Why the prevalence of dating in the US?

It’s a completely different beast- as different as “having a mistress” is to “taking a high school sweetheart to the prom.” With a girlfriend, you have an expectation of monogamy. You probably have a formal agreement. It’s wrong to break that. Without being “boyfriend-girlfriend,” in a relationship, or otherwise having negotiated exclusivity, you don’t have an expectations of monogamy, you can’t “cheat,” and it’s not immoral to have sex with whoever.

Hooking up does happen, but it’s different from peer group to peer group. I’ve been in some situations where people hook up like crazy- I remember eating dinner at a table where three girls and a guy who had all at some point hooked up with the guy, and everyone was teasing him about it- as a totally casual, not-at-all emotional thing. I’ve had other peer groups where it basically never happens.

Hardly an anomaly. I’ve had 4 serious relationships in my life. Two serious girlfriends and two spouses (not any of them at the same time!:rolleyes:). But in between each of those relationships I dated multiple people with no exclusivity. I wouldn’t characterize it as a “player” style…just dating around. During the dating period, there were several girls that I would go out with many times, but we weren’t exclusive to each other. I would characterize it more as shopping or thinning the herd.