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These people will have dates on a regular basis, and they may or may not be having sexual relations.This period of courtship is sometimes seen as a precursor to engagement.Today, the institution of dating continues to evolve at a rapid rate with new possibilities and choices opening up particularly through online dating.The word "dating" entered the American language during the Roaring Twenties.Dating as an institution is a relatively recent phenomenon which has mainly emerged in the last few centuries.From the standpoint of anthropology and sociology, dating is linked with other institutions such as marriage and the family which have also been changing rapidly and which have been subject to many forces, including advances in technology and medicine.The protocols and practices of dating, and the terms used to describe it, vary considerably from country to country and over time.
Historically, marriages in most societies were arranged by parents and older relatives with the goal not being love but legacy and "economic stability and political alliances", according to anthropologists.
From about 1700 a worldwide movement perhaps described as the "empowerment of the individual" took hold, leading towards greater emancipation of women and equality of individuals.
Men and women became more equal politically, financially, and socially in many nations.
Cars extended the range of dating as well as enabled back-seat sexual exploration.
In the mid-twentieth century, the advent of birth control as well as safer procedures for abortion changed the equation considerably, and there was less pressure to marry as a means for satisfying sexual urges.
Social rules regarding dating vary considerably according to variables such as country, social class, race, religion, age, sexual orientation and gender.