The fundamental difference between courtship and dating is that of freedom.
As a result, the purpose of dating was primarily to have fun, not to find a marriage partner.However, couples would form after several dates if they were interested in having more exclusive relationships." This starts to resemble what we would now conceive of as modern dating, and the ritual of courtship was left in the dust.At that time, there was no such thing as just two young lovers "going out on a date." However, this began to change in the early years of the 20th century, when couples began to go out together in public and unsupervised.Still, the ultimate and very apparent goal was still that of marriage.As the years rolled on into the 1920s, however, this system quickly became outdated and unfavorable. Bailey writes in her book , "Dating had almost completely replaced the old system of calling by the mid-1920s — and, in so doing, had transformed American courtship." This was a period of time when couples started going out on dates, which also meant they started paying for dates.
This changed the relationship dynamic between a young man and a young woman, as now it was the man's duty to pay for the date, whereas before it was the woman who decided the terms of the visit.
According to the University of California, Santa Barbara, "Across university campuses, couples publicized their decision to 'go steady' when the man gave the woman an article of his clothing to wear, such as a jacket, sweater, or ring." Dating had become much more about youth culture than about family expectations.
The way in which two people experienced sexuality when dating also shifted.
The era's fiction frequently drew on love themes, while articles, essays, and public orations stressed mutual respect, reciprocity, and romance as ingredients of good marriages.
Young courting couples chose their own partners, and their letters focused on romance rather than on the practical matters that had dominated the correspondence of earlier generations." The desire to climb the social ladder or to secure one's place in society fell by the wayside, and the desire to find a favorable longterm partner took its place.
If the '50s saw young people starting to experiment with sex, the '60s was the resulting explosion of sexual activity in the name of freedom.