By anon996308 — On Aug 09, 2016

This is something I've wondered and thought I would write out what I've found. I've wondered how long it would take me until I had really quit. At first I thought it was 21 days. But I've been looking around online and the current view (starting/ending) a habit is at least two months. That's too long for me.

By anon996307 — On Aug 09, 2016

This is for post 132. It has probably been a long time, but yes, I think most (certainly me) have favorite thumbs and the other does not seem right in some way. I'm hoping you're dong well.

By anon996076 — On Jul 06, 2016

I find sucking my thumb helps relax me. It keeps me calm in a world that is so confusing and conflicting. I do it privately just like when I masturbate. Sometimes I do both of these activities together and it really chillaxes me. If you have to choose between drugs, smoking, or drinking I would suggest sucking and jerking instead.

By anon989702 — On Mar 17, 2015

I am a 26 year old female. I have sucked my thumb my entire life. I also rub my belly button at the same time. I do not do one without the other. As a child, I would do it all of the time, in public, in school and at home. My family members and close friends would occasionally make comments, I would ignore them and continue to suck. In the fourth grade, my teachers told my mother I was a distraction to the class and I was no longer allowed to do it while at school. My mom then told me that school was a very dirty place and it would be best just to do it at home. I had no problem with that, so I only sucked my thumb at home, and occasionally in public.

When I was 13, my mother took me to a orthodontist and had metal braces put on me. I was told to quit so the braces would work properly. At 15 years old, I decided to quit, as the jaw spacer that was attached to the braces had been constantly cutting into my thumb. After six months of not sucking my thumb, I started again, only sucking at home and in bed. All of my friends knew, and never made a big deal about it. Up until now, all of the guys I have dated that I told, or they found out (while sleeping, etc.) thought it was cute.

I am very confident and comfortable with the fact that I still suck my thumb. I have no desire to quit. As I see it, I am not hurting anyone or myself. It puts me into a state of relaxation and peace that I feel most people never achieve. I do not have any addiction to food, alcohol, drugs or tobacco. So far, I am a successful young business owner. The thumb sucking has not negatively impacted any aspect of my life, except for my teeth, which is the only issue I currently have with it. For the past seven years, I neglected to wear my retainers at night. My teeth have slightly shifted, but not horribly. Last year I had Invisalign put on (I'm regretting this now. I should have gone with the metal.)

The guy I am currently dating hates it. He complains about the sucking noise that I sometimes make. He also thinks I have a psychological issue that derives from childhood problems. I say, who doesn't? Every person existing on this planet, when you dig deep enough, has some issue. Most people cope using relationships, food, tobacco, drugs, alcohol, etc. I do none of those. If sucking your thumb gives you inner peace, then who cares what everyone else thinks?

By anon987893 — On Feb 06, 2015

I am a 32 year old mom of four children and I still suck my thumb every day and have no desire to quit. I sucked my thumb in public until I was in fourth grade when peer pressure made me quit. I still continued to suck my thumb at home and have never hid it from my immediate family. Of course my husband knows and it doesn't bother him at all. He always says it's not something he can ask me to quit because while he doesn't understand it he can see that it brings me comfort. My oldest will be 9, and while he at one time was curious about why I suck my thumb, he had no desire to try it.

I am not sure when, but at some point in my 20's, I quit trying to hide that I was a thumb sucker. I find myself doing it mostly in my own home, but when I see parents trying to break their child's habit, I try to explain to them what exactly their child is feeling so they are more supportive and try to help soothe their child through the transition of quitting instead of just expecting them to quit cold turkey. It's not so much as the actual physical need for me as it is the psychological.

I love the relaxation and instant comfort I get the minute I suck my thumb. I also have a silky blankie piece that I rub on my other fingers and along my face, although that habit is not as addictive as the thumb sucking. I am surprised how many adults feel shame about something so natural. I decided to look up thumb sucking to see just how many others are like me, and if the reasoning behind why they do is similar to my own. I am glad to see there are so many others who can relate.

By anon979445 — On Nov 25, 2014

I'm 17 and I still suck my thumb. I've been ridiculed by my family for it so I only do it when I'm sure I am alone. It's soothing, it helps me rid of stress, and it helps me sleep. You can call me immature, but I think sucking your thumb at night is more mature than turning to cigarettes to help get rid of stress.

By anon949309 — On May 04, 2014

I'm 28 years old and still suck my thumb when I'm alone. I have wanted to stop so bad. There have been nights where I can go to bed without doing it, but when I wake up, it's right back in there.

I have had a couple of people see me in the morning including my fiance and it is quite shocking to her. I have talked with her about it and it doesn't seem to bother her, but it bothers me, you know. You're not alone and I know there is a cure for this habit out there.

By anon946851 — On Apr 22, 2014

I am turning 22 in a little over a month. I suck my thumb, as does my father who is turning 59 this year. I still have a "blanket" and a stuffed rabbit to rub against the corners of my mouth.

My teeth are formed slightly in a gap from it, and the oral surgeon who took out my wisdom teeth noticed, knew what it was from, and informed me the gap would close within a year if I stopped thumb sucking. It's not noticeable enough for most people. Only one other person has ever guessed what it was from.

By anon946594 — On Apr 21, 2014

I'm 15 and I researched this because I hate my teeth. They are not white, perfectly straight, nor do they touch. My orthodontist says this is fine, but I'm beginning to become more self conscious. I've sucked my thumb as long as I can remember. I can't sleep without it.

As my exams come up, I find it helps even more and I want to quit but I can't. I'm scared I'm going to end up 40 still sucking it with bucked teeth.

I also, like someone above, love to twiddle silky labels. It's like an addiction.

By anon941597 — On Mar 23, 2014

@Anon355819: I don't know how to get in contact with you, but I am exactly the same as you. I have whatever blankie I can get my hands on that isn't worn! Your post sounds like I wrote it! I can't find anything online about it at all!

By anon939444 — On Mar 13, 2014

I too, am an adult thumb sucker in my 40's. I also use a tiny blanket and have for 40 years, and I have no calluses or teeth issues. I think we might all have a slightly different technique and might use different angles, or rest our thumbs differently at different times.

I use it to sleep and when I am alone, it actually has completely affected different aspects of intimacy in my life. Men tend to find it cute or understandable with female ATS's, but as the fifth post on this board points out, anon 67815 finds it "very disgusting."

Different women in my life have (those I have trusted enough to tell or have "caught me") never been what I would call supportive and a couple of been less than understanding. So I don't share it much. It just makes me think again that I have a psychological issue or problem or am some how not "normal.”

I wonder a couple of things: have any of the ATS posters here had a traumatic or dramatic experience early in their lives? My father died in a commercial airliner crash (passenger) when I was about 20 months old. Obviously I wasn't conscious of it, nor even have a single memory of him or the day it happened. It is the kind of thing though, that I actually have re-lived a lot in different ways throughout my life especially when young.

My mom would explain almost daily or any time we were out, "I am a widow and my husband was killed in a plane crash." It’s a common question for any child (Where is your dad today? or Is your dad at the office today? What does your dad do?). Almost any time a "normal family" would participate in any kind of family outing, she would explain.

What I am suggesting/asking is it possible that sustaining a very personal and early traumatic incident in childhood, one that is not easily forgotten and pops up in day to day interaction, would be a trigger or make someone more susceptible, to seek comfort in something controllable and soothing such as thumb sucking?

Have any other ATS's who have posted here (or have yet to) had similar or (in their little kid lives) shared kinds of experiences, that have maybe perpetuated their habit?

I do think I turned out relatively "normal." Of course, there are deep philosophical discourses in relation to what anyone’s real "normal" is, but setting that aside, I have two wonderful kids, a chocolate lab and a Volkswagen -- that kind of normal. I'm good.

I guess what I'm asking is what started it for you? Is there anyone out there who is a little bit like me? -- Eddy

By anon939437 — On Mar 13, 2014

I am a 27 year old man and I have been sucking my thumb since I can remember. I am now an accounting clerk and I find when I get really stressed that Sitting in the bathroom and sucking my thumb helps me.

My parents tried to get me to stop during the early years of school because they wanted to protect me from other kids making fun of me. It didn't really work. I became discreet as to where I do it and in which company, but for the most part my parents accepted it.

Like many thumb suckers, I have no real will to stop. I can't say my teeth are very bad and some basic discretion will go a long way to avoid discomfort and embarrassment.

I am curious though. I am only able to suck my right thumb. My left thumb (and all my other finger too in fact) feels uncomfortable and tastes funny. Does anyone else have a favored thumb/finger?

By anon934344 — On Feb 20, 2014

I'm a 25 year old male and today was the first time I ever thought to look up this habit.

I have always been hiding it and I hope nobody has ever seen me doing it. I only do it when I'm alone and when I have a good chance that nobody would come around and notice it. I also twist my hair while sucking my thumb. For me, these two things are not something I could stop. I have never really tried to quit nor do I think I would, as it relaxes me more than anything else. However, I find to too ashamed to tell anyone about it, not even my bride.

By anon926637 — On Jan 20, 2014

I'm 21 and still suck my thumb. Thank god I am not the only one. I also love to rub silky labels while sucking my thumb. I only suck my thumb in private, but I don't want to give it up, it's so comforting.

By anon358760 — On Dec 12, 2013

I am a 53 year old male in Oregon who still sucks his thumb. I mostly do it in private, sometimes while driving, but mostly when I am about to fall asleep. My wife knows, and says that she doesn't care; she just doesn't want me to do it where my kids or any friends can see.

To me, it is much better than smoking, drinking, drugging, etc. It is safe, harmless and calms me down. My siblings didn't do it and my children do not do it, nor do my grandchildren, so I don't know where it started, but it works for me!

By anon357787 — On Dec 06, 2013

I'm 27 and I suck my thumb. No one knows. They all think I stopped when I was 12 or 13. I suck my thumb and twist my hair. I have to do it or I can't sleep. I'd love to stop but I need it.

I started to take anti-anxiety meds and they make me twitch and stuff at night. I'll be falling asleep and wake suddenly because my thumb was ripped out of my mouth or I'll bite down hard. It's not good. I should stop sucking my thumb. I don't want to bite it off or something, but I can't. I panic thinking about quitting.

By anon357209 — On Dec 02, 2013

I'm 22 years old and I still suck my thumb. I rub my pillow or my nose. My boy friend doesn't have a problem with it at all and I feel comfortable doing it in front of him. Everyone else in my family thinks I stopped a while ago.

I don't think I'm ashamed of it. I just feel that is it very personal and only choose to let very few people know. My teeth are kind of messed up from sucking. I have a over bite and gaps. I honestly don't see myself stopping any time soon. It's harmless and it comforts me. Why not?

By Firekin25 — On Nov 28, 2013

I don't see why it's such a big deal. These chicks in some blogs I read apparently got horrible teeth from it, were picked on about it, and couldn't maintain relationships. Obviously they're forgetting that most people who have those problems don't suck their thumbs. There's a good chance they would've needed braces and had a few social problems anyway. They're normal occurrences, not some rare problems caused solely by thumbsucking.

I'm 18 and I still suck my thumb. I see no reason to stop. I've always had perfect teeth, my boyfriend and friends think it's adorable, and no one gives me crap about it except my mom's husband. That's only because he's a jerk.

A few people tried to make me stop when I was younger, mainly because they were afraid of those problems happening to me. They didn't and probably never will. Even when I was in high school, the only thing I didn't get bullied for was sucking my thumb in class.

The only "problem" I have is a barely-visible callus on my thumb, and that's easily controlled with anything oily/greasy that tastes good. I typed in "thumbsucking at 18" just to see how "abnormal" I am, and all I found was this, a bunch of links to the same site about how to make kids stop sucking their thumb, and only those two blogs I mentioned above. So I think any real complications are rare, over-exaggerated, or falsely blamed on thumbsucking.

Honestly, I think everyone should suck their thumb. It's soothing, it doesn't make you beat people like booze does, and it doesn't cause cancer like cigarettes. There would be less violence because people would rather be snuggled up to a blanket sucking their thumb than out killing each other. And no one would pick on thumbsuckers, because it'd be the norm.

And it does not make people immature. From my experience, people who suck their thumbs tend to be more mature.

By anon355819 — On Nov 19, 2013

I am 18 years old, and I don't suck on my thumb, but I do have a very bad habit of sucking on any blanket that I pick to be my "chosen object of comfyness" until it starts to fall apart or gets too gross.

I haven't really been able to find any posts of people who chew on blankets. To be honest. it makes me feel a little bit of an outcast. My parents, siblings, a few of my family members, close friends, and boyfriend know about it. It's messed up my teeth quite a bit, and I have braces. I've had them for four years.

My Dad used to rip my blanket out of my mouth when I slept, and my sister used to do that, too. My mom tells me to stop, and so does my orthodontist. But I can't sleep without something to suck on, and if I'm forced to, I get cranky, or stressed, or I find it incredibly hard to sleep.

I've been so ashamed of my habit that I don't do it unless it's around either my boyfriend or my super close best friend Amy. Amy thinks it's cute, and my boyfriend doesn't care about it, but he wants me to stop for the sake of my teeth and health.

However, every day when i return home, I go to my room and suck on my blanket, and it's like a rush of calmness, like I'd been holding a huge weight until that point in time. I know it's not exactly the same as thumb sucking, but I felt that, even if just a little, I could connect to somebody with a problem like me. I really don't want to quit.

By anon349811 — On Sep 29, 2013

I have been sucking my thumb for as long as I could remember, Reading this kind of calmed me down when it comes to this habit I have. I am now 22 years old. In early age, like about 10 or 11, my mother would tell me to stop sucking my thumb, that it wasn't normal for a girl that age to be sucking her thumb. So I started hiding it. Usually while I'm sucking my thumb, I rub my ears. It's interesting to know that I am not the only one. There are probably millions out there who suck their thumbs in adulthood. I'm glad I read this.

By anon349382 — On Sep 25, 2013

It's very good to know that I'm not the only adult that sucks her thumb. I'm 36 years old now and I agree with everyone. My thumbs soothe me and comfort me. I twist on cotton while sucking my thumb and I have four kids ages 20, 14, 13 and 10 and only two of mine suck their thumbs and I don't take that from them. I'm sure they will give it up when they are ready. I do want to quit one day, but I don't know how so until then I will suck them while sleeping, on the computer or whenever I get bored.

By anon348878 — On Sep 21, 2013

I stopped sucking my thumb when I was 13 or 14 -- strangely, my teeth had a gap in them and were bucked until I was 11 or so, but I have a photo of me when I was 12, and the gap was gone and what I think of as the crowding had begun. Dentists don't see it as crowding even though I can hardly fit dental floss between some of my teeth -- including the two front ones, plus I've developed a palatal torus over the years. Thus, I think these changes caused me to stop rather than stopping causing the changes.

I have a severe TMJ disorder now, and I wish I had never stopped sucking my thumb because then I wouldn't be grinding my teeth at night, making the condition worse. I tried an oral appliance, and that was actually sort of comforting having something in my mouth, but it stopped working after three months and then started making things worse, so I had to stop using it.

If that stupid torus wasn't in the roof of my mouth, I would suck my thumb because I can tell it would help, but my thumb nail digs straight into that thing if I even try. I hate it, and I would gladly have gap, bucked teeth instead of this horrible pain.

By anon343995 — On Aug 04, 2013

I've sucked my thumb since being in the womb (my mother could see on the scan) I'm 29 now and love to do it. I would love to be able to stop but just can't sleep without doing it. I also use any available soft fabric to rub my nose. I've always told boyfriends and they seem to think its cute but other than family and old friends no one else knows. Rhianna sucks her thumb too, along with other celebs, so don't be embarrassed people.

By anon339708 — On Jun 26, 2013

I'm 43 and I occasionally suck my thumb. It happens when I am so engrossed with what I'm doing, like reading a book or watching a movie. I don't noticed I'm sucking my thumb until it starts hurting.

By anon337513 — On Jun 06, 2013

I am glad that there are more people like me in the world. I am 19 years old and I still suck my thumb. My parents know about it and my sisters too, but I usually do in secret, when I watch TV, am reading, or am just bored.

I told my psychologist about this and she explained to me that is the way I calm my nerves and it's nothing bad, just when I'm ready to leave it be and may not, that's choice.

I don't think I'm hurting anyone with this. My teeth are pretty good and I do it for me. Whenever my sisters saw me, they used to tell me to stop and now if I'm sucking my thumb and I see them enter the room, I stop automatically.

I would like to tell my friends, but I do not know.

I thought I was really the only person in the world and now I feel more confident. Thank you all for telling your anecdotes.

By anon337507 — On Jun 05, 2013

I started sucking my thumb when I was a baby, and my father never stopped me because he thought it was "cute." Now here I am, 16 years old, and I suck my thumb whenever I get the chance. I smell my stuffed animal bunny's ear, and suck my thumb. It soothes me, and it calms me. I don't see anything wrong with it. I used to think I was the only one who did this, but I am thankful i found this page.

I do not see any reason to stop. I don't think I will be able to function if i do. I have been doing it for so long It's basically impossible. my boyfriend doesn't seem to like it too much, but it isn't like he understands. I will probably continue to suck on my thumb and smell my bunny for the rest of my life, and I am okay with that:)

By anon336538 — On May 29, 2013

I am a 22 year old female and I recently started to suck my thumb. It's been over 19 years since I originally stopped and I honestly found it weird and frightening. In all honesty, I believe I have restarted it due to being mentally deficient.

From what my parents and psychiatrists have told me, I may be 22 but I stopped aging mentally between 7-9 years of age. I have noticed from time to time I am mentally 22 but I am usually the mental age of 7-9 years old. I don't suck my thumb around anyone, not even my family. I do it when in my room as I'm going to bed.

I honestly don't like the confusion I feel associated with it. I feel conflicted, on one hand I want to stop while I still can while on the other hand I don't want to lose the sense of comfort, peacefulness and security when I suck my thumb. I don't know what to do with my situation! Any suggestions or comments?

By anon332600 — On Apr 30, 2013

I'm almost 20 and I still suck my thumb. I had braces too, and while they told me to stop sucking, I couldn't do it. I ended up lying to them, and telling them that my tongue pushes up against my teeth.

I'm really conflicted. On one hand, I want to stop because my teeth are horrible, but I can't sleep or function well without doing it.

By anon326218 — On Mar 20, 2013

I am wondering if sucking my thumb for some many years is ruining my thumb nail? It feels normal on the sides but in the middle its like 'hilly' -- and flatter.

By anon325855 — On Mar 18, 2013

I'm 24 and still suck my thumb. I started when I was seven after my dentist told me to suck my thumb instead of my dummy. I also suck my thumb and rub cold objects. I have a triangle (the metal musical instrument) and I put it in some water or by the window to make it really cold and rub it on my face/arms and suck my thumb.

My mum has tried to make me stop, but no one else has a problem with it at all. In fact, I always catch my friends playing with my triangle too. I do however, get anxious without my triangle and that does worry me, but I don't want to stop sucking my thumb since it's causing no harm to me or anyone else.

By anon325831 — On Mar 18, 2013

I have never heard of it ruining your teeth. Just thumb sucking will not ruin anything. If you don't brush your teeth, smoke, genetics makes you have bad teeth -- not thumb sucking your whole life. I have been doing it for 28 years now. My teeth, the roof of my mouth, etc., are perfect.

By anon324373 — On Mar 10, 2013

I have sucked my thumb since I was four years old and I can't stop it! I didn't even really care that much about it until I saw a post on the Mail online of someone who has been sucking their thumb for 30 years about the damage it is doing to her mouth. Now I'm seriously considering stopping while I'm still young (ish).

I'm 22 and my boyfriend also sucks his thumb, which some people think is a bit weird! We do it together when we're alone as a comfort thing. I still have a comfort blanket and he fiddles with my hair - literally like we are little kids! Even I admit its a bit weird but it's so comforting and its actually made us fall more in love with each other as its a massive secret that we both share with each other.

I knew I wasn't alone as my mum, auntie and nan all suck their thumbs, although none of my other siblings do.

I'm currently really stressed at the moment trying to do my dissertation so thumb sucking is a great way to help relieve stress, however as soon as it's over I'm really going to try and pack it in! I'll try and get my boyfriend to stop as well or else he'll just tempt me. It's like a crack addiction i swear but because it doesn't damage your health people don't realize just how hard it is to stop. Big love to all the other ATS's!

By anon322834 — On Mar 01, 2013

I thought I was alone. I'm 26 and still have my blanket and I hold it to my nose because the smell comforts me and I suck my thumb when stressed. I don't tell people or do it in public, but I think my husband knows and I know my mother does. She seems concerned but knows I need it and he either doesn't care or hides it really well.

I've never wanted to stop, though. I have tried, only to start again when confronted with stressful situations. I only do it at home and only when no one is around besides my husband I pretend to hide it under my blanket and he pretends not to notice.

By anon321292 — On Feb 21, 2013

I am 33, a female and I suck my thumb. My four older siblings all sucked their thumbs too, but gave up early in life, so I felt the pressure to give up! I also have my childhood comfort blanket, which in many ways I think is more important to me than the habit of sucking my thumb.

I am a successful professional, I did well at school and continue to make progress in my career. I do not suck my thumb in public because I feel I do not need to. Sucking my thumb is my habit. It helps me to relax, calm down, feel comfortable and sleep. I have had a few boyfriends and none of them have been bothered by my thumbsucking. For those of you who are worried, I introduced it early in relationships rather than later and it has never put anyone off.

My old friends know I do it, but I have made friends as an adult and told those friends. Sometimes they are surprised, and sometimes they have a sibling or another friend who does the same - none of them are judgmental. I am lucky; I have no dental problems. I think it is different if it affects your teeth to a point that you, as an individual, feel uncomfortable and therefore are negatively affected.

By anon320835 — On Feb 19, 2013

I think we are all the smarter ones. My brothers had binkies which would be taken away, but I will always have one or the other of my thumbs.

By anon320834 — On Feb 19, 2013

I actually said it out loud for the first time in many many years that I sucked my thumb to a student at a college who was going to dental hygienist. She said, "You'd be surprised how many people do it." I felt so relieved. I wasn't even looking anything up about this.

I agree with everyone who says they aren't going to give it up. I do not believe I want to try, because if I try that hard, find out that I miss it and start again, why bother? It soothes me when I am upset and it helps me sleep. I only do it in private, even though I am sure those closest to me know about it. I do it when I watch TV, am on the computer, watch movies, sleep, etc. I am 100 percent sure my mother knows, but I do admit to still doing it sometimes when the subject comes up.

I am not hurting anyone. I am not hurting myself as my teeth are perfect, as my dentist has told me. Never a brace or anything, and I've been a thumb sucker since the age of -0. I enjoy it, I am not hurting anyone, it doesn't stink, I am not sick. I hardly ever even have one sinus infection a year. I could be a drinker, partier, smoker, chewer, etc., but I will take my thumb any day.

By anon318805 — On Feb 09, 2013

I am a 21 year old male thumbsucker. I'm so glad to know there are others. would like to maybe meet a woman who's the same.

By anon313166 — On Jan 10, 2013

Funny thing is, the younger you are, the more you want to quit. I am 46, with an older sibling who is 52, and we both enjoy sucking our thumbs. Mostly only to sleep but on occasion I will indulge myself at other times. I also tried to quit when I was in my late teens and early twenties. It gets to the point you just have to say forget it. If this is my worst vice in life, so be it! I thoroughly enjoy my thumb, and am not giving it up.

By anon311637 — On Jan 02, 2013

I didn't start sucking my thumb until had my second heart surgery as a child. I've tried basically everything to stop. I've been trying to stop because it's messing up my teeth and I get made fun of for a lot of things already. Teeth is one thing I should be able to prevent.

I'm 24 years old and still sucking it to this day. It's been my new years resolution every year. It has been two days straight. I'm trying stop in the daytime and then to stop at night time. For now, I'm trying daytime to see how that goes.

It's very, very hard. I was born with heart problems and a funny voice and my thumb has been holding me back to be getting my teeth fixed and then my voice. How does one stop completely? They do need a website for thumb suckers!

By anon310716 — On Dec 26, 2012

I've been on here before, back at post 90. I'm now 20, still sucking my thumb and pacifier, which I call a charmy. I actually tend to prefer my charmy over my thumb, and I suck it every night when I go to bed. This is probably because as a baby I used a pacifier a lot and didn't use my thumb. The most comfortable brand for me is Mam 6+ months.

Unfortunately, my top teeth are getting messed up. I should probably see an orthodontist before I lose my insurance coverage for braces at age 21, but I know they hate thumbsuckers so I probably won't. After all, I don't plan on giving up my habit.

My parents accept my habit, although my father is less enthusiastic than my mother.

If anyone wants to talk to me about sucking just drop me a line here. Just address it to R. so I know it's to me.

By anon310327 — On Dec 21, 2012

This is my first time talking about it I am a 28 year old black male and suck my thumb. I always have. It bothers some of my friends and family but not me.

I do it mostly without realizing it. Sometimes I realize and stop and other times it's like, whatever. They've seen me do it, so why stop?

I didn't know there was a community of us. We should have our own sites where we can chat and see what else we have in common. I'm a little embarrassed when I do it in places where I don't want to or plan not to do it -- like on dates or at work.

It's become a characteristic that comes with me, kind of like a single mom dating and you have to accept her kids. The weird thing is, I have more control when I see somebody else sucking their thumb. I tend to try to hide it more. I also get along very well with people who suck their thumbs. I just wanted to get that off my chest.

By anon307502 — On Dec 05, 2012

I am 32 year old thumb sucker female, married with three children. I can't sleep without sucking. I started it at the age of 2 when my mom took my pacifier away. My elder sister used to suck her thumb and I copied her, but she stopped when she was about 12. I still suck my thumb. My father, mother and family condemned this habit, but rebelliously, I kept on sucking. This led to low self esteem, low confidence and trembling in new situations, but I also find it a relief from stress to suck my thumb.

My teeth were growing upward when I was young, but it turned perfectly in the correct position as I grew older. I left this habit in my teenage years when my family members told others to embarrass me, so I could stop it, but when I had lots of study pressure, I started it again. I don't know whether my husband has found out or if he just ignores it, but I tell my children to stay away from the habit. Otherwise, it will not leave you for your whole life.

It does not harm you, but the fear of disclosing the secret remains along with you all the time. It harms you psychologically and causes bad breath and carbon spots appear on your teeth.

By anon305699 — On Nov 27, 2012

I am a 22 year old thumb sucker. I live away at college and I haven't told anyone my whole life. My family is the only ones who know.

This is actually the first time in a long time I have thought about it. I kind of have been lying to myself that it is normal. I feel like I am different from everyone else. I know there are worse things to be addicted to (like chewing tobacco, which I am also addicted to) but I really want to quit. Does anyone have any advice?

By anon292834 — On Sep 22, 2012

I'm a 38 year old thumbsucking mother of three great kids, ages 14, 12 1/2, and 2 1/2. I've sucked since I was a baby. I told my husband of 16 years a few months after we started dating and he didn't care at all. My parents, his parents, my siblings, and all of my kids know I suck my thumb. I suck when watching TV, reading, and to go to sleep. However, I only do it in front of the 2 year old. I still don't feel comfortable doing it in front of the others even though they have all seen me do it while asleep in bed.

I have a feeling the the baby will eventually be a thumbsucker as well. She has her "binky bucket" which consists of about 40 binkies. She has one in her mouth and one in each hand while rubbing her face with the ones in her hand. I know it will be hard to lose the binkies, but if it's going to be too hard, I'm going to stick her thumb in and say go at it! There may be dental work in the future, but so what?

Of my brothers and sister, I was the only one to suck and I had the nicest teeth of all of us. I played trumpet from fourth grade to 12th and that was recommended by the music teacher to prevent buck teeth. Apparently, it worked. My Dad sucked his thumb until he went into the Army. I stopped for about a year when I was 12, but went back to it when my sister went into the Army. I also have a pillow that I have to have to go to sleep. It has had numerous covers and my Mom just recently helped me recover it yet again.

I see no reason to stop sucking my thumb for the sake of others. Aren't we given the peer pressure speech from the time we were little? It's not going to give me

a heart attack or cancer! And when I die, I would like to be buried lying on my right side with my pillow under my head and my right thumb in my mouth. Yes, it's embarrassing, but I can think of so many other things that are worse. Plus I've never seen or heard of anyone dying because of thumbsucking!

By anon290009 — On Sep 06, 2012

I'm 18 years old, and have just started college. I've sucked my thumb all my life, but my family all thinks I stopped around age 8. This was when I became a private thumb-sucker, and I never do it in public now. I used to slip up but now nobody knows.

I've found I do it even more in college, to the point where the second my roommate leaves the room, I put my thumb in my mouth. What I'm wondering is if anyone else has an association with sucking their thumb and touching a cold object? I know most people have this with blankets, but for me it is with hard, cold objects, and sucking my thumb isn't the same without it.

I just told my boyfriend tonight, the first person I've ever told, and it was hugely liberating!

By anon284408 — On Aug 09, 2012

I am 27 and have sucked my thumb my whole life. I guess I'm lucky I never had anyone try to stop me or had any problems with my thumb or teeth from it. I'm a mom of four and none of my kids do it and they don't say anything about me doing it.

I've been doing it for so long that it's become more than just a a habit. I also have my blanket (silky) that I have to have and my kids know it. I feel it does give off something to soothe and comfort me. I'm happy to know that I'm not the only one and don't plan on stopping. It's better than any other addiction out there for me.

By anon283207 — On Aug 02, 2012

I am not a thumb sucker, but a tongue sucker. I am a 22 year old female and I have been doing so for as long as I remember. Growing up, I never felt anything weird or wrong about it, as I did know quite a few kids who sucked either their thumbs, fingers, tongues or lips. For us, it was just something we did when we felt tired, hungry, sleepy or bored and we often only did it in the company of people we felt comfortable with. My parents never pressured me into giving up sucking my tongue, although they did and still do tease me about it every time they catch me doing it.

I love twisting things like my hair while sucking my tongue or twisting a piece of cloth and rubbing it on the bridge of my nose and inhaling the fragrance from the fabric (usually washed with my favorite laundry detergent – strange one, I know). I find the fragrances comforting and it doesn't have to be just laundry detergents. It could be familiar and comforting smells like my mum, dad or boyfriend's clothes. My absolute favorite is my boyfriend's T-shirt.

When I was younger though, I did have a cousin who hated the 'sucking noises' I made and always put hot sauce and bitter things in my mouth while I was sleeping. Overall, sucking my tongue has not affected me in any negative way. I have perfect teeth and no overbite whatsoever. I am a Masters degree holder about to embark on PhD and I am not childish in any way, even though society seems to suggest that people who haven't giving up the childhood habit are. I still get teased by my boyfriend every now and again but he finds it adorable and even always readily gets his T-shirt for me in bed.

Like others on here have pointed out, there are far worse habits to be worried about than a harmless one. For those who want to quit, do so because there is a problem associated with the habit, e.g., dental problems, and not because other people make you feel embarrassed about it. I don't suck in public only because I feel it's a very private thing to me and I let only the people I want to know, know about it. If anyone makes you feel embarrassed or makes a big deal about it, ask them if they'd rather you took up smoking or drug abuse. That usually shuts them up. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

By anon283065 — On Aug 02, 2012

This website is great. I'm a 23year old female who has been sucking my thumb as long as I can remember, and I love it. The comfort and sense of calmness it brings me is so hard to describe. It's never really crossed my mind until the last year or so. My immediate family knows I still suck my thumb and so does my partner, who thinks it's cute. He says I'll still be sucking it around our kids one day. Apparently I started sucking my thumb because my mum took my pacifier from me too early (I was her first kid).

There are times when I really wish my close friends knew, just so it's easier for me when I stay the night at their houses or watch TV. It's interesting all the techniques I have developed to keep myself from sucking my thumb, but I'm just tired now of trying. I suck it when watching TV, driving my car and while sleeping, and I definitely have no intention of stopping.

I guess coming to this site has made me see that I'm not alone! I wish there was some more research and statistics about it. I would love to know who else does it!

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences. It's nice to know I'm not alone.

By anon282271 — On Jul 28, 2012

I am curious if this habit leads to other addictions. I was a thumb sucker until I left for the military in 2006. So for 18 years I sucked my thumb to cope, sleep, calm and because it felt good to me. It was a hard habit to break, but I soon become heavily addicted to alcohol. I gave up one habit for another which lead me to rehab in late 2011.

I feel as though thumb sucking is the beginning to other habits that humans have a hard time breaking and coping with: addiction. My niece is a thumb sucker and I'm concerned for her future. I am curious if any doctor has researched this.

By anon252484 — On Mar 05, 2012

I looked up this 'condition' after discovering my girlfriend, 23 years old, is a thumb sucker. There's a lot of people out there who enjoy it, so who am I to argue? Everyone has their own private 'comfort blanket,' no matter what their age, and I find it quirky and endearing. I love everything about her and wouldn't change a thing.

If you suck your thumb, then fair play. It's not my thing but don't let anyone make you feel embarrassed about it or tell you it's wrong. Enjoy yourselves whatever your age.

By anon251437 — On Feb 29, 2012

I am a 40 year old woman. I have sucked my thumb my whole life. I have no health issues, no problems with my teeth or callouses on my thumb. It is definitely a self soothing gesture.

Because of the stigma attached, no one has ever known, and I only do it when I'm at home alone. As it has never caused health problems, I see no need to stop. I will be a lifelong thumbsucker. There are a lot worse habits to have; mine is free and not detrimental to me or anyone else. Ain't nobody's business but mine, is the way I see it.

By anon247436 — On Feb 13, 2012

I suck on my tongue, and have done so all my life. Is there anyone else out there who does this?

By anon244362 — On Feb 01, 2012

I am 25 and I'm deciding to give up my thumb. I sucked my left index finger from the beginning, then my stepmother made me stop by putting a sock over my hand when I was eight. I started sucking my thumb just to spite her and have been doing it ever since.

It's not been easy to give it up, but I truly don't want to do it anymore. The act of sucking my thumb isn't as embarrassing as my terrible teeth are. I have a horrible cross bite and my jaw is crooked and feels out of place with a noticeable discomfort on days when the weather makes my joints feel weird. Anyone looking to quit, ehow had a great article I found very helpful. And just as a tip, when the oral urge in your mouth is too much to resist, I start sucking my bottom lip or tongue or give in to my thumb for a minute at most to kick the need to a manageable want.

By anon234843 — On Dec 14, 2011

I am a 19-year-old female and have been sucking my thumb since I was 15. I started out of stress. I also suck my fingers and at 16, I started using a pacifier. I suck at bedtime, sometimes in the car and while watching TV, etc. I sometimes do it with my stuffed horse. I don't take the pacifier anywhere though.

I'm less embarrassed by it than I used to be. I used to suck in the car only after dark, but now I do it to some extent during the day. Does anyone else have a thumb-shaped mark on the roof of his/her mouth? Mine appeared a few months after I started so I guess that's what it's from. No dentist has ever mentioned it though. I wonder if they can tell.

By anon224622 — On Oct 23, 2011

I'm a 24 year old thumb sucker and this is the first time I've ever looked up anything on the subject, I think out of pure embarrassment. I hide it from everyone except my mom and my siblings. My brother is 19 and he still does it, too. I recently found out that my cousin, who is my age, is also a thumbsucker. She always does it around her boyfriend and her other friends and I was always so shocked when I saw that, because of how embarrassed and ashamed I've always been.

I was always so scared that someone would find out about it and think that I was this freak. For a while, I thought maybe it was because I have some kind of oral fixation. I smoke cigarettes, and I'm always biting my nails. But now I think it's just another way for me to deal with stress. Reading this website makes me feel so much better about this whole thing. I always thought that there was something wrong with me. I felt that I was carrying around this huge secret that would change everything if someone found out.

I'm starting to realize that everyone has something they use to deal with the crazy stuff going on in their lives, and this is mine.

By anon221834 — On Oct 13, 2011

I am 15 years old and I suck my thumb. Nobody knows at all, not even my mom sisters or brothers. I hide it because I think people are going to look at me like I'm crazy.

I usually do it before I fall asleep or when I'm bored, and I rub my earlobe.

By anon220932 — On Oct 09, 2011

I'm 15 and I recently stopped sucking my thumb, because of my retainer, I had stopped when I was eight but I went to sleep away camp, and I started again. I can't stop. When I feel bad, or want to cry, or I'm mad, it helps me. It takes me forever to fall asleep without sucking my thumb, and some of my friends know. Not a lot, but I'm happy I know I'm not alone.

Mine is way worse than a habit. I do it and I don't even notice. Mine is definitely an addiction.

By anon218749 — On Sep 30, 2011

I'm 25 and have sucked my left index finger my whole life. I like to stick the top half in my mouth and wrap my middle finger around my nose. I suffer from an overbite which is causing my back teeth to wear down and makes eating difficult. It also gave me a slight lisp. It has caused the roof of my mouth to be too narrow and now my teeth rest on my tongue. And my sucking finger is smaller than the rest.

I quit once when I was about nine, but after a few months I was back at it.

At first it helped me fall asleep, then I would do it whenever I was tired, reading, watching TV, etc. Then when I was in my teens I started twirling my hair at the same time. Now I really like the feeling of tight things around my fingers: hair, twist ties, band-aids. Then, I started sucking my finger while going to the bathroom. I know there is a germ risk, but I think I started doing it there for the privacy.

I feel a "chemical" release when I suck my finger, probably endorphins. My breathing eases, my nostrils open, allowing more oxygen, and I feel relaxed.

I've tried to quit for as long as I can remember. Nothing has worked. I really want to quit. My fiance has been very kind about it. He says it's cute but wants me to quit for my health. It is affecting my teeth and TMJ. But I don't want to quit for him. I want to do it for me.

I've realized I started doing it at work when I'm tired and alone in my office. I'm terrified someone will catch me.

I'm extremely embarrassed. After reading these posts, I'm comforted that I'm not alone, but I'm worried that I'll never quit.

My fiance thinks that if I really want to quit, I'll just do it. I try, but eventually I always cave in to the urge. What people don't really understand is that it is more than habitual. It is an addiction.

Thanks to everyone for being so brave and posting. Your posts have encouraged me to share my story with you as well. We are not alone.

By anon215422 — On Sep 18, 2011

I started tearing up reading all these entries. I'm not alone!

I'm 19 years old and I suck my thumb on a regular basis. It helps me sleep and deal with stress, and I've found that going to college has made it even more prevalent. I've never attempted to quit, since I worry my addictive personality will draw me towards other stress coping methods, such as drugs or alcohol. So far I have suffered no poor effects from ATS, minus getting braces in the ninth grade. While my family knows and has no problem with it, I worry about having a boyfriend/girlfriend who will be shocked to discover it.

By anon215344 — On Sep 18, 2011

I am so glad I found this site. I am 27 years old and I have sucked my thumb for as long as I can remember. I had a baby blanket but that soon fell apart and moved onto a pillow case to play with. Since then I moved onto a sheet and I have to play with it to suck my thumb. I can't without it. I have never had braces and my teeth aren't bad at all, which surprised my parents. I do have a small overbite but who doesn't?

I have hidden it since I was about 11. I stopped for a bit when I was 16, but soon found myself doing it once again. I have hidden it from my parents for fear of what they would think, as well as my past few relationships.

My ex boyfriend caught me doing it once when I was sleeping and he said it was cute, and my previous ex, I hid it from him completely. He had no idea. I guess it's just an embarrassment factor. It really comforts me to read all these posts, to feel like I'm not alone. It would mean the world to me to have my next boyfriend know, and be accepting about it without judgment.

I don't feel like I should hide it anymore. It's who I am and I shouldn't feel ashamed.

By anon210304 — On Aug 30, 2011

I'm a 26 year old who is also an ATS. I have been sucking my thumb since birth. My parents tried to make me quit, but it was always so comforting and my way of making myself feel OK. I also have my blanket I've had since a child, and always hold it up to my face when I suck my thumb. The very few who know that I do it still are my sister and my boyfriend. Now I just suck my thumb to help me cope with the stress in life.

By anon208064 — On Aug 21, 2011

I'm a 31 year old mother of three and I suck my thumb for reasons of comfort mainly. I guess it may be force of habit to some degree because I instinctively insert it when I'm overtired. I hide it from most people. I'm not even sure my mother, etc. are aware. I know my children are but they say nothing. I recently told my boyfriend about it, which was very hard for me. I've never had that connection with someone before where I honestly thought it would be a good idea to bring it up.

My ex hated it and made sure I knew this. But this time my thumb sucking was met with curiosity. He asked a few questions and said "Aww, why would you feel the need to hide that from me?" Really, there is no reason to and he made me realize this. I'm not hurting anyone and it relaxes me and makes me happy. I'm just so glad that I have been blessed with someone in my life who accepts me for me. Do I ever plan on stopping? Probably not, but only time will tell.

By anon206244 — On Aug 15, 2011

I do not smoke, drink, or do drugs, but I have been advised to get therapy by my primary care physician because I am a 32 year old thumb sucker and this is not normal.

Funny though, in my life of 32 years, I have lost two friends who smoked to cancer. I have lost three friends to drug overdoses from recreational drug use. And I have lost friends and family to alcoholism. Yet these individuals are considered normal by professionals and I am the one that needs therapy?

To be perfectly honest the advice from my doctor might have been influenced by Fox News' Dr. Manny who advises ATS people to get therapy to stop. To me this is misguided advice.

May I respectfully suggest there are other habits even worse than ATS? Let me know when thumb sucking becomes as hazardous as smoking, as deleterious as drinking, and as dangerous as drugs. Please provide the body count of adult thumb suckers who have 'succumbed to the thumb' and when this information comes out so will my thumb!

By anon201531 — On Jul 31, 2011

I'm a 36 year old female who still sucks her thumb. I've quit in the past only to start back up whenever I am stressed.

By anon200271 — On Jul 26, 2011

So I suck my thumb and I am 19 years old. I have been sucking my thumb since I was a baby and I know that there are few people in this world who suck their thumb. But I also need a piece of soft cloth to rub on my upper lips and cheeks and I thought I was the only one to do that. I am so glad to know that I am not the only one.

By anon198491 — On Jul 20, 2011

I'm fifteen years old and I have sucked my thumb since I was an infant. I can't ever suck my thumb unless I am also playing with the curls in my hair. I think it's a strange habit but I'm comforted by the fact that there are others.

I have tried to stop but I don't really have a reason to; my teeth are fine. So, I never really enforced my "decision to stop". I find it funny how people always ask me if it tastes like chocolate or something. I think I do it for comfort, usually when I'm going to sleep or when I'm thinking.

By anon196602 — On Jul 14, 2011

Holy crap! Thank god. I thought I was the only one! I'm 12 but stopped when I was 11. I used to suck my thumb and had a blanket. But I don't care about the braces i'm going to need. I care about the *bump& on my right thumb! It won't go away! I'm really embarrassed by it, and always try not to show it at all. I always tuck it into a fist, because when people do see it they're like, "Ew! what's that?!" and I reply with "I was born with it". I'm really getting sick and tired of it.

By anon194980 — On Jul 10, 2011

I'll be 20 in a couple weeks and I've sucked my thumb ever since I found it (that's how my parents put it). I don't see anything wrong with it, I've been picked on for worse things so it doesn't bother me if I get teased for it. All of my friends know about it and I tell people once I feel comfortable with them. The only person who's ever said anything to me about stopping was the school psychologist.

I've been doing it a lot more lately, though I think that's due to the stresses of getting older. I even do it sometimes while I'm alone in my car coming home from work to relieve tension. It's a lot better of a habit then smoking. One day I assume I'll grow out of it but until then I'll do it as needed. No sense in cutting out the one thing in life that helps me cope.

By anon187341 — On Jun 17, 2011

I am 22 years old and I suck my middle finger and forefinger on my left hand. I've tried for years to stop. My teeth can be straighter, and instead of braces and i want to know that if i stopped now, will my teeth move back in a little? i know it's a far stretch but worth a try.

I will try the bandaid thing and see how it goes. my mom used to break the leaf of an aloe plant and put the bitter juices on my finger. I might try it again. My older sister is 24 and still sucks her thumb. My little sister broke the habit when she was nine.

By anon185637 — On Jun 12, 2011

I still suck my thumb and I'm 15. While I suck my thumb I "silky" (rub two pieces of silky fabric together with my left hand) and I suck my right. My family has tried everything to stop it, like putting gross stuff on my thumb and band aides but it didn't work! I also have a weird callus thing on my thumb now, and I don't suck as often (only when I'm really stressed or upset). Personally, I don't see anything wrong with it. It makes me happy and got me through an emotionally and physically abusive childhood. I started sucking when I was an infant in the adoption home.

I am so happy i found this site. I feel like part of a group or something. It makes me happy to know there are others who understand the joy of sucking your thumb (or finger). Well I just wanted to express that. I don't know when I'll stop sucking my thumb but it will always be a part of me and I'm not ashamed of it anymore! Good luck fellow thumb suckers! Stop only when you want to not when someone else tells you! (my mom hates it).

My teeth were also messed up for a few years but now they're pretty straight (naturally). I guess I was lucky!

By anon181758 — On May 30, 2011

I'm 16 and i still suck my thumb. I got my braces off Nov 2010, and i stopped for like five or six months because i had my retainer in my mouth, and my thumb didn't fit in my mouth. But then i stopped wearing my retainer and i started sucking my thumb. It feels better, and i feel safer, and calm, but I hate it!

It hurts my teeth, my thumb has a weird bump on it, and like i pick a the skin, and it looks terrible! and I'm always embarrassed and stuff.

I'm going to start wearing my retainer 24/7 again, and a band aid to hide my thumb, because i hate the habit! Like all my family would always get mad at me, so i felt like it was wrong, and that is why i hate it.

By clarabellen — On May 10, 2011

I am a 25 year old female and I have been sucking my fingers for as long as I can remember. I suck on my middle and forefinger of my right hand while rubbing a satiny piece of cloth on my cheek.

As a child my parents constantly tried to get me to quit, yelling, "Fingers!" anytime they spotted me or painting this weird, nasty crap all over my fingers. Which I would then run to the bathroom and try to scrub off, sometimes just enduring the nasty taste to get my comforting habit back.

Now, I try to keep it a secret, but told my big sister recently that I still do it. I am about to tell my friends too, as I feel it will be quite freeing.

I usually only suck when I'm watching TV or trying to fall asleep. When going to bed I'll suck them for a few minutes but then pull them out so I can sleep. I don't sleep with them in my mouth, which is weird I think. Anywho, it's not caused any problems with my teeth, but I do have two small calluses on my fingers where my teeth rest during sucking.

It's nice to see that so many other people find comfort in this most basic of habits.

By anon171538 — On Apr 30, 2011

I was an adult thumbsucker. I did it throughout childhood and adolescence. I even continued throughout college. From about the age of six or seven, I started doing it in secret. Never at school and never at a friends’ houses. My only "safe havens" were my home and hiding in the backseat of my mom's car. My entire family knew, but that was it.

When I was 14, I "stopped". I went about two months without sucking and my parents jumped at that opportunity to get me braces. My teeth were in extremely bad shape. They had no insurance for braces and paid totally out of pocket, a huge expense for our family of six. But about two months in, I started again. I felt shame. I couldn't stop, I was wasting my parents’ money. Every month when I had an orthodontic appointment, I would stop for a few days before. I would double up on my rubber bands to force my teeth in place. I thought I was fooling everyone; at least I was trying. I was so embarrassed that I did not have the personal self-control to quit a habit most people quit when they are four years old.

I don't judge anyone who continues their habit of thumbsucking, but at age 22 I decided I wanted to stop. There wasn't really a reason why. But I thought I was out of college and needed to distance myself from perceived childhood habits. I decided to kick a pretty bad nail biting habit concurrently. Man was it hard, but I did have my mind set, and that was what gave me the strength to do it.

So for any adult thumbsuckers feeling like they really want to quit, here's how I did it. I trimmed my nail nice and neat (at least the best I could with my nail biting habit) and painted it clear. I never had painted nails (paint didn't last on my wet thumb) so there was a distinctly "different" feeling. Then I wrapped a single bandage around the base near my knuckle, but not enough to impede movement. I changed this band aid every day. In front of the tv, computer and at night in bed were my real triggers. For the first two to three weeks, I had to actually put my hand under my leg or body during these activities so I didn't unconsciously insert my thumb.

Many times during that first six months I would find myself placing my thumb in my mouth without knowing it. When I did this, I would make a mental note and shove my hand in my pocket or sit on it.

After about eight weeks, I stopped wearing the bandage. After some time, the unconscious urge ebbed. I am now 31 years old. I do not have the urge anymore.

But I believe it is true that one habit can be easily replaced by another. During the time I quit sucking, I started eating much more. I put on weight that required another bad and much more difficult habit to break and fix.

Some may say that thumbsucking doesn't hurt anyone, that the habit of overeating is worse. They are right, but in my opinion thumbsucking was also a bad habit and I am glad I had the personal fortitude to quit when I decided I wanted to. Looking back now it was just a sloppy disgusting thing. I had a wet thumb all the time, which of course, meant I was spreading my germs around when I touched stuff. Even if I "wiped it off", it was still spreading germs.

Since popping my thumb in my mouth was so ingrained and so uncontrollable just thinking about the massive amounts of germs I put into my body without a second thought is pretty darn nasty. I touched everything and all that was a mainline right into my mouth and body. Really, there are nasty things out there. Ugh. And last, this is what I am most regretful about is I wasted my parents’ money. That was a real sacrifice for them, and they made it for me. I did not value that as I should have. My thumb meant more at the time.

My teeth are still messed up, but definitely not as they were before. I have a permanent lower retainer in my mouth that keeps my lower teeth in line. My upper teeth are shifted but really it’s only noticeable to me. It’s obvious I do not have a "perfect" bite - but who does, right?

I have a 25 year old sister who continues to thumbsuck. I've never mentioned it to her or chastised her. My parents must have learned their lesson through me: no braces for her! Her decision to continue to suck is hers and I do not think any more or less or her because she does. I'm sure people felt the same way about me as an adult thumbsucker, but as I said, the decision to quit came from only within me. It is the only reason I was successful in quitting.

One last thing. When I was finally able to say to myself I had broken the habit I did feel great pride in myself. That was a 22 year old habit. And I did it!

Good luck to you all, thumbsucking or not.

By anon170024 — On Apr 24, 2011

I love and respect all the people who have posted on here. I am fifteen and I suck my thumb. I thought I was the only one or one of few with a serious problem, but to here what everyone says gives me comfort knowing I'm not alone. Thanks everyone.

By anon169097 — On Apr 19, 2011

To the one(s) who posted about joining the military, I am in the Army myself. I have sucked my thumb while rubbing a satin piece of cloth against my upper lip since I can remember. I have never stopped for any period of time. I used to be embarrassed about it. When I slept over at friends houses I wouldn't do it. I was afraid to be made fun of. My brother would tease me but eventually he stopped and just accepted it.

I am 23 and engaged to a wonderful man who I met while deployed to Iraq. I have no plan to quit, I enjoy it. I find it comforting. It is even nicer to know that I'm not alone. My parents used to put hot sauce on my thumb but as soon as the Tabasco wore off I would be right back at it. Over the years, the frequency has decreased and now I only do it while sometimes watching TV or sometimes while on my lap and when I go to sleep, but never in public. I haven't told my fiance yet but he has caught me a few times. I'm just not sure how to bring it up.

I have only told one of ex boyfriends before and he didn't care. My teeth as well are perfect and I have never had any problem with them either. I just want everyone to know that I am thankful for them speaking out and letting those who feel alone feel like a little bit of a weight has been lifted. And either way if you choose to quit or choose to continue remember you are not alone. -- SPC St.Pierre

By anon168176 — On Apr 15, 2011

I'm nearly 18. I started sucking the index and middle fingers of my left hand when I was given a rabbit at age 2. I've kept the rabbit (which I hope will not fall apart too soon) and have been sucking since then. I was able to cut back while asleep which was a relief when I achieved it.

But every now and again when I'm perhaps watching tv alone or on the laptop, the temptation is irresistible. I also managed to give up when I was about 10 for a few years and for an experiment searched for my rabbit to see if it still had the same effect on me. it did and that's all it took.

I'm not worried about it. No one knows, and no one needs to. I can live without it for weeks/months if I have to. It's just a comfort thing that I can return to whenever I please. I love this habit, and I'm not shedding it to fit in with social expectations. My teeth are fine, my happiness high. Long live finger/thumb sucking!

By anon166395 — On Apr 08, 2011

Well, after all I've read, it seems I am not alone. I'm over 50 and still do it. I've hidden it from both wives, but I have read stories that they can see, but don't say. I'm sure that after all these years of marriage, I've been "caught" out.

It's something that I can't stop, and probably don't want to. I enjoy it and find security in it. Like smoking, I can't give it up. All the best to all of you TS out there.

By anon165169 — On Apr 04, 2011

I am a 29 year old female ATS and am so happy that a lot of people are just as content with this habit as I am. Usually I don't suck my thumb that hard and only let it rest gently on the roof of my mouth. Sometimes if I have a nightmare or sleep very deeply, I tend to bite it, and it hurts the next day.

I only suck my right thumb and sometimes I rub my eyebrow with my right ring finger; it's so soothing! I only do it around my house when I am watching TV or going to sleep. It's never really interfered in any relationships I've had because most of the time, the boyfriend thought it was cute.

I do have a slight overbite which I've been told is cute too. Even though I don't do it in public, I am not that embarrassed anymore. Everyone who is close to me knows that I've done it my whole life and accepts it because its a part of me. I recently stayed at a girlfriend's house on her couch and in the morning she saw me sucking my thumb. She later told me I could not sleep over again if I was going to suck my thumb. Say no more. You either accept me and my thumb or you don't get to be my friend!

By anon165122 — On Apr 03, 2011

I'm also a 17-year-old thumb sucker. in two months I'll be 18 and i think I'm going to be carrying this addiction until then. i just can't stop.

for me, it's really just a sleeping aid. i found nothing wrong with it but then, i usually scratch my mosquito bites or pick my scabs whenever i suck my thumb, and due to the pressure in sucking, i found my teeth rather crooked to the front and the scars on my legs won't disappear. it's really annoying because since I'm a girl, i lost the pride of wearing short shorts and i find it irritating whenever i grin.

By anon165039 — On Apr 03, 2011

i am 26 and i am a petroleum engineer. i am also an ATS and i was sucking my thumb since my parents let me quit milk bottles. they've always told me to quit this habit but i don't know.

I do the sucking mostly at night and when i use my laptop or watching any interesting thing on tv.

My fiancee knows about this but she always told me that I need to quit this habit and should think about our children and what will they think about you.

I've tried many time to quit this but I don't know. after one minute i again start sucking my thumb.

i use to suck with any soft cloth. before reading on this site, i was thinking that on this planet only abnormal people suck their thumbs, but I was surprised after reading this site.

My teeth are in normal condition but my front teeth are sticking out a little. I worry about this but i don't know how or when i will quit this habit. pray for me and I will pray for you all.

By anon164485 — On Apr 01, 2011

I don't suck my thumb but my boyfriend does. He doesn't even realize that he is doing it until you tell him. It's like when I used to bite my nails. He doesn't want to do it, but hasn't been able to quit.

When we are together snuggled on the couch or lying in bed it seems to be most frequent. I don't say anything; I just reach over and hold his hand. That seems to comfort him too and he holds me close and relaxes. It has seemed to help. The sucking is less frequent and he even seems to catch himself when he doesn't think I'm looking.

But hey it's up to you to make the change. Others can only help and support your decision, and whatever you decide is what's important. I think it is a personal choice. Just like when I stopped chewing my nails.

By anon159054 — On Mar 09, 2011

This website has truly made me feel so much better about my "problem". For me I do it as a comforting thing. I don't need it to fall asleep, because I spend the night with my friends, and have no problems. I only suck my thumb while holding my baby blanket I've had forever.

I'm enlisting in the military and really want to break my habit. I think I can, and this website has given me the strength to try! Also: I had braces because of it, and my teeth are fine. If/when I'm finished I just pop in my retainer, good as new.

By anon159030 — On Mar 09, 2011

I'm fifteen and i still suck my thumb. I had braces on for two years and got perfect teeth, but when they came off, I didn't wear my retainer because it prevented me from sucking my thumb to my liking.

now it's a year and a half later and my teeth have flared up and one of my bottom teeth has overlapped another one.

it's tearing me apart inside. it's so embarrassing. i don't go to sleepovers because I'm scared someone will see me. i really want to solve this, and it's not something I'm proud of. help me!

By anon159003 — On Mar 09, 2011

I have sucked my thumb since I was an infant. I like the satin lining on blankets in between my fingers. I'm not proud but don't see anything wrong with this stress relief. I am over 50 years old. It only happens at night.

By anon158857 — On Mar 09, 2011

I'm a 21 year old female and a newlywed and I'm an ATS. I've been one since I was really young and recently my husband has requested that I stop. He doesn't really care but at the request of my family, he is encouraging the quitting. I don't see anything wrong with my sucking of the thumb. It calms me. I use it to deal with stress, and personally I would rather suck my thumb than to take medication. I always thought maybe I was just some kind of big baby at heart, but I know I feel that there is nothing really wrong with it.

Granted, I don't want to suck my thumb at the same time as my children but I don't want to give it up. I also have a blanket that I have had for 21 years and it's falling part while simultaneously breaking my heart. I mean I had this thing longer than my little sister has been alive. It's not fair that I have to give them both up. So I don't think I will. I'm happy there are others out there. Good luck everyone!

By anon157879 — On Mar 04, 2011

Help! I suck my thumb and want to quit. please help and give me some advice.

By anon157142 — On Mar 01, 2011

I'm a 35 year old female with three children aged 10 and younger. I am and have been a thumbsucker for as long as I can remember. I have thought about quitting because I have gotten comfortable with sucking in front of my kids.

I have been married for 13 years and my husband has caught me a few times but I try not to let him see because he makes fun of me. I don't have a blanket or piece of material. I pull on my ear lobe while I am sucking my thumb.

I had the three pronged device when I was younger but that did not work. Since finding this site it has put my mind at ease. I will continue sucking my thumb until I have that miracle to stop. I'm typing this while sucking my thumb and pulling on my ear! Wow.

By anon156390 — On Feb 27, 2011

I'm 15 and still suck my fingers (middle two on my left hand). Not thumbs, but similar. Only my family and two other people know. I was a little concerned about it being completely unnatural, but it's nice to know there are other people out there in similar situations.

By anon155621 — On Feb 24, 2011

I'm 24 years old, female, and doing perfectly well in my life. I'm confident in myself. I exercise, eat well, work hard, and have close friends, a loving family, and an amazing boyfriend. I am also an ATS.

My boyfriend and two close friends are the only people who know, and I probably wouldn't care to tell anyone else. Naturally, it's a bit of an awkward thing to bring up.

I remember the first person I ever told, my roommate. We had lived together for over a year, but were moving into a smaller apartment, and were going to share a room. I was concerned she'd see me in the night, and tell everyone all about it. Needless to say it took some time, and a few drinks, before I had the guts to tell her, and you know what? She had known all along.

Apparently she and my other friend caught me asleep on the couch one night, half a year prior, and figured it was what it was. They didn't care at all! Talk about feeling accepted.

I quit between the ages of 13 and 17, but sadly, dated a guy who was abusive, and during that time returned to my habit. I haven't been able to give it up since. I dated a few different guys after that relationship ended (thank goodness), and never dreamed of telling them.

I'm lucky that I was able to tell my current boyfriend. He doesn't enjoy the idea, but he's never said that he thinks it's strange, or wants me to stop. Occasionally he'll mock me, but I give him hell, and he realizes he's a fool for doing so. In the end, he loves me for me, and my sucking my thumb is stupid compared to everything else.

Let's face it, thumb sucking as an adult (or teen, hell, even pre-teen) isn't glorious. Nobody is cheering us on encouraging us to do it. It's a bad habit, just like biting your nails. It can even cause dental issues (I'm lucky to say I don't deal with those anymore, but did as a teenager. Braces are a wonder.). But, in the end, it's nothing to be ashamed of.

I wouldn't run down the hall, displaying how wondrous your thumb addiction is, but I don't think it's something to stress over. You're not smoking, you're not getting drunk every night, all you're doing is pretty much meditation.

People scream to deal with stress. I've seen people drink it away, smoke it away, talk it away, lie it away, run it away, act. So, ask yourself this, where's the real harm in sucking your thumb a few times a day?


So, don't worry so much about the 'norm'. You're not hurting anyone, heck, you're not even hurting yourself. I think it's great if somebody can find a way to overcome their habit or 'thumb sucking'. I'm not against that. Everyone has their own thing, and it's a lot more fun that way, huh? --Cas

By anon155067 — On Feb 22, 2011

I am a 35 year old professional, and know my thumbsucking is genetic. My mom sucked her thumb until age 18, and my nephew won't stop now. There is a photo from 1975, me at one day old and I assume I was a womb sucker.

It has only recently become an issue, since sleeping all night leaves me with muscle strain in my left shoulder, making the shoulders tense up and therefore leading to headaches. I have moved over to a binky at night, but switch it back and forth, as let's face it: nothing beats the thumb!

I am trying to research hypnotherapy, since I do it so unconsciously -- any time of day, anywhere (if I am alone). All boyfriends have found it cute, and never had issues with it. If your partner doesn't accept you for you, they are the wrong person. Just know, you are surely not alone. I suck my left thumb only, and use a scrap of silky piece of knotted and twirled satin material too - (I love the smell and tactile feel on my upper lip and nose).

Definitely more stress and sleep induced. Just wish I wouldn't get these headaches! (those started in my 30's). Oh, and I also wear a thumb ring to remind me I'm doing it, when my teeth click the metal). I just move it down when I really want to suck away. lol. Good luck everyone.

By anon154068 — On Feb 19, 2011

I'm an 18 year old young man and I am an ATS! I've been doing it even before birth. Both my parents used to suck their thumbs as well but they stopped at a young age. Even though my mom was kind of supportive, she, along with other family members tried everything to get me to stop. What can I say? I'm a resilient fella.

However, I only engage when I'm comfortable, i.e., around my family and at home. I don't even feel the urge to suck in public.

I have a slight overbite and I wished for my teeth to be perfect but I have girls tell me it's cute all the time so, I don't know.

I've noticed that along with the calmness and joy that comes with thumb sucking, it brings a different level of focus and allows me to analyze things a lot better. I usually do it with my pillow. I love rubbing my hands against the pillow and playing with the sponge (esp the hard sponge.

I stopped a few years ago for a few months and it was cool, but it only takes one taste to realize what you are giving up and to get hooked again! With that being said, I would like to control it a bit more in the area of sleep-aid because I am thinking of going into a military career and don't want to be doing it on the job. A bit, long, sorry. I don't think i can stop. I love being an ATS! Good luck to all of you. P.S. I think we need a forum, no?

By anon152744 — On Feb 15, 2011

I have been sucking my thumb since I was in the womb, I'm 18 now. When I was C-sectioned from my mom, I was also sucking my thumb. I was given a teddy bear with satin fabric ears as a kid, and the only time I sucked my thumb was when I was going to bed and I folded the satin ear on the bear and rubbed the satin together. It's weird, but it's the only way I'll do it.

At 15, I got rid of the bear and have had satin blankets and pillow cases since. It really helps me sleep. It's extremely calming. I'm writing this post right now at 4:51 am because I can't sleep, which is probably because I'm choosing not to suck my thumb. I also did it as a child to cope with stress, from I think 5-16 I had to deal with physical and verbal abuse, I'd go to my room, lie down and cry and suck my thumb, almost falling asleep immediately.

When I don't suck my thumb, I will either end up doing it in my sleep, or I sleep with my mouth open, which results in horrible tasting breath, even though I brush my teeth. I don't know if I'll ever stop.

By anon152131 — On Feb 12, 2011

I didn't know so many people sucked their thumbs! I'm 14 and do it too. i quit a long time a ago for about a year or two because i was embarrassed around my family. Then i started again one day to see if i still liked it. I did and I'm still doing it! lol. now nobody knows i do it but me, which is the way i want it.

I always need to smell my hair when i do it though! if i put my hair in a ponytail or I'm sick and can't smell through my nose it feels weird to suck my thumb. oh well, it's a better habit than smoking, my teeth are fine, and i play the oboe.

By anon149851 — On Feb 05, 2011

I'm 14 and i suck my thumb. everyone thinks its weird and tease me if I'm with a friend/sleepovers. my family however, doesn't care!

i only suck my thumb when I'm on the laptop, .watching t.v or trying to sleep. A girl on here said the thumb she sucks is double jointed, well the one i suck isn't but the one i don't is? I thought i was the only one sucking her thumb over the age of 8. so happy I'm not.

By anon149271 — On Feb 03, 2011

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this site. I am a successful, bright, intelligent, 36 year old woman who still sucks her thumb. I do it mostly when I am bored or anxious. My family embarrassed me publicly and privately for years to try to get me to quit and still do if they catch me.

I don't want to stop, nor am I going to stop. Kudos to everyone who has stood up for themselves and pushed passed the embarrassment from family members and friends. It's my life and I'll do with it what I want. I'm not hurting anyone.

By anon149194 — On Feb 03, 2011

I'm a 36 year old woman, happily married, with two teenage children. I have a bachelor's degree and am working on my Master's degree. My family all know that I suck my thumb and they couldn't care less. I do have a slight overbite but nothing serious.

I grew up in a very abusive, stressful house and I find the thumbsucking to be very relaxing. I do hide it from others. My parents have no idea, as they constantly made fun of me as a child for doing so.

In my opinion, if the thumbsucking doesn't hurt you don't worry about it. If people love you then they won't care. My husband knows and could care less.

Be encouraged. There are lots of other things to worry about in life.

By anon148932 — On Feb 02, 2011

I'm 31 years old and have sucked my thumb my entire life. When I was about 8 my parents made a deal that I could continue sucking as long as I never did it in public. I never sucked my thumb in front of anyone, including them, since then. When I was in college I had a roommate my first two years and I quit.

I quit for a few years, still sucking occasionally when I was stressed. Then I realized that i was doing it every night to fall asleep. I do it only to fall asleep and no one knows I do it. I'm not married and I have a fear if I ever get married I'll have to give it up or the man I marry will not understand.

Reading this site was so encouraging. I am not the only one! The only adverse affects I have found is that sometimes I'll bite my thumb, but that happens rarely -- only when I am really stressed out. I also rub my sheets with my hand. It's soothing. I think both the rubbing (which from what I've seen is common in ATS) and thumb sucking are both sensory things and calming. I feel so much better knowing I'm not the only one.

By anon148205 — On Jan 31, 2011

I am 18 and been thumbsucking since birth. I think there is a genetic relation to it because I know a handful of family members who sucked their thumbs until their late teens. I heard of a great uncle who went to the first world war when he was 21 and he did everything to stop the habit while he was in camp. He was successful, but I don't know what stopped the habit (he is dead now).

I only suck my thumb in front of my parents (even though they sometimes give me looks) and my best friend when we are having sleepovers.

By anon147792 — On Jan 30, 2011

I'm 23 and have sucked my thumb for as long as I can remember. I also still use the same stuffed rabbit I've had since birth to hold and rub on my nose.

I also rub my finger on my top lip when I don't have my rabbit to hand.

The only people I suck my thumb in front of is my mom, and boyfriend of two years. In the last few years I have become more comfortable with thumb sucking just being a part of who I am. Although I wish I could stop, it is not something that affects my daily life and it makes me happy.

By anon147635 — On Jan 30, 2011

I am a 34 year old female and am really struggling to quit. I have a 2 year old daughter who has begun imitating me. I really do not wish her to pick up this habit. I have tried all sorts of things to stop but have not been successful at this stage. I am so glad I am not the only one to have this issue.

By anon146175 — On Jan 25, 2011

42, still sucking - with a 'nappy' - a piece of towelling cloth that i snuggle up to my nose, held in my left hand while sucking left thumb as I need right hand to write with etc. person at no32 with pillowcase - you go pal! enjoy. it's free, not dangerous to our health and does not hurt anyone. i will always suck my thumb. when i die, bury me with my thumb in my mouth.

By anon144354 — On Jan 19, 2011

I'm 16 and suck my thumb as does my 18 year old sister. I think it must be genetic or something, but i have realized a lot more of the people i got to school with/friends suck their thumbs. You think i would have found out sooner.

I have always wanted to stop, but it's impossible, so i always have sympathy for smokers. Anyway i think I'm going to try and stop again, so wish me luck.

By anon143766 — On Jan 17, 2011

I am 17 year old young lady and I do suck my thumb. When I was younger, I would put both thumbs in my mouth, but now I only suck my right thumb. I remember my mom would put this terrible stuff on my thumb and it was deadly to taste, but I would suck it off. We even tried hot sauce and other bitter liquids, but it was so pointless.

My teeth are quite decent, and people say my smile is very nice, which makes me think that thumb sucking doesn't need to stop.

I have told my boyfriend that I suck my thumb, and he always makes comments on how my teeth are going to be messed up, and that he thinks it is somewhat childish.

I suck my thumb while I drive, doing homework, watching t.v., at a friend's house, on the phone, anywhere I feel comfortable to do it.

If it makes me happy, why stop? And until my thumb is mysteriously cut off, I won't, and anyone who does do it, don't stop unless it's for you and your own benefit.

By anon140568 — On Jan 07, 2011

I agree with everyone here. Just recently I started looking up ATS. Like previous posters, I have ultrasound pics of me in my mom's stomach sucking my thumb. I'm 30 and still do it. Like most, in private, and only with those I trust. I know there's an immature or "wrong" stigma to it. I don't care to quit.

As a kid I had many family members try and break my habit. I would wash the gross stuff off, or suck my thumb until the gross taste was off. As a late teen, I found out my father was a thumb sucker too. No idea if he still does, but my grandma said as a teen he still was. My niece is also a sucker.

I see no harm in it; it's not hurting anyone. I have a great job, great family, own my own home. I'm not some childish, silly girl. It's just the most relaxing and calming thing to me. Nothing compares, and for the record, the feature of mine I get the most of my comments on are my smile/teeth which are very nice and straight even after 30 years of thumb sucking and no braces! I wish this was more acceptable in society, there's no reason to feel such shame, but we do.

I am single, and when I've had sleepovers with boyfriends, I have never sucked my thumb, but it takes me a very long time to fall asleep without it. Sigh. guess that's the life of a closet sucker.

By anon140426 — On Jan 07, 2011

I am 33 and have been sucking my thumb all my life, except for a few years when I first met my wife. I also use a piece of yarn (as a substitution for my blanket, which I lost in second grade) to rub on my nose when I am sucking my thumb, and I find sucking unsatisfying without it.

Unlike most people who have commented, I don't suck my thumb at all when I am trying to sleep and I don't do it while I am asleep -- or at least I have never woken up with my thumb in my mouth. Other than that, I would pretty much do it all of the time, as long as I was by myself.

The reaction of my family to my thumb sucking was mixed: my mother and stepfather would pressure me to stop and would take away my string, so I started only doing it when I was by myself, although I got caught all the time, which made me very anxious and made me prefer being alone all the time. I had stress issues as a child, and I can't imagine how much would it would have been if I hadn't kept sucking my thumb.

My biological father never had an issue, and so I would do it around him when I visited on the weekends. As is now, I don't suck my thumb in front of anybody, including my wife -- I think she has caught me before, but has never said anything about it, although she knows I sucked my thumb way beyond childhood. Even if I were to tell her I still do, I don't know if I could do it around her without feeling very self-conscious, which defeats the point.

I don't really want to quit, but if I could change my habit somewhat, I would prefer to suck my left thumb rather than my right. I am right handed and it would be easier not to suck my right thumb, although I have tried the left and it felt too strange. Finding sites like this have made me feel better about my habit.

By anon138236 — On Dec 30, 2010

I'm 16 and still suck my thumb. My mom hates it and wishes that I would quit. Unlike most stories, my teeth are actually very straight. Obviously, the dentists can tell that I used to suck my thumb. People are actually jealous of my naturally straight teeth.

I'm pleased with my thumbsucking. I do it in private, around my mother, sister, father, and brother. Both my brother and sister suck their thumb/finger. My sister had to have braces because she was missing teeth. And my brother's teeth are turning out like hers.

I would like to quit, though, because I would be impossibly embarrassed to have to tell a spouse.

By anon138196 — On Dec 30, 2010

I am 29. I suck my thumb in private and around the family. Nothing has ever been able to substitute for it. However it has been very frustrating because I think it has affected my relationship status. Throughout the years I've only had only few girlfriends and the main reason behind that is that I am terrified of my partner finding out.

I keep thinking about how it would be like if I got married. I wish I could find someone who knows how it feels or at least understands it. I hope someday there will be an ATS dating site.

By anon137179 — On Dec 26, 2010

I'm a 17 year old ATS. Every time my mother had an ultra sound done while pregnant with me, i was sucking my thumb and i have done it since. I was given my fathers baby blanket when i was four years old and since have slept with my blankie as well. It seems as though holding my "blankie" and sucking my thumb are connected.

My parents tried several methods to break the habit to no avail. I would continue to suck my thumb through the seemingly unbearably bitter polish. I have a slight overbite but nothing even noticeable. I only suck my left thumb and sucking my right thumb feels completely uncomfortable and awkward.

I have noticed my left thumb is shorter and thinner than my right and i would assume that is due to thumb sucking as it is shaped to fit just right. I thumb suck quite a bit, as a sleep aid of course, due to stress, while i feel tired or sick, long car rides, and also while watching tv. My parents know about my habit and although they don't support it, they don't ban or look down upon me for it.

As far as maturity, at 17 years old i have been graduated from high school for two years and am now attending college with multiple scholarships. I am, of course, drug free and would rather support a thumb sucking habit than any other!

By anon136983 — On Dec 25, 2010

I'm 30 years old and still suck my thumb. I remember I stopped around age 12 to 16 but then I started back up again. I really never cared to stop. I do hide it from most, except my fiance who has no problem with it.

It is the most soothing thing I have. I have never done any drugs and am not a smoker so I think ATS is harmless.

I have a degree, and like many adults, endure the normal adult life. I don't believe I'm immature at all and am pretty happy. I do find it very hard to stop thumb sucking even for a day. So I just accept it in myself.

By anon136976 — On Dec 25, 2010

Adult thumb sucker here. Age 40. I've been doing it as long as I can remember. Interestingly, my parents said I did not do it as an infant. At any rate I do it with a teddy bear that I've had for 10 years. I agree it is calming and my wife doesn't have a problem with it. I am a working professional with a master's degree. Glad to know I am not alone.

By anon136513 — On Dec 22, 2010

I'm 40 and still put my thumb in my mouth. I say it this way because I don't actually suck my thumb, just put the pad of it on the roof of my mouth. Does everyone else do it this way or do people suck their thumbs as an infant does? I had braces for four years due to my overbite. I also have had the same pillow since I was a kid and the two seem to go together. Also, there is a "special" material pillow case that I have to have. I cannot find these pillow cases in stores, they are left over from the 70's. They are not expensive pillowcases and are 300 count cotton.

Nothing i read above sounds like this, but, I also lick the pillowcase, then put it on my eye or nose. I trust you all not to judge this bit of craziness.

My pillowcases are not pillowcases anymore, they are bits and pieces of fabric, and the supply is dwindling as they are 40 years old and threadbare. I'd love to know if anyone else does this. I read a few about people putting other materials on their faces -- a ribbon, a "silky" part of a blanket, so it sounds like this, except the licking part.

By anon136008 — On Dec 21, 2010

I'm 20. I've had every dentist put every device on my mouth to help me quit. But I wasn't ready yet. Not embarrassing at all any more.

By anon134099 — On Dec 13, 2010

I am 27 and still sucking my thumb. Part of me wants to stop because it is embarrassing, but the calm feeling I get just can't be beat. I find myself sucking more when I'm stressed, sick, tired or just watching TV. It is definitely much harder to go to sleep without it.

I've been up front about it with my husband (of five years) from the beginning. He doesn't really like it and would rather I stop, but doesn't really force the issue.

I have an older half sister (almost in her 40's) who still sucks hers as well except she uses a silky to rub her nose with. My mom tried many things when I was little to make me stop, but none of them worked. Thank goodness I have never had a problem with my teeth.

I don't expect anyone who has never had this problem to understand what it's like, but don't be too quick to judge. Understanding and time is what we need. Making us feel worse about something we're probably already embarrassed about will only make the sucking worse by causing stress. Good luck to those trying to quit!

By anon133463 — On Dec 10, 2010

I'm 24 and I suck my thumb and so does my boyfriend of the same age. I've ended up with quite bad teeth and as a child my orthodontist wouldn't let me get a brace until I stopped (which I never did) I've recently heard about invisible braces though so I'm trying to stop so that I can get my teeth straightened.

Also I sometimes do it without realizing at uni (I'm doing a PhD and work quite a lot by myself so I can thumbsuck without anyone seeing) and I want to kick that habit before I get a proper job.

My method at the moment is to put plasters (band aids) on my thumbs before I go to bed -- seems to be going quite well.

By anon133210 — On Dec 09, 2010

I'm 24 years old and have sucked my thumb my whole life. I find it to be very embarrassing and wish I could stop but like most people here, I can't seem to fall asleep without it.

Two years ago I became very desperate and saw a hypnotist about it. After my first session I found that it didn't work. I called the hypnotist again after a few days and saw her for another session. This time it worked but only for a couple months.

I'm now really hoping to find another solution on how to stop -- especially because I'm getting married in five months and really don't want my fiance to see me.

By anon133007 — On Dec 09, 2010

I'm 21 and have sucked my thumb since the day I was born. I only do it in private. There are a few people I do it in front of but I'm not ashamed of it. I equate it to biting your nails or smoking or something- it's just a habit I have. It's not harmful to my health and it relaxes me.

Maybe one day I'll stop but I don't care if I do. I had a son in August and I won't do it in front of him but I wouldn't care if he sucked his.

By anon131966 — On Dec 04, 2010

45 and still sucking! but in private only.

By anon130708 — On Nov 29, 2010

I've just turned 30 and I still suck my thumb. I use it as a sleep aid and find it very hard to sleep without it. It calms me and I do it more while watching TV. I now live with my boyfriend and he now knows I do it which is a bit embarrassing.

I have a slight overbite and have to wear a retainer as a child but this did not stop me doing it. If my mum see's me doing it she pulls my thumb out of my mouth and I'm 30!

It's so nice to find other people that share my habit and now i don't feel like I'm doing something wrong.

By anon129866 — On Nov 25, 2010

i suck my thumb and love it. i am 47 years old. i live in new zealand. i am doing it 24/7. go for it.

By anon129654 — On Nov 24, 2010

I am probably older than everyone here. I am a grandfather of near 60 and have sucked my thumb since I was born back in the early 1950s and I still do it today in private.

I don't do it front of anyone, including my wife, of 30 years because I know I look silly with my thumb in my mouth, but there is nothing that relaxes me more and is enjoyable too.

I realize in society thumb sucking is looked upon as childish and immature. Imagine sucking on something just to calm yourself down. Yet isn't that what smoking does for smokers? Yet smoking is socially acceptable for adults!

Life is funny that way. With one habit you die a slow and agonizing death for real and the other habit you just die of embarrassment.

I guess for me it is still thumbs up, Gramps!

By anon125115 — On Nov 08, 2010

I'm 16 and still suck my thumb and well, I'm trying to quit due to overnight opportunities that i seem to be missing because i don't want anyone to see me thumbsucking. I do it mainly while watching t.v, on my laptop and to get to sleep although long car rides also usually involve it. I will never do in public, but in front of family only and my best friend, if the situation is right, nor do I tell anyone.

There is a girl, maybe three years above and I really admire her for she just sits anywhere she wants (in school!) and sucks her thumb! Everywhere and anywhere, and no one is giving her any stick about it! Her teeth unlike mine are slightly messed up though. Well i start my journey into stopping! Wish me luck!

By anon124116 — On Nov 04, 2010

I am 19 and still suck my thumb. I have quit a few times when i was younger because my mom put clear nail polish on my thumb and tape around my thumb so i couldn't. I didn't even wear my top retainer because it interfered with my thumb sucking. I am embarrassed because i think that my boyfriend has seen it and it's just embarrassing.

My mom still knows i kind of do but she just seems disappointed. i try to trick myself in going to sleep without sucking my thumb but it is my sleep aid. Help!

By anon123420 — On Nov 01, 2010

I'll be 26 in January and still suck my thumb. I've tried to stop many times, but, like others have said, there's nothing that calms me and relaxes me quite like it. Falling asleep is a lot harder when not sucking my thumb.

I agree with almost everything in this article except the uncleanliness. I believe that thumb suckers wash their hands more frequently than anyone. I speak from experience.

The only thing that bothers me about my thumb sucking is that it does put stress on my teeth and, truthfully, it is embarrassing. Although my husband probably has seen me do it, I still try and hide it from him.

I too would like to join an online community. when one is found so let me know. I also am curious to know if adult thumb suckers suck both thumbs or just one. I only suck my left thumb and have only as long as I can remember. My right feels unnatural and not at all comforting. I am right handed so perhaps I chose my left hand when I was a child so that I could continue to do things with my other hand. Thoughts? Thanks!

By anon114844 — On Sep 30, 2010

I am a 22 (soon to be 23) year old thumb sucker. I never broke the habit from childhood to adulthood. Admittedly, I do have an overbite caused by the habit, but I have not been sick from the habit as I make sure I have washed my hands (after going to the bathroom, touching dirty surfaces, etc.).

I generally use it as a stress relief or sleep aid. I do find myself sucking my thumb when I am tired.

Thank you for this article. I do not feel alone now!

By anon109947 — On Sep 09, 2010

I am still 12 yrs old and i sill haven't broken the thumb sucking habit (i suck both thumbs). Please help me. I'm begging.

By anon105309 — On Aug 19, 2010

I'm 15 years old and still thumb sucking and I do it to calm me down and to sleep because if not, I'm up the whole night. I tried to stop because of my parents but I couldn't. I don't see why it's a problem, really. I don't do drugs or smoke or drink.

By anon105114 — On Aug 19, 2010

I am a 17 year old thumb sucker and like this page describes, I only suck my thumb when I am asleep or in private with only my parents and closest mates (at sleepovers).

I found that in my family that it's something that's a bit of a gene. I had uncles who sucked their thumbs until their mid to late teens and a great grandfather who said that he sucked his thumb until he was twenty-one. He quit when he joined the army in World War I. I don't know how he did it, though.

By anon102260 — On Aug 07, 2010

I'm 15 and still at it. My parents hate it. It has had little to no effect on my teeth. It's not something I do in public. I hardly even ever think about it. One weird thing though is that my sucking thumb is double jointed while my other is not. I'm not sure if these are related and I'm wondering if anyone else has something like this.

By anon101680 — On Aug 04, 2010

I have sucked my thumb on and off for years. It is my stress reliever. I do not do it in public and I have only done it in front of my husband when I was extremely stressed.

I do not drink, do drugs of any kind or smoke. This is my habit.

Oddly, I have been the healthiest child of my family. Perhaps it has something to do with how we chose to calm our body down.

Is there any sort of online group for adults?

By anon101159 — On Aug 02, 2010

I am a 24 year old thumb sucker. it calms my nerves and comforts me. I've been doing it since I was a baby.

By anon99860 — On Jul 27, 2010

I am 17 and i suck my thumb. My parents hate me and give me crap about all the time. i don't mean to. it's just something i do.

By anon88333 — On Jun 04, 2010

I'm 19 now and I've been sucking my fingers for as long as i can remember. I've given up a number of times but the habit never seems to go. I love my fingers very much although i can get very worried at times since i suck them for long hours without stopping.

By anon88244 — On Jun 03, 2010

Man alive, you can't love your husband too much if his harmless habit "inhibits your desire to engage in French kissing."

By anon83650 — On May 11, 2010

I'm a 27 year old thumb sucker. I do it for relaxation and because it's a habit. I find it do it more frequently when I'm tired and it helps me to fall asleep faster.

I don't get any more sick than anyone else around me, though I do wash my hands after bathroom breaks, before I go to bed, and I abstain when doing something where I know I've touched several dirty surfaces.

My wife hates that I do it and bites my thumb if she catches me. This has yet to hinder me from doing it, though. I realize there's a big stigma surrounding it, but I actually feels it's cleaner and quite a bit safer than other habits or addictions such as smoking, drug abuse, or alcoholism.

Finally, like the article said, being an adult thumb sucker does not reflect on one's intelligence or success. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree and have become very successful in my field of choice.

Now, if I could just find a message board group of ATS's, that would be amazing! I'm sure there's one out there, I just haven't discovered it yet.

By anon79472 — On Apr 22, 2010

I still suck my thumb at 17 and I see no problem with it, although it does feel a little weird now that my 12 year old sister has quit.

As much as my parents wish I would, I don't think I'll ever be able to quit; it's really the only source of comfort I have. I related to virtually everything this article talked about, and found it to be most intriguing as well as frightening in its accuracy.

By teehee94 — On Apr 09, 2010

I agree. I'm 15 years old and still suck my thumb. I've been doing it since before I was born! I just recently decided to look it up online. It seems I've uncovered quite the support group. It's funny, I didn't even know one existed. Thanks for sharing your stories! teehee:)

By anon67815 — On Feb 26, 2010

My husband is a thumb sucker and I find the habit very disgusting and unhealthy. Also, because he sucks his thumb regularly it inhibits my desire to engage in French kissing.

By anon55696 — On Dec 09, 2009

Oh man, this is pretty accurate. I use my thumb as a sleep aide, but have recently decided to quit (or at least try) - sleep ain't what it used to be!

By anon55216 — On Dec 05, 2009

it is a comfort and if it does no harm, who cares? I am not immature, just need some extra comfort when I'm stressed.

By anon46048 — On Sep 22, 2009

As an adult who occasionally sucks his thumb, I find this analysis -- the reasons for and the impacts of -- to be accurate in my situation and others I've known that indulge.

By anon35551 — On Jul 06, 2009

Very accurate description of adult thumb sucking dynamics. Thank you!!

An adult thumb sucker, one of many

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