Prior to that, courtship was a matter of family and community interest.
Starting around the time of the Civil War, courtship became a private matter for couples.
The term "girlfriend" does not necessarily imply a sexual relationship, but is often used to refer to a girl or woman who is dating a person she is not engaged to without indicating whether she is having sex with them.
With differing expectations of sexual mores, the term "dating" can imply romantic activity whereas simply using "friend" would likely avoid implying such intimacy.
Both forms of "girlfriend" and "girl friend" are used by different people to mean different things.
For example, when the term "girlfriend" is used by a female about another female in a non-sexual, non-romantic context, the two-word form "girl friend" is sometimes used to avoid confusion with the sexual or romantic meaning; however, this is not a rule.
It is essentially equivalent to the term "sweetheart", which has also been used as a term of endearment.
ماهنامه زنان امروز، مجلهای که با ۱۶ سال فعالیت در سال ۱۳۸۶ توقیف شده بود و پس از ۷ سال توقیف در خرداد ۱۳۹۳ فعالیتش را از سر گرفته بود در ۷ اردیبهشت ۱۳۹۴ به دلیل ترویج ازدواج سفید طبق بند ۲ از ماده ۶ قانون مطبوعات با عنوان «اشاعه فحشا و منکرات و انتشار مطالب خلاف عفت عمومی» و «اخلال به مبانی و احکام اسلام» توقیف شد.
In 2005, a study was conducted of 115 people ages 21 to 35 who were either living with or had lived with a romantic partner.
It notes that the lack of proper terms often leads to awkward situations, such as someone becoming upset over not being introduced in social situations to avoid the question.
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.