When someone describes themselves as “dating” someone, generally they mean that they are “going on dates” with that person. Confusion solved! Your real question seems to be whether or not a date involves sex. That is something that is completely up to the two (or more) people on the date. What constitutes a date is completely open to interpretation. Some people go out to dinner. Some people see movies. Some people meet someone at their apartment and have sex for hours. Generally you’ll know in advance if your date is slated to be a multi-hour fuckfest but then again, life is full of surprises.
For some people, dating someone means they aren’t dating anyone else. For most people, even if they aren’t actually dating anyone else, “dating” means they still have the option of dating/sleeping with someone else if the opportunity presents itself. It’s my firm belief that nobody gets too mad at someone for dating multiple people unless both parties explicitly agree to be monogamous. The assumption should be non-monogamy until a conversation has been had.
As far as sex goes, it’s pretty rare to go on a date (or at least a first date) knowing for sure you’re going to get laid. That’s kind of the point of dating, right? To hang out with a person and decide if they are someone you want to have sex with? I don’t think it has to do with not being able to make up your mind like you suggest in your first scenario. Going on dates is how a person gets the information he or she needs to MAKE UP his or her mind about whether they want to be with someone or not.
If you don’t want to go on dates, you don’t have to. You’re allowed to find someone who just wants to have sex and nothing else. Or you could hire someone to have sex with you. If what you’re trying to say is that dating is confusing and there’s no easy way to tell if someone likes you or just wants you to buy them dinner or wants to have sex with you but also other people or wants to get married and have a million babies well then, yeah, no shit.
You can be as low maintenance as anybody but figuring out what you want with some other person and what they want with you and whether you go well together and whether or not you’re going to bone and if you do if it’s going to be any good is fucking complicated. Human beings! We have feelings and we are weird!