Ritch Savin-Williams
Ritch Savin-Williams
Professor Emeritus


Ritch C. Savin-Williams is a developmental psychology professor emeritus of Human Development. He received the Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, where he studied sex differences in dominance hierarchy formation at summer camp.

Dr. Savin-Williams has written nine books on adolescent development. The last two, "Mostly straight: Sexual fluidity among men" (Harvard University Press, 2017) and "Becoming Who I Am: Young Men on Being Gay" (Harvard University Press, 2016) follow previous books on the lives of youth with same-sex attractions: The New Gay Teenager (Harvard University Press, 2005), “Mom, Dad. I’m Gay.” How Families Negotiate Coming Out” (American Psychological Association, 2001), ". . . And Then I Became Gay." Young Men's Stories (Routledge, 1998), and Gay and Lesbian Youth: Expressions of Identity (Hemisphere, 1990). With Kenneth M. Cohen, Dr. Savin-Williams co-edited an undergraduate textbook on sexual minorities: The Lives of Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals: Children to Adults (Harcourt Brace, 1996). 

Dr. Savin-Williams is currently writing about the experiences of growing up with same-sex attractions, the resiliency and mental health of sexual-minority youth, the sexual continuum, and the sexual development of youth. His research on differential developmental trajectories attempts to supplant our generic, stage models of identity development with a perspective that explores the similarities of sexual-minority youth with all youth and the ways in which sexual-minority adolescents vary among themselves and from heterosexual youth.

Dr. Savin-Williams is also a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice specializing in identity, relationship, and family issues among sexual-minority young adults. He has served as an expert witness on same-sex marriage, gay adoption, and Boy Scout court cases and is on numerous professional review boards. He has served as a consultant for MTV, 20/20, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and CNN and his work has been cited in Newsweek, Time, Rolling Stone, Parent Magazine, Utne Reader, New York Magazine, Fortune, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and Chicago Sun Times. Dr. Savin-Williams received the 2001 Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution, the 2005 Outstanding Book Award from Division 44 of the American Psychological Association for The New Gay Teenager, the 2006 APA Science Directorate’s Master Lecture in developmental psychology, 2009 APA Plenary Address, and fellow status from the Association for Psychological Science. He has also written junior high school curriculum materials for the Unitarian Universalist Association, Beyond Pink and Blue: Exploring Our Stereotypes of Sexuality and Gender.

  • Psychosexual development during adolescence and young adulthood
  • Sexual development among same-sex attracted adolescents and early adults
  • Positive adolescent development
  • The sexual continuum
  • Assessment of sexual and romantic orientation
  • Mostly straight young men



  • Savin-Williams, R. C. (2017). Mostly straight: Sexual fluidity among men. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Uiversity Press.

  • Savin-Williams, R. C. (2016). Becoming who I am: Young men on being gay. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Savin-Williams, R. C. (2005). The new gay teenager. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Paperback edition (2006)  Spanish edition (2009), La nueva adolescencia homosexual. Madrid, Spain: Ediciones Morata, (Roc Filella Escola).

  • Savin-Williams, R. C. (2001). “Mom, Dad. I’m gay.” How families negotiate coming out. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

  • Savin-Williams, R. C. (1998). “. . . and then I became gay.” Young men's stories. New York: Routledge.

  • Savin-Williams, R. C. & Cohen, K. M. (Eds.) (1996). The lives of lesbians, gays, and bisexuals: Children to adults. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishing.

  • Savin-Williams, R. C., & Robinson-Harris, T. (1994). Beyond pink and blue: Exploring our stereotypes of sexuality and gender. A program for ages 13 to 15. Boston: Unitarian Universalist Association.

  • Savin-Williams, R. C. (1990). Gay and lesbian youth: Expressions of identity. Washington, DC: Hemisphere.

  • Savin-Williams, R. C. (1987). Adolescence: An ethological perspective. New York: Springer/Verlag.


Promoting the well-being and resiliency of sexual-minority adolescents and young adults.

PhD, Human Development, University of Chicago

Re-specialization in Clinical Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

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