By Joanna Cattanach, Editor
Wednesday, 16th September 2009
I got the opportunity to meet Frisco residents Dan Baritchi and Jennifer Hunt a few months ago during an interview for DFW.com. It was one of the funniest and raunchiest interviews I've had in a long time. Enjoy!
Sexperts Next Door
You might not expect the new frontier of the sex-advice business to be broadcasting from a living room in North Texas. Then again, Dan Baritchi and Jennifer Hunt, founders of the popular sex site AskDanandJennifer.com, are not your typical sexperts.
They’re not doctors, unlike a certain little old lady named Ruth, and they’re not porn stars. They don’t use creepy dolls and pull out a bottle of KY Jelly and a banana to simulate activity. (Hello, Sue Johanson.) Instead, they talk directly to the viewer — the curious couple, the embarrassed husband, the frustrated wife — over drinks and with a smile. Their language is as casual as it is frank.
And they’re making sex talk fun again, one Web user at a time through the web site and video like a recent video on oral sex. "OK guys, we’re talking today about how to get her to give you more oral sex," Jennifer begins, pressing against the shoulder of her co-host, Dan. "And I think it should be called how to make her want to give you more oral sex."
"Hey, that’s the best kind," Dan chimes in, gazing tenderly at Jennifer, his brightly patterned shirt an extension of his highly expressive personality.
Step One, according to our hosts: "Stop putting pressure on her to do it!" says Jennifer.
Step Two: "Lead by example," Dan continues. "You want oral sex on you," he gestures inward. "Oral sex on her," he adds.
(Thumb’s-up and a head nod from Jennifer on that one.)
But the biggest rule here: "Cleanliness, hygiene, guys," Jennifer says. "Maybe try shaving down there. Take a bath. You know, smell nice."
Wikipedia of Whoopee
Dan and Jennifer are not what you’d call Internet megastars. But AskDanandJennifer.com, a North Dallas-based Web site, gets 250,000 to 300,000 hits a month, (even more now) and their videos have gotten millions of plays on You Tube — enough for Dan and Jennifer to give up six-figure salaries and devote themselves to it full time.
Unlike most at-home businesses, however, they hardly regard it as a job.
"When you’re living your passion, it’s not work," says Dan, who worked in information security before starting their online business three years ago. Jennifer was a process consultant.
Their Web site offers articles with detailed advice about relationships and helpful hints like "Use plenty of lubricant when first trying anal sex." There are fun daily quizzes about everything from orgasms to G spots. And while some sections of the site might make you flinch, unleashing your inner Charlotte York — nobody marries the up-the-butt girl! — the overall effect is refreshingly matter-of-fact.
"We don’t do porn. We do sex ed," says Jennifer, who grew up in Weatherford and was raised Southern Baptist. "We talk, we don’t show."
Users can submit their own love and relationship questions. There is a confessions forum, where people are free to dish their dirtiest secrets or ask other users questions like, "Is it cheating if you don’t know/think you’re cheating?"
(Um, yes, harobike123. It is.)
So how did two former techies turn their love life into a viable business? The initial plan was that they would create an online adult dating service, something similar to Lavalife and Adultfriendfinder.com. The site launched five years ago but soon folded. "We didn’t know anything about Internet marketing," recalls Dan, a Romanian immigrant whose faint accent adds charm to the videos. They turned to a blog on dating and sex advice.
The idea for the Web site "just came to us," says Jennifer, laughing at the Freudian slip. (You get a lot of that when you’re interviewing them.)
A friend, Paul Carlson, loaned the couple a camera and taught them the basics of video production and editing. (Their skills have remarkably improved since adding a $300 light kit, Dan says.) And the couple has a You Tube channel. Now, "we make our living off our Web site," he says. Most of the revenue comes from advertising that is peppered on the site. They also have written two books that are to be published later this year, including Hot Spots: 1,001 Places to Have Sex in America.
They have no formal training in therapy or sexual health, but they more than make up for it with enthusiasm. These two really seem to enjoy sex. "We’re completely nonjudgmental," says Dan, over mojitos and margaritas at a local Mexican restaurant. He and Jennifer shared a smile and laugh, completely engrossed in each other — to the point where they seem to be on the verge of making out. In public no less!
Dan whispers to Jennifer, "You’re so hot." I avert my gaze and focus on the chips and salsa.
Reactions to this let-it-all-hang-out unique couple are often mixed. At 40, Jennifer is a bona fide cougar to Dan, who is 31. But they have the can’t-get-enough-of-each-other teenage pawing thing that, after seven years together, is refreshing and intimidating, especially to their friends.The two met seven years ago when they both worked in corporate IT, and the attraction was instant, Jennifer says. She says that, on meeting him, she just knew in the way that women sometimes just know things: He was it. They haven’t married, and they aren’t in a hurry. Yet their devotion to one another is clear to their friends.
"They’re fun-loving," says Carlson, 63, who’s known the couple on a professional and personal level for close to 10 years. They cope with the same family crap and life stuff that everyone else does, "but it just seems to be getting better and better for them." At the same time, though, some friends couldn’t handle their new business.
"We’re just your average upscale neighbor-next-door," insists Dan (albeit neighbors who get sex toys sent to them regularly in the mail.)
"When we have sex, we really enjoy it," he adds — though he won’t comment on how often, what kind, what position or where they enjoy it.
The couple, who live in the same Frisco apartment where they shoot the videos, share custody of Jennifer’s two daughters from a previous marriage. They have family nights, go to soccer games and Jennifer helps coach her daughter’s cheerleading team — the Cougars. They work their production schedule around the girls’ visits. Jennifer balances education with maturity and finds "age-appropriate answers" for the girls’ natural questions. "They pretend to know more than they do."
Jennifer says her mother was very open with her about sexuality.She wants to share those same lines of communication with her daughters, "They’re either going to love us or hate us for [our online careers]."But friends say that their open curiosity and ability to explore their own sexuality and discuss difficult issues has helped strengthen their relationship. "I really don’t know any other couples that communicate as effectively as they do," said Carlson. "There’s nothing off the table," with those two. "They’re very balanced, very straightforward," Carlson adds.
As for the future, Dan and Jennifer are determined to make their site a household brand, one bedroom at a time. Dan says the ultimate goal is to reach out and touch 10 million visitors a month. "When they think love and sex," he says "[we want people to] think Dan and Jennifer."