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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.
A similar, but not equivalent, concept is the more ambiguous "lady friend" – a companion of the female gender who is possibly less than a girlfriend but potentially more than a friend.
That is to say, the relationship is not necessarily platonic, nor is it necessarily an exclusive, serious, committed, or long-term relationship.
In this sense of its usage, "girlfriend" is used in terms of very close friends and has no sexual connotations, unless it is in the case of lesbian, bisexual women.
The term "girlfriend" is also used in LGBT communities and can refer to people of any sex or sexuality.
In modern times, emphasis on the institution of marriage, generally described as a male-female bond, has obscured pair bonds formed by same-sex and transsexual couples, and that many heterosexual couples also bond for life without offspring, or that often pairs that do have offspring separate.
Accordingly, there was little need for a temporary trial period such as dating before a permanent community-recognized union was formed between a man and a woman.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 male she is not engaged to without indicating whether she is having sex with him.With differing expectations of sexual mores, the term "dating" can imply romantic activity whereas simply using "friend" would likely avoid implying such intimacy.From the standpoint of anthropology and sociology, dating is linked with other institutions such as marriage and the family which have also been changing rapidly and which have been subject to many forces, including advances in technology and medicine.
As humans societies have evolved from hunter-gatherers into civilized societies, there have been substantial changes in relations between men and women, with perhaps one of a few remaining biological constants being that both adult women and men must have sexual intercourse for human procreation to happen.This term may also refer to two or more people who have already decided they share romantic or sexual feelings toward each other.