Inventor of Wet Stuff lube talks chemistry of gay pleasure

Gel Works founder Dr Paul Whyte invented Wet Stuff lube
Images: Gel Works/Supplied

Paul Whyte, the founder of Australian lubricant company Gel Works and the inventor of the popular range Wet Stuff, has devoted his life to lube.

In the late 70s, Gel Works’ managing director (above) was a biological chemistry student, researching and designing personal lubricants.

By the mid-80s, AIDS was here. Homophobia, fear, and stigma threatened efforts to curb HIV. Sociologists and activists alike knew to stop the spread, the focus needed to be on gay pleasure.

Paul, now a post-grad student, agreed that what the community needed was a “gay pleasure lube”.

“All the lubes at that point were copies of surgical lubes, perfect for doctors,” he said. “Digital exams of body orifices don’t last very long.”

But sex lasts longer. Oil-based lubes, which Paul had been making, destroyed latex condoms. The skilled chemist was determined to find a solution. Gel Works’ water-based lube, Wet Stuff, was born.

“It changed my life when I discovered the formulation,” he recalled.

“Wet Stuff was the first long-lasting gay pleasure lube. There was nothing else in the market for a couple of years. For gay men, it opened up possibilities in play that previously were simply impossible.”

But during his research, Paul suffered “outright hostility, from all quarters”. He was outed, and his funding was stripped. Vandals stole his machinery.

“All hell broke loose. Gel Works had to survive hostility and a lack of money, in very brutal days,” he said.

Forty years on, Wet Stuff lube is going strong

Today, over 40 years later, Paul Whyte and the team at Gel Works have brought more than 70 formulations to the market.

The current Wet Stuff range offers water-based, silicone-based and unique, creamy combination lubes, all produced in Australia and exported around the world.

Paul estimates he’s spent around 30,000 hours talking to people about lube. It takes mutual trust to ask people about their sex lives and hear their wants and needs in the products they use.

“Most of the marketing just wants to tell people what they want,” he said.

“Our product range is very much about the very wide diversity of experiences. We realised that timing is completely different for everyone.

“Some people’s idea of perfect sex is five to 10 minutes. Some people want an increasing intensification of pleasure. For those who want to keep at it for hours, the chemistry of their lube must be really different.

“I will always follow people where they want to go and make lubes for the love lives they want to have.”

Gel Works’ Wet Stuff lubricant range is available at an adult store near you.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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