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Teenage Boys Want Intimacy, Not Just Sex, Survey Finds
Date:7/24/2014

elationships.

Bell said that suggests an area where boys need help: learning how to break up.

"How do you break up 'well' and process the emotions you're feeling?" Bell said. Although this study didn't look at it, he said, it's a good bet that boys typically aren't "talking out" their feelings with friends, or even the adults in their lives.

Another expert agreed this is an area where teenaged boys could use some guidance.

"It is clear that most young men do want to have a healthy connection to young women. Where we go awry is in teaching them how to effectively do so," said Derrick Gordon, an assistant professor of psychology at Yale University who studies male adolescent development.

But the boys' claims of being burned also suggest that they expect girls not to hurt them or somehow "betray" them, Gordon pointed out.

He said young boys need to learn "what healthy relationship skills look like" -- and that includes having realistic expectations of their female partners and respecting their rights, as well as knowing how to emotionally deal with the end of a relationship.

Alan Hilfer, a psychologist who treats behavioral and emotional issues in teenagers, said he was surprised by the openness of the boys in this study.

It's "encouraging" that these young teens wanted emotional connection in their relationships with girls, said Hilfer, director of clinical psychology at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City.

"Unfortunately," he added, "that does seem to fade as boys grow older, when they take on more 'macho' attitudes."

According to Hilfer, parents can help by teaching their children the importance of respect in all relationships, including romantic ones. Maybe most important, he added, "parents need to show kids this through their own relationship, by treating each other with respect."

Bell said that while teenage boys are infamous for keeping feelings inside, in his experience they will sometim
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