Q: Is it normal to almost black out every time you have sex?
No, that's not normal. And you should go see a doctor. But sex probably isn't the root cause of your problem.
In the most likely scenario, the physical stress of sex may be revealing some underlying health condition. From a medical perspective, passing out happens when the blood flow to the brain is restricted—and you need that blood to be flowing during sex. When you're exerting yourself in the sack and your heart is racing, it's not just because you're excited. You're essentially putting your body through a cardio workout that's pushing your body's cardiovascular system beyond its resting state of comfort. If you have some existing condition, like dehydration or stress, that exertion might simply be too much for your body to handle. It could also be related to alcohol or drug use, or in rare cases, passing out might indicate a serious heart condition. You should take this problem very seriously.
If your doctor doesn't find a medical cause, you might want to speak with a different sort of doctor: a psychologist. Sometimes, in acute cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, a traumatic sexual memory can trigger physiological responses ranging from vaginismus to blackouts. It could be that certain sexual situations prompt your subconscious to shut down.
I strongly encourage you to see a doctor—and soon.
Q: I had a one-night stand with this guy a few months ago, and I haven't stopped thinking about it. He has since graduated college and gone off to a job in the "real world," and I know deep down that I'll never see him again. However, I just can't shake the feeling of wanting to be with him. It was the best one-night stand I've ever had and he treated me so well, which is probably why I'm hooked on him. Not only was it great sex, but I feel like we had a mutual enjoyment and he was also a really solid person. I either need to somehow figure out how to get over this, or try and get with him again(?!). I feel so stuck and also feel like he probably doesn't even remember me.
You had the best one-night stand of your life with someone who seems like a great guy and who treated you "so well." You can't stop thinking about him. Why wouldn't you follow up? What do you have to lose?
Let's imagine how this plays out if you tell him you'd like to see him again. What's the worst-case scenario? He rejects you or tells you he's still only interested in something casual. Either would sting—but you'd get over it. At least you'd know. It definitely seems preferable to wondering "what if?" If you reach out, you'll be able to move on more quickly, either with him or without. If you don't, you could lose a lot of time and energy thinking about something that wasn't much of anything.
Now, what's the best-case scenario? You text him and, next thing you know, you're in bed. Then you're in love. Then you win the lottery, buy an island in Bali, cure cancer together, and Jennifer Lawrence plays you in movie based on your epic, risk-taking romance. Your worst-case scenario isn't that bad, but your best-case scenario could be the stuff of pop song legend (love song or sex song, I can't say). Why not take a swing?
Risking rejection isn't easy, but in my experience, it's easier than living with regrets. And it's much easier to take a gamble when you remember that your worth isn't contingent on someone else's opinion. Whether this guy says yes or no, it doesn't change who you are. You're just as worthy of love, either way. If he's not into you, he's not into you. It's not any deeper than that—and it's his loss. So go for it.
Q: I have a coworker who I've spent so much time with—we flirt, go out for lunch, and he is real touchy, but he has a girlfriend. I already told him how I feel about him and he said we should have boundaries. But still nothing has changed—our conversations are sexual, and we seem to flirt more. I'm falling for him, but he hasn't admitted he likes me, and I don't know what to do. How can I straighten out this to actually define our relationship?
You're getting so many mixed signals, your head must be spinning. He tells you you need to have boundaries—and then he gets handsy and doubles down on the flirting. He says he's faithful but keeps talking about sex. So let me cut through the noise, because here's what's going on: He's either falling for you too—or he's just another narcissist enjoying the ego-stroking attention. Either way, you're showing him you're just OK with whatever he's willing to give. He knows you're waiting.
From his perspective, this can go on forever. He gets a loving girlfriend at home and a flirty work-wife on the job. He's psyched. But every week he stretches this out, you're setting yourself up to get hurt worse. He's risking nothing while you're risking a crush that might crush you.
For your sanity and self-protection, I'd suggest that you stop being so passive and take an active role by setting your own limits. Tell him, "We both know what's going on here. We talk about boundaries, then we talk about sex. We talk about your girlfriend, then you put your hands on me. And I keep flirting with you because I'm falling for you. But this can't go on." Then you tell him what you both know must happen, sooner or later: "Either we take a break and tone down the flirting, or you break up with your girlfriend and we go on an actual date." (Besides, his relationship is probably going to end sooner than later. Otherwise, he wouldn't be flirting with the girl at work.)
That said, remember that this guy isn't just stringing you along. He's showing you that he flirts and crosses boundaries when he's in a relationship. Maybe this is a one-time thing because your chemistry is so undeniable. Maybe not.
Bottom line: You deserve a guy who really wants to be with you.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.