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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.

Dating is a stage of romantic relationships in humans whereby two people meet socially with the aim of each assessing the other's suitability as a prospective partner in an intimate relationship.

It is a form of courtship, consisting of social activities done by the couple, either alone or with others.

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.

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.

Prior to that, courtship was a matter of family and community interest.

Starting around the time of the Civil War, courtship became a private matter for couples.

New types of relationships formed; it was possible for people to live together without marrying and without children.

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