Jodie Marsh on Women Who Pay for Sex

Jodie Marsh

I know what you’re thinking. The coupling of Jodie Marsh with a niche sexual subject is a recipe for disaster. Depending on your point of view, it’s a pairing that will lead to a desperately embarrassing and anti-climactic wank at best, and a reason to consider an existential crisis at worst. I felt almost certain that I would finish watching this programme feeling personally victimised by the continuing existence of Jodie Marsh. But it didn’t happen.

So far as cheap documentaries about seedy sexual liaisons go, this is actually good. It’s sympathetic and it’s not salacious. Jodie Marsh is not your typical squirming cry-baby presenter usually chosen to host this type of programme. She’s sensitive, polite, non-judgemental, intelligent and a good interviewer. The show also deserves extra bonus points for not featuring Jodie typing ‘women what pay for sex’ into Google at any point or staring sadly into the distance, helplessly considering the moral implications of what other people choose to do with their bodies.

Jodie runs the gauntlet from the high end escort services catering to women, past the middle ground of the industry which features a frankly inexplicable incident with a penis pump and an excruciating display of nudity in a community hall, and culminating in the symbiotically exploitative and morally problematic sex tourism industry in Jamaica.

Of course, every one of these documentaries has to feature an ostentatious tit and this one is no exception. The idiot of the show is a Jamaican escort calling himself Dr Love; a singularly unsexy individual who speaks almost entirely in rhyme and at one point announces: “If everyone would have sex then no one would die.” Well, he is a doctor so I think it’s safe to take that at face value. Jodie is less convinced and tells him right to his face that conversation with him is “like some kind of surreal nightmare.”

If there’s a criticism to be made, it is that the striking similarity between the male and female sections of the sex industry is not drawn attention to. Much of the documentary focusses on the emotional connection between escort and client and this is painted as a matter of women being unable to differentiate between love and lust. In fact, every female escort worth her salt has her own harem of lovesick johns. This confusion is not so much borne of acute sexual difference but a natural consequence of the patter of the professional escort, especially when clients are paying for a boyfriend/girlfriend experience. More comparison might have been good but that is a minor criticism of a genuinely thoughtful and sensitive documentary. Featuring Jodie Marsh.

I know.

Jodie Marsh on Women Who Pay for Sex premières on March 18

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