Humans have been compared to other species in terms of sexual behavior.
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.
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.
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.
While the term has several meanings, the most frequent usage refers to two people exploring whether they are romantically or sexually compatible by participating in dates with the other.