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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.
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.
Neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky constructed a reproductive spectrum with opposite poles being tournament species, in which males compete fiercely for reproductive privileges with females, and pair bond arrangements, in which a male and female will bond for life.
These species-particular behavior patterns provide a context for aspects of human reproduction, including dating.
Dating may also involve two or more people who have already decided that they share romantic or sexual feelings toward each other.
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.
Social rules regarding dating vary considerably according to variables such as country, social class, race, religion, age, sexual orientation and gender.
Behavior patterns are generally unwritten and constantly changing.
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.