It's not difficult to understand but it can't possibly be compared to dating,as you regularly do,as you are paying these women!
Err...why? It's quite similar to Internet dating in some ways surely? I look for compatible women online, arrange to meet them and if we get along I might see them again, then gradually we take things further.
With punting we start with sex - which I pay for (almost invariably) and see if we get along well enough to socialise - which I don't pay for. Ok well it varies sometimes I pay for drinks / dinner but often we take turns.
With "regular dating" we start off socialising - which I pay for (almost invariably as per above) - and see if we get along well enough to have sex - which I don't pay for. Although sometimes after a really expensive gift or trip it might feel like I just paid.
I think you'll find its not black or white polar opposites but a spectrum. AW, SeekingArrangement, WhatsYour price.com where you pay for the privelege of a date with no guarantee of sex, to regular dating sites.
As others have said somehow you always pay somewhere along the line.
Fair enough if you can't see any comparison to me it's perfectly clear.
Not saying they are exactly the same of course. I have a totally different intention and my intention is usually clear based on what kind of site I'm using. But there are more similarities than differences.