4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker

Call me nostalgic, but I can remember a time when me and my crew would all hang out at somebody's house, kick back with a nice juice box, throw on some Nick Jr., and pop our thumbs into our mouths for a nice, relaxing afternoon. Fast-forward about 25 years and now, all of a sudden, sucking your thumb isn't cool anymore? In fact, it's considered completely unsophisticated for an adult man pushing 30 to unwind after a long day with a nice thumb sucking. Sheesh!. Well, I'm not going to stand idly by while all of you dry-thumbs look down your noses at me and the rest of the adult thumb sucking community.

Hi, my name is Erik Germ, and I have been a thumb sucker for 29 years.

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker
Erik Germ


I'm here to crush the stigma, and not only educate your ass on why thumb sucking is okay, but also show you that there's not a goddamn thing wrong with adults who do it. Let's look at the facts:

Adults Do It, But Don't Like To Talk About It

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker
deeepblue/iStock/Getty Images

If you can hold off on the urge to call me a big, fat, thumb sucking diaper baby for just one minute, I'd like to explain myself a bit. First of all, I'm not a baby, you dick. I am a grown man with a wife, a house, a job, and a couple of dogs. I pay my taxes, I eat red meat, and I work out if there is nothing good on TV. Babies can't do any of those things.

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker
Erik Germ

But I still look fucking stylish while doing it.

So already I've slapped the "this guy is a baby" theory right out of the air. Now, even though I haven't been a baby for a quarter of a century, that hasn't stopped me from sucking my thumb the entire goddamn time. But even I'll admit that it's weird to see a grown-up with his or her thumb in their mouth, because not too many grown-ups are comfortable with being compared to infants. I really can't argue with that, especially since I just spent the last paragraph talking some major shit on babies. But I'll still find myself wondering "what gives?" Why was I left behind when most everybody else I know kicked the habit before turning six? It turns out that research on that very subject is hard to come by from any reputable source. For instance, WebMD says that one in five children will suck their thumb or finger past age five, right around the time that teasing from your peers turns from playful to "Holy shit, kids can be fucking assholes."

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker
Digital Vision/DigitalVision/Getty Images

It's okay. They have testicles that are ripe for a kicking.

Teasing alone is enough to deter anyone from wanting to admit they're a thumb sucker. So if you are afraid to admit it as a child, odds are you won't be thrilled about owning up to it as an adult, either.

In addition to WebMD, there's also a website dedicated to thumb sucking adults, with some facts and a FAQ section. Though it's citing statistics that I can't seem to confirm, and it kind of looks like a serial murderer's manifesto. There's even a subreddit, because throw some random words together and guess what? There's a subreddit for it.

But none of these sites seem to give an official reason for it, other than "It's calming and helps you relax." While true, that doesn't help me understand myself any better. So that leads me to two conclusions: Either adults are afraid to admit to they are thumb suckers, or I'm one of the only people who does it. For the sake of this article, I had to do some more digging.

Here's what I was able to find.

It's Usually Part Of A Bigger Issue

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker
Image Source White/Image Source/Getty Images

Thumb sucking typically starts in the womb, shortly after that weird tadpole version of yourself grows some arms and sprouts all those delicious fingers.

Wikimedia Commons

"Mmm. Tastes like my own feces."

Sigmund Freud said that shortly after birth, infants go through an "oral stage" until they're about 21 months old. This might be why every baby you've ever met has tried to put anything they're handed into their mouths, often with adorable results. Teething only exacerbates that urge, especially if you're trying to keep your child from gnawing on dangerous stuff like electric cords or broken glass or, you know, whatever you have laying around your house. Babies, one of which I've already established I am not, associate that sucking/chewing/gnawing reflex with comfort and security. So why is it that some infants find other ways to get that comfort and never go back to hitting the thumb? It looks like it could be due in part to something called Stereotypic Movement Disorder.

SMD refers to a condition wherein regular people like you and I take comfort in repetitive actions like nail-biting, hair-pulling, head-banging, and thumb sucking. I know doctors love it when people self-diagnose, but holy shit! I do all of those things.

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker
Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Getty Images

I have the Internet. I can diagnose myself, thank you very much.

Now it appears we're getting somewhere. A lot of sufferers of SMD will hurt themselves with their nervous tics -- which is luckily something I don't do. In fact, now that I think about it, thumb sucking doesn't hurt anybody. Not one goddamn person. So why should an adult have to hide it? Maybe all they need to come out of their shell of embarrassment is a leader. Someone who can make thumb sucking cool. Fortunately, there are plenty to choose from.

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker

Some Pretty Cool People Are Thumb Suckers

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker
People Magazine

Life before the Internet was hard for a guy like me. The only people I talked to were ones I didn't want knowing my deep, dark secret. I didn't even know if there were others out there like me who had to surreptitiously grease their digits. And to make matters worse, the only time a thumb sucker was portrayed in media, it was as the butt of a joke, like in that scene from Dumb And Dumber.

New Line Cinema

Don't make fun of me, Carrey. You're going to be weird in the future.

The Internet changed all that. It allowed me to hunt down some high-profile men and women who share my penchant for thumbin' it up. So as a member and supporter of the thumb sucker community, I have a few ideas as to some good representation we can rally. Maybe a celebrity endorsement is just what we need to give this whole adult thumb sucking awareness cause a shot in the arm.

The obvious choice would be America's sweetheart, Jennifer Lawrence. She's been seen not only walking around with her thumb in her mouth, but also carrying an adorable teddy bear.

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker
Splash News

While she seems like an ideal choice, I feel like the world is very close to getting sick of her, and that can only hurt what I'm trying to do here. No, we need someone with some real street cred. Someone who portrays thumb suckers as a group of hard-ass motherfuckers. You know I'm talking about the real OG, Susan Boyle.

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker
Splash News

Definitely a solid choice. But I worry she's a bit too hard for such a gentle cause, so she's a pass as well. What about something like a dwarf from Middle Earth?

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker
New Line Cinema

James Nesbitt, who plays Bofur in the Hobbit movies, admitted that he still polishes his thumb on the reg. And he has that rad hammer thing there, which is pretty badass. Speaking of badass, we also have Rihanna on our side.

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker

I tell you, the Internet is a great place. If only I had access to all this information when I was growing up. It wouldn't have taken me this long to be vocal about it. It's getting really hard to pick the right person to make thumb sucking look good. I think I heard that Victoria Beckham was a thumb sucker, even incorporating it into some of her photo shoots. But does anyone care about a former Spice Girl? I'm not sure she really has anything decent to contribute to the cause.

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker

Wait, I changed my mind. Posh Spice looks good. Let's make it Posh Spice.

It Feels So Good, You Guys

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker
DAJ/amana images/Getty Images

Look, I've done a lot of assuming in this article. I assumed that the reason I can't find a lot of info on adult thumb suckers is because they're all currently hiding in their homes under blankets, furiously sucking the skin off of their thumb bones. I assumed that, after I admitted to being a thumb sucker, the world was going to consider me a giant baby-man and run me off the Internet for it. And because of the lack of info, I assume that thumb sucking is just a nervous tic. But at the end of the day, none of that is going to stop me from doing what I do.

Thumb sucking is essentially harmless as far as vices go. It's better for you than smoking, and a hell of a lot cheaper, too. I think the worst thing I've found that can happen to you is it has the potential to fuck up your teeth while they're growing.

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker

Which makes Oreos a lot easier to eat.

I've never had to wear braces, though, so either I dodged the bullet, or crooked teeth only affect a small percentage of thumb enthusiasts. I've been to doctors, therapists, and dentists, and none of them seemed to give a shit. So why should anyone else? Plus, thumb sucking is adorable. Have you ever seen a monkey sucking its thumb? Or how about an elephant sucking on its trunk?

4 Surprising Realities Of Life As An Adult Thumb Sucker
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

That shit is straight-up heartwarming. And while I don't like to toot my own thumb, I think it looks just as charming when I do it, little pink outfit and all.

Okay, I think I've done a pretty commendable job at convincing you of just how cool thumb sucking can be. Also, I've typed too many combinations of "oral" and "baby" into Google, so I really should get off the Internet for a bit.

You know what doesn't suck? Following Erik Germ on Twitter.

Erik makes it seem like maybe we all should be sucking our thumbs. Some people may even get an orgasm from it, as seen in The 5 Craziest Things That Give People An Orgasm. Likewise, you might tend to suck your thumb in your sleep. Some people have a similar issue, except they put their thumbs up their ass. We're not joking. See if you have a case of ass-hand in 4 Disturbing Sleep Conditions That No One Talks About, and then please go wash your thumb. Maybe a few times.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see how YouTube celebrates a bunch of future thumb suckers in Pregnancy Announcements On YouTube, and watch other videos you won't see on the site!

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