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 ten books on adolescent development. The last is Bi: Bisexual, Pansexual, Fluid, and Nonbinary Youth (New York University Press, 2021), which follows, "Mostly Straight: Sexual Fluidity Among Men" (Harvard University Press, 2017), and "Becoming Who I Am: Young Men on Being Gay" (Harvard University Press, 2016). He continues to write about the experiences of growing up with same- and other-sex attractions, the resiliency and mental health of sexually diverse youth, and the sexual and romantic continua. His research on differential developmental trajectories supplants our generic, stage models of identity development with a perspective that explores the similarities of sexually diverse youth and the ways in which these 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 sexually diverse young adults. He has served as an expert witness on marriage equality, gay adoption, gender identity and Boy Scout court cases. He has served as a consultant for MTV, 20/20, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and CNN and his work has been cited on National Public Radio and in Newsweek, Time, Rolling Stone, Utne Reader, New York Magazine, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and USA Today. Dr. Savin-Williams received the 2001 Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution, and the 2005 Outstanding Book Award from the American Psychological Association "The new gay teenager", the 2006 APA Science Directorate’s Master Lecture in developmental psychology, the 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.

Research Focus

  • Psychosexual development during adolescence and young adulthood
  • Sexual development among same-other-sex attracted adolescents and early adults
  • Positive adolescent development
  • Sexual and romantic continua



  • Savin-Williams, R. C. (2021). Bi: Bisexual, pansexual, fluid, and nonbinary youth. New York: New York University Press.
  • Savin-Williams, R. C. (2017). Mostly straight: Sexual fluidity among men. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University 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.

  • 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.