By Stephen M. Silverman
October 10, 2002 10:00 AM

Tough luck, Justin Timberlake. Christina Aguilera on Thursday shot down rumors that she has dated Britney ‘s old flame, while telling reporters in London that she is officially on the hunt for a boyfriend.

“I just want a sweet boy,” said the star, 21, in the midst of promoting her new album “Stripped,” according to Reuters.

But what about her supposed fling with the ‘N Sync-heartthrob-turned-solo artist?

“Justin and I are just friends,” she insisted, adding that she does nevertheless expect to see him at some point during her stay in the British capital.

On the subject of “Stripped,” Aguilera says the album shows that she has grown as an artist since the day — just three years ago — when she exploded as a teen on the scene with “Genie in a Bottle.”

“You learn a lot in this business and you learn quickly,” said Aguilera, who also stated that she tries not be hurt by press criticism of her skimpy clothes and overstated makeup.

As she told reporters, “I like to be edgy, I like to be different. I’m a little bit of rebel.”

And if there were any question, viewers can get a glimpse of her newfound “edgy” image — not to mention plenty of flesh and plenty more gyrating — in the video for her first single, appropriately titled “Dirty.”