As I walk into Scott Fraser’s office just southwest of Mandalay Bay, he’s pecking away at his computer with a grin on his face. “I’m working on a piece called, ‘Are you ready to lube your path to empowerment?’ Genius!” he says, as only a guy with masturbation gel tubes on his desk could.
Fraser is the president and CEO of Empowered Products, the independent company behind Gun Oil and Pink personal lubricant product lines (and the solution that cleans them off sex toys). Anyone doubting the reverence gay men have for Gun Oil need only query them about their favorite lube—they will almost certainly answer with one of its seven varieties. Women love it, too, with Pink selling more than its big brother.
Empowered Products migrated here from Southern California, Fraser moving the company to more business-friendly Las Vegas in 2004. It eventually expanded to its current pair of buildings, which can be toured by anyone who inquires. Employees happily engage the customer base by encouraging correspondence and assembling sample kits, which are sent to online solicitors—from adult-film companies to straight-identifying masturbation enthusiast groups—dropped off at LGBT and HIV advocacy centers and handed to passersby at LGBT festivals and Pride parades. In fact, Empowered has distributed nearly 4.5 million “happy packs” in 10 years, letting consumers pick their favorites.
“They’re our ambassadors!” Fraser jokes, and before you can ask, he’ll share his own preference—a silicone/water hybrid called Force Recon.
Always pun-ready, Fraser is not your typical CEO. He’s a salesman with a sexual straightforwardness gay men relate to and straight women appreciate, lending credibility to the hilarious genesis of Gun Oil.
Before he gave up the stock market for the sexual wellness one, Fraser was a platoon commander in the Marine Corps. While stationed in vice-free Saudi Arabia, he and his men created a “whack shack” where they could privately release some tension—with the aid of CLP liquid, normally used to clean their weapons. An idea was born, and in 2001, Fraser and a team of scientists came up with a better version with hypoallergenic, user-friendly ingredients—as Empowered’s VP of Sales & Marketing Mark Olson puts it, “[Our products are] as safe in your mouth as they are on your body—because if you’re doing it right, they’re likely to end up there.”
Fraser chose the Empowered name to emphasize the communication between lovers he hopes his products foster, boost the confidence of users and champion sexual exploration and health. “I know masturbation improves morale; I know this from actually being out there in the field,” Fraser says. “I don’t think of this as lube; I think it’s a path to happiness.”