Thanks to a comment on my last post about boys and romance, I set out last week to find more information about males and romance, and found a number of interesting studies. There are many studies on adolescents focus on peer interactions and relationships, but less is known about boys dating experiences than is known about how girls experience relationships. Many professionals believe that although boys are more confident when starting romantic relationships, they are less emotionally involved, and in fact basically start relationships for sex, versus girls who want romance and love.
One 2006 study published by Giordano, Longmore & Manning in the the American Sociological Review suggests something quite different - including the fact that boys are not more confident, and in fact are as emotionally engaged as females. Another study published in the Journal of Adolescent Research explored how males construct intimacy, and a third study published in Gender Issues suggested men were more willing than females to sacrifice achievement goals for a romantic relationship.
This evidence seems to suggest that there may be more to males and relationships than we know and that there is a need for more updated research, as well as resources. Males need support in relationships and some coaching on developing emotional relationships, just like girls. We may be doing a great disservice to males if we do not expect the depth of emotions we expect from teen girls.
I wonder if these results reflect a shift away from the "me" focus and a shift toward "other" and attachment. I hear more and more people talking about feeling alienated from partners, family, neighbors, community, state, and even country - and it makes me think we are about to participate in a swing back toward relationships and "others." I guess we shall see!