From discreet romantic trysts within one's social circle or using the services of professional escorts in the 18th and 19th centuries, to personal ad dating, petting parties, polyamorous dating, love-ins, key parties and internet bulletin board matchups of the twentieth century, people have always found ways to escape the confines of conventional life in pursuit of erotic pleasure.Even today, forty years after the publication of Foucault's first study, and amidst one of the world's greatest scientific and technological revolutions, most of us still find ourselves bound by societal conventions of marriage.Except for the Puritans of early 16th century America, it's only been since the 18th century and the rise of the bourgeoisie (or working class) up until the free love movement of the 1960's and the sexual revolution in the seventies that dating outside of marriage was frowned upon in western society.Before then, extramarital affairs were quite common and often encouraged among the aristocratic classes.
Over the last several hundred years, married dating in western society has taken many forms.
But one thing is certain in this day and age - online dating is the preferred choice of most dating adults.
In a recent article by Aaron Smith of the Pew Research Centre, users of online dating are generally positive about dating digitally.
In their 2010 controversial best-selling book, "Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality," authors Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha argue that until the advent of agriculture and private property ten thousand years ago, prehistoric man - and woman - were basically non-monogamous and less sexually possessive.
This theory is chronicled in an online interview in Salon by Thomas Rogers and provides a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of sex and modern North America's fixation on fidelity.