When it first launched in 1997 as one of the first digital-only publications, Nerve raised eyebrows. It’s mission was simple and its moment was singular: create a smart sex magazine that both men and women can enjoy. It was provocative when provocation was still possible, when writing wasn’t yet content, when a site filled with literate smut still shocked people. The stories that make up Nerve’s legendary early years are filled with outrageous anecdotes that make the current media landscape feel a bit parched: wild parties leering on origies, editors streaking in Manhattan as a publicity stunt, even a short-lived late night HBO series. Apart from it’s antics, the site published heavyweight writers on brazen topics, everything from Erica Jong on Bill Clinton’s penis to Mary Gaitskill on the Shangri-Las. JT Leroy chose Nerve to manifest her literary hoax. The site boasted interviews with Camille Paglia and Norman Mailer, fiction by Jonathan Lethem and photos spreads by Helmut Newton. Cultural luminaries Emily Nussbaum and Lena Dunham were early contributors. Nerve has published 12 books to date and has headed a print magazine and a dating site. It publishes out of New York City.
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