The UK’s NHS is a big beast of a health service, although I doubt its founders considered it would one day be a major resource for attacking low self-esteem in the good citizens of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Yet, extraordinarily, that’s where I found myself not long after my humiliating and drawn out failure as a writer: in counselling sessions in, of all places, a London sexual health clinic.

In their wisdom, some of the more innovative NHS Trusts had realized that many sexual health problems arise from behaviours stemming from self-esteem issues, especially amongst the young. They reasoned that, while those with high self-esteem are having stable relationships with clear long-term goals in mind (even if ...

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