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Louis Theroux: Selling Sex
Courtesy BBC Two

A new Louis Theroux documentary will explore the British sex industry

The cult journalist returns to the UK in his upcoming film, Selling Sex

Cult fave Louis Theroux is returning to the UK once again with his new documentary, Louis Theroux: Selling Sex, an exploration of the sex industry in Britain.

The hour-long film will see the journalist turn his attention to sex work, focusing on how technological developments have changed the industry. Meeting men and women, the documentary will follow those who sell sex from their own homes, or hotels, and who use social media and the internet to find – and vet – potential clients.

Theroux decided to focus on the technological side of sex work after first researching for the project, revealing in a statement: “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 reveiws of each other, and swap information.” The documentary will closely follow three women, exploring their work as sex workers, and the paths that led them there.

The advent of the internet has undoubtedly transformed the sex industry, with authors of Revolting Prostitutes Juno Mac and Molly Smith telling Dazed previously: “The internet affords (sex workers) the power of speech… People can now speak frankly and anonymously about the realities of their lives without fear of arrest, loss of children, eviction, or social rejection.” 

“I’m always drawn to stories that involve ethical wrinkles,” Theroux said, “issues that are deeply felt, but are also divisive, and in which good-hearted people can come to opposite conclusions. The debate around selling sex is exactly that kind of story.”

He continued: “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. On the other, it’s impossible to deny that for many 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.”

Selling Sex is not the first time Theroux has explored the topic of sex work, with the journalist previously investigating the porn industry, immersing himself in a brothel and uncovering sex trafficking in Texas. 

The upcoming film follows Theroux’s most recent documentary, Surviving America’s Most Hated Famiy, in which the filmmaker returned to the hateful Westboro Baptist Church to find out how life has changed for its members after the death of the church’s founder.

There’s no details yet on when Selling Sex will hit screens, but it has been confirmed it will air on BBC Two. As always with Louis – we can’t wait.