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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.Accordingly, there was little need for a temporary trial period such as dating before a permanent community-recognized union was formed between a man and a woman.These species-particular behavior patterns provide a context for aspects of human reproduction, including dating.However, one particularity of the human species is that pair bonds are often formed without necessarily having the intention of reproduction.Dating may also involve two or more people who have already decided that they share romantic or sexual feelings toward each other.These people will have dates on a regular basis, and they may or may not be having sexual relations.Information about human sexuality grew, and with it an acceptance of all types of sexual orientations is becoming more common.

In the twentieth century, dating was sometimes seen as a precursor to marriage but it could also be considered as an end-in-itself, that is, an informal social activity akin to friendship.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.As humans societies have evolved from hunter-gatherers into civilized societies, there have been substantial changes in relations between men and women, with perhaps one of a few remaining biological constants being that both adult women and men must have sexual intercourse for human procreation to happen.It is a form of courtship, consisting of social activities done by the couple, either alone or with others.The protocols and practices of dating, and the terms used to describe it, vary considerably from country to country and over time.

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