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.
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 dating gradually became more about personal pleasure throughout the decades, the expression of sexuality became much more commonplace.
According to the , "The terms 'necking' and 'petting' — the former referring to kisses and caresses above the neck, the latter to the same below it — entered public discussion, giving names to previously unspoken private activities." Now when we think of the '50s, we tend to think of a period of purity and the Stepford Wife ideal, but in actuality, it was a time of sexual change that ended up resulting in a dramatic increase in population.
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.
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.
Between the popularization of rock 'n' roll, and protesting the Vietnam War, 1960s youth culture was hot for revolution.