But what's the harm? Isn't this just entertainment? Well, let's see. Corporations spend billions of dollars every year on advertising. Why? Because they know that media affects behavior. Today's youth are the most marketed-to generation in the history of the world. Our kids are spending an estimated $200 billion a year on trinkets and toys and clothes and media. Marketing executives at MTV and other youth oriented media do not brag about how they know what kids want, but about how they have learned to manipulate the teenage mind. They are selling a "lifestyle" to our children that robs them of their innocence and their best futures, and capitalizes on the natural raging hormones that mark the teen years. Instead of helping channel that energy into worthwhile activities, the media fuels the flames in an effort to keep them tuned into the programming. These marketers are teaching our young girls that their lives are all about their sexual power and our young boys that life is all about who can be more crudely funny or irresponsible. Sexual activity is expected and has no consequences. Civility does not exist. The only brand of respect that's taught is a twisted brand of "self-respect."
A casual date involves two people accompanying each other and participating in an activity or event that they both find interesting. This may include a meal, a movie, a concert or an evening at a club or bar. Usually, there are no romantic emotions involved in this type of encounter; the focus is on enjoying a mutually enjoyable social activity. Both parties are free to date other people and there is no commitment to continue dating each other. They are mostly interested in having a good time.
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. It generally happened in that portion of a person's life before the age of marriage, but as marriage became less permanent with the advent of divorce, dating could happen at other times in peoples lives as well. People became more mobile. Rapidly developing technology played a huge role: new communication technology such as the telephone, Internet and text messaging enabled dates to be arranged without face-to-face contact. 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. New types of relationships formed; it was possible for people to live together without marrying and without children. Information about human sexuality grew, and with it an acceptance of all types of sexual orientations is becoming more common. Today, the institution of dating continues to evolve at a rapid rate with new possibilities and choices opening up particularly through online dating.
This stage of dating requires much intentionality. If you are in a courtship, you should be asking yourself, “What do I need to know about her and what does she need to know about me to be able to make this decision about marriage?” When Olive and I were in this stage of dating, we found it helpful to give ourselves a time frame so that our decision-making process would not drag on forever.
^ Kate Stone Lombardi (April 18, 2004). "Next Generation; One Simple Rule for Dating: No Violence". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-08. Ms. Lutz told the boys that among high school girls surveyed from the ages of 14 to 18, about 20 percent reported that they had been hit, slapped, shoved or forced into sexual activity by a dating partner. ...
There are now more than 500 businesses worldwide that offer dating coach services—with almost 350 of those operating in the U.S. And the number of these businesses has surged since 2005"" Frequency of dating varies by person and situation; among singles actively seeking partners, 36% had been on no dates in the past three months, 13% had one date, 22% had two to four dates and 25% had five or more dates, according to a 2005 U.S. survey.
Generally, during much of recorded history of humans in civilization, and into the Middle Ages in Europe, weddings were seen as business arrangements between families, while romance was something that happened outside of marriage discreetly, such as covert meetings. The 12th-century book The Art of Courtly Love advised that "True love can have no place between husband and wife." According to one view, clandestine meetings between men and women, generally outside of marriage or before marriage, were the precursors to today's dating.