Courtship dating are terms that are commonly used interchangeably. But should they be? Are they really the same? No, not really. The fact is that dating is considered more casual without any desire to get married. Courtship on the other hand is when people are actively looking for someone to marry. Of course we all know that sometimes dating that can start casually will end up with two people getting married.
Many people think that there should be no sexual contact during the courtship phase. It's more about getting to know each other on a personality level to see if they are someone who you would want to marry. It's a little like a "job interview". It's more about emotional compatibility than sexual attraction. That isn't a bad way to decide whether or not you should marry someone.
On the other hand, there are those who think that all types of compatibility are important for a successful marriage, even sexual. And for that reason they are not opposed to sexual relationships or even living together before marriage. It really depends on you and your religious beliefs. Most beliefs about sexual appropriateness are based in religious beliefs.
I have to say that from my point of view, I think that not exploring sexual compatibility before marriage can be kind of a mistake. For example, I have a dear friend who was raised to wait to have sex until marriage, which is just what she did. The problem is that her and her husband weren't compatible at all. They had very different ideas of what a healthy sexual relationship should be. The marriage didn't last.
Dating, on the other hand, is more about having fun and spending time "hanging out" with someone. In some cases one or the other may actively be looking for a serious relationship. more like a courtship, but that is an old fashioned term and few think of their dating life like a courtship.
Today courtship dating is more interchangeable and one, or hopefully both, people will decide around the same time that they want to take things to "the next level". It's all a lot more casual and with an attitude of "lets see where it goes" type of attitude.
Of course when you enter into a relationship that is just about dating there is always the possibility that the two of you will end up on different pages in regards to where you see the overall relationship going. Sometimes one person will want to get more serious and the other won't. With a strictly courting relationship you both know that you are looking for marriage which is the one big difference between the two.
Courtship dating is a term usually used to describe a more serious dating relationship. People go into this type of dating with more focus and with a strong idea of what they want to come out of it. That can take some of the uncertainty out of the equation. But remember, when it comes to matters of the heart, there are never any guarantees.