The world of dating has changed dramatically in the last century and in particular, the past few decades. The old ideas and rituals of courtship are gone, replaced with new standards of relationships and dating. In the past monogamy was the standard and anything else was considered almost sinful. The concept of suitors was commonplace, in reference to men who announced their intentions towards a woman. They wooed her with small trinkets of affection and spent time getting to know her. They often used chaperones to ensure that the couple behaved in an appropriate manner.
The current world of dating is very different. Today, the traditions of a suitor wooing the one womsn he wants to be with forever is vitually nonexistant. The advent of technologies such as text messaging and email have allowed couples to keep in contact without a lot of intimacy or physical contact. They can keep in touch and express their feelings without seeing each other face-to-face, or even hearing eachother's voices. There has also been an increase in online dating, which once again reiterates the idea of limited physical interaction. It also allows for an individual to date several people at once, rather than dating just one person.
The modern days have also brought about a change in terms of sexuality. The liberation of women during the 1960s and 1970s brought about the sexual revolution. Instead of accepting that men were the dominant sex, women decided that they weren’t willing to simply lie back and take it. The idea of a television show like Sex and the City, where women openly discussed sexual issues and partook in casual sex was unheard of just a decade ago.
The idea of sex and sexuality is more open now. It is acceptable to discuss sex in an open forum and in public. Sex is no longer dirty or taboo, but merely a healthy aspect of life. Additionally, sex education is now taught in schools, which is a hotly contested issue. There are many conservatives who claim sex education teaches kids how to have sex and encourages them to do it. Others claim that sex education courses teach kids to have a healthy sex life when they decide to engage in intercourse.
These changes have occurred alongside riding divorce rates and single parent households. Some on the more conservative end of the spectrum argue the changes in the dating scene and the new openness of sexuality have lead to these rising statistics. However, it is not a proven cause and effect relationship. Divorce rates are constantly rising, to the point where half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. The US also has a high rate of teenage pregnancy and illegitimacy. In the olden days, if a woman got pregnant before marriage, it was expected that she would marry the child’s father; but this idea no longer exists today. Additionally, the number of people who engage in sexual intercourse before marriage has risen, as has the rate of people who cheat on their spouse.
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What was it that caused these changes to the traditional idea of courtship? In part it’s because people simply don’t have the time anymore. Between school, work and other obligations, they don’t have the time to engage in the traditional courtship rituals. Then there’s the popular media, which glamorizes the single life. Movies and television shows, along with books and news reports, show the exciting side of dating and sleeping with multiple partners. It makes it hard for couples to stick with one person and identify with the old ways of thinking. It’s interesting to think what will happen in the future as a result of these changes .
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