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Boys Treat Girls Like People: Thanks to Feminism

Contrary to stereotypes, teenage boys are more interested in love and relationships than just sex -- and it's a feminist success.
 
 
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A new study shows that most teenage boys view teenage girls as actual human beings, not simple sex toys:

The stereotype of the 16-year-old boy is that he has sex on the brain. But a fascinating new report suggests that boys are motivated more by love and a desire to form real relationships with the girls they date.

The report, published in this month’s Journal of Adolescence, paints a far different picture of teen boys than the stereotype of testosterone-fueled youth. Psychology researchers from the State University of New York at Oswego surveyed 105 10th-grade boys whose average age was about 16. The boys, most of whom said they were heterosexual, were given surveys asking them to select various reasons why they asked girls out, dated and pursued physical relationships. Most of the boys had dating experience, and about 40 percent were sexually active.

The boys were asked their reasons for dating and were allowed to mark more than one answer. Notably, being physically attracted to someone wasn’t the primary motivation they gave for dating. More than 80 percent of the boys noted “I really liked the person.'’ Physical attraction and wanting to get to know someone better were the second most popular answers.

Among the boys who had been sexually active, physical desire and wanting to know what sex feels like were among the top three reasons they pursued sex. However, the boys were equally likely to say they pursued sex because they loved their partner. Interestingly, only 14 percent said they sought sex because they wanted to lose their virginity, and 9 percent did so to fit in with friends.

Jill Filipovic is AlterNet's Reproductive Justice and Gender editor. More of her writing is available online at her blog, Feministe.

 
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