People date to assess each other's suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or as a spouse.
Dating rules may vary across different cultures, and some societies may even replace the dating process by a courtship instead.
It is not unknown for couples to form over alcohol or drugs.
In order to bond or to express sexual interest, people flirt.
Gradually in a bid to compete in order to obtain resources from potential men, women have evolved to show extended sexuality.
One classic study found that when college students were approached on campus by opposite-sex confederates and asked if they wanted to "go to bed" with him/her, 75% of the men said yes while 0% percent of the women said yes.
Flirting can involve non-verbal signs, such as an exchange of glances, hand-touching, hair-touching, or verbal signs, such as chatting up, flattering comments, and exchange of telephone numbers in order to initiate further contact.
In many cultural traditions, a date may be arranged by a third party, who may be a family member, acquaintance, or professional matchmaker.
In some cultures, a marriage may be arranged by the couple's parents or an outside party. Research on human mating strategies is guided by the theory of sexual selection, and in particular, Robert Trivers' concept of parental investment.
Evolutionary mechanisms for short-term mating are evident today.
Mate-guarding behaviours and sexual jealousy point to an evolutionary history in which sexual relations with multiple partners became a recurrent adaptive problem, By contrast, journalist Daniel Bergner, who dismisses evolutionary biology, argues that monogamy has been used to control human female sexual behavior and that the human female sex drive is not lower than the human male sex drive.