Consider yourself lucky if you've never had to sacrifice your comfort to make ends meet. For most of us, we know all too well that desperate times call for desperate measures. I was reminded of this when u/peachyqueen45 asked folks, "What’s the most desperate thing you’ve ever done for money?" And honestly, I wasn't prepared:
1. "I participated in a food study where I couldn’t eat for a day before, arrived at the lab very early in the morning, had a tube put down my throat, and lay there for six hours as they pumped liquids into and out of my stomach. After the first two hours, I begged them to at least turn on the TV, but they would only let me watch PBS so I couldn’t accidentally see any commercials about food. It wasn’t fun, but the pay was decent, and they served me a steak dinner afterward."
2. "I made $50 when I was randomly approached in a bar to be on a foot fetish site. There was no nudity or actual sex involved. Just a lot of pictures of women's feet on my face, chest, and so on. It was way more uncomfortable than it should have been."
3. "I signed up for a three-week drug study in 1991. We took a dose of some antibiotic every day and had blood drawn throughout the day, every day. The pay was $2000, which is valued at over $4,300 today. But being in the drug testing facility for three weeks was...interesting."
4. "I used to pose naked for art classes while I was an undergrad. The pay was pretty good, about five times the minimum wage. One grad student who was a good artist and kind of odd asked if I would do a private session of a few hours. I agreed, since I was desperate for money — I figured I had just been hired for sex. I was a bit conflicted, but then just figured, 'Why not?' I showed up cleaned, prepped, and dressed to look good. It turned out that the artist really did want me to pose. They were polite the whole time, though very specific on poses. It was actually a bit challenging. They were so intense, and the talent and effort was kind of a turn-on. By the end, I was half-hoping it would turn into sex. We went over the time, but the artist was grateful and paid extra. I learned then I would be willing to have sex for money in some situations."
5. "I drew a furry NSFW artwork of an original character. I'm not even a furry artist, but I got $120 for drawing a blue double-shark dick in one afternoon, so whatever. I was able to afford Christmas presents for my family after that."
"I am not even involved in that market. Someone just messaged me on reddit, and that was a one-time thing."
6. "I participated in some market research for a new beer. Getting paid $150 to drink beer for an hour sounded great at the time. It was a bunch of different beers in small plastic cups, all of which started out tasting like the strained liquid from the devil’s underpants. It progressively got worse. They kept bringing more out until one guy finally cracked, swiped all his beers off the table, and stormed out yelling, ‘I wouldn’t even give this crap to my dog!’"
7. "I participated in a sleep study where they had us wired up to electrodes to monitor our responses at periodic intervals across three days without sleep. It was brutal. I learned I cannot go without sleep for two days in a row."
8. "I once put grapes up my butt, plopped them out into a mason jar, canned them, and then overnight shipped it to the stranger that requested them from me through direct message. I got $3,000."
9. "I was newly broke and had a date in a few hours. She wanted to go to Red Lobster. I went through my car, parents’ cars, sisters’ cars, couches, really everywhere looking for coins. I had a partially used gift card for somewhere as well. I took it all to the grocery store, cashed in the change, and sold the gift card for practically nothing. I had just enough to cover myself. If she expected me to get the bill, I was finished. I’d have to own up to having like $31.25 to my name. Luckily, she didn’t. We split the bill. And now we’re married."
10. "Once when I was unemployed, I bought a bunch of king-size candy at Costco, and went door to door selling it saying it was a fundraiser for a church youth group. I made a good profit, and was able to pay rent that month."
"A friend of mine used to buy water bottles in bulk and then sell them at anime conventions to cover his entry."
11. "As a kid, I did these dumb surveys that weren't worth the time they took. They paid us in these dumb token things that were worth pennies. I had a couple hundred, but it wasn't worth anything. Yeah...that was Bitcoin. I got rid of that computer and never found the old emails again. I could have been a millionaire right now."
12. "I 'acted' in some OnlyFans videos with a woman I had a friends-with-benefits thing with. I was drowning in debt and my unemployment insurance had run out, so I agreed. She paid me and we made a video once a week for about five months. It helped me get out of debt and pay my bills until I found a job. The biggest thing I sacrificed was my self-esteem — a few weeks in, she admitted that she asked me because I’m 'kinda ugly' and 'a little fat,' and that made me relatable to her fans. It really made me feel disgusting, and absolutely destroyed any sort of self-worth I had."
13. "I sold my used underwear to a complete stranger from the internet."
14. "I made porn with my first husband and he sold the photos and videos. They are somewhere in the bowels of the internet, and I have no idea where. No face though."
15. "In university, I signed up as a lab rat for various studies. One involved staying awake for 30+ hours in a room with no sunlight, communication, or anything else that might give me a sense of time. Among blood and urine tests as well as being hooked up to various probes and monitoring devices, I also had to keep a thermometer in my ass the entire time."
What's the most memorable thing you did for money? There's no shame in getting by when you need to, so share your story in the comments.
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.