Adored curious creature Louis Theroux has another documentary on the way. It’s called Selling Sex, and as you can probably guess from that name, it’s all about transactional sex.
In Selling Sex, based in the UK, Theroux meets with women who legally provide sexual services to either make a living or add to their income. It’s completely legal in the UK, as long as it doesn’t involve any sort of exploitation, coercion, or public nuisance.
These women work out of their own homes or hotels, using social media to share pics, make bookings, and vet potential clients. As these women will share, social media makes these exchanges more accessible and can be safer than the illegal alternatives.
Theroux said he has always been drawn to stories with “ethical wrinkles – issues that are deeply felt but are also divisive, and which good-hearted people can come to opposite conclusions”, and Theroux believes Selling Sex is one of them.
“On the one hand, none of the activities taking place here are illegal; everything is above board and both parties have mutually agreed on the arrangement,” he explained.
“On the other, it’s impossible to deny that for many – maybe most – people, there is something unsavoury in the idea of accepting money for an act that is so intimate. They have a problem with those who do it and see it as a symptom of a society that is controlled and dominated by men.”
For exactly this reason – because it is so controversial – I thought it would be revealing to speak to the women involved in the business of selling sex. Once we started looking we discovered that the sexual economy seems to have been turbo-charged by the prevalence of new websites and social media that allow users to meet up more easily, to write reviews of each other, and swap information.
The documentary will include an intimate look at three different women, and the paths that led them to the sex economy.
“I found it revealing and thought-provoking to make – I hope viewers have the same experience,” the legend concluded. “Mainly, I’d like to thank the women who so openly and honestly let me in to their lives and helped broaden my understanding of their lives and experiences.”
There’s yet to be an official release date for the BBC Two doco but we’ll keep you updated.Image: Getty Images / Santiago Felipe