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.
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.
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.
In the first “Sex and the City” movie, Samantha says this about sex: “I can’t color enough. I would use every crayon in my box.” Samantha was never shy about her desires and never really went the traditional route in terms of relationships.
Sure, she was with Smith for five years and loved him very much, but in the end, that kind of life just wasn’t for her. About 21% of Americans have been in a non-monogamous relationship, 50% say “society is just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children,” and 12% are only looking for casual hookups.
While pair-bonds of varying forms were recognized by most societies as acceptable social arrangements, marriage was reserved for heterosexual pairings and had a transactional nature, where wives were in many cases a form of property being exchanged between father and husband, and who would have to serve the function of reproduction.