Dan Savage Turned Sex Advice Career in to Life Advice with It Gets Better

Daniel Keenan Savage was born October 7, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. Dan’s parents, William and Judy Savage, were of Irish ancestry and raised him and his three other siblings in a Roman-Catholic household. After high school, Dan attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he majored in theater and history. He became theater director at the university and used the stage name Keenan Hollahan. Hollahan was his grandmother’s maiden name.

In 1991, Savage moved to Madison, Wisconsin after he graduated college and started a sex advice column called Savage Love. The openly gay writer used the column as a forum for his opinions on love, sex, and family. The column’s popularity grew and Savage Love Live on Seattle’s radio was born. From 1994 to 1997 people would call him on the radio to get advice about relationships, sex, and family. During 1998 to 2000 Dan wrote an advice column called Dear Dan.

Dan kept writing pieces for different media outlets during the 21st century. He began to tour the country with speaking engagements at various types of events about relationships, sex, family, politics, and issues in society. In 2005, Dan married Terry Miller in Vancouver. A few years later, the couple adopted a son named D.J.

September 21, 2024, Terry and Dan started the It Gets Better Project. The project is aimed at suicidal homosexual youth who are subject to bullying because of their sexual orientation. The project started as a video reassuring homosexual youth that life can improve after bullying. Now, the project has become a worldwide movement.

Earlier this year Savage U premiered on MTV and it featured Dan traveling to different college campuses. He would talk to college students about sex, relationships, and the new culture they are growing up in.

Dan has written five books:

  • It Gets Better: Coming Out
  • Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living
  • The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant
  • Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America
  • The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family
  • Savage Lone: Straight Answers from America’s Most Popular Sex Columnist

He makes guest appearances on Real Time with Bill Maher, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, and Anderson Cooper 360 talking about issues involving the gay and lesbian community. Dan may have been known for his relationship, sex, and family advice, but the humanitarian uses his outspoken personality to bring light to societal issues that should not be ignored.

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One Response to Dan Savage Turned Sex Advice Career in to Life Advice with It Gets Better

Paul Douglas Ph.D. says:

Dear Dan:

You may be aware that there is a controversy in the Mormon church relating to Mormon Bishops (always men rarely with any counseling or mental health education) conducting invasive sexual interviews with adolescents, boys and girls, as young as twelve years of age.

These annual interviews see a Middle-aged man in a closed room in which they question these young people about masturbation, heavy petting, ‘fornication.’ and/or other sexual behaviors to determine their ‘worthliness.’

As a Mormon myself I find this practice is not just ill-conceived but dangerous.

Besides the danger of grooming, I know of examples where these young people have experienced shame and a loss of self-esteem which has interfered with normal and healthy sexual development.

A few of the horror stories that have been published are:

” My [son] Jeffie entered. The door was closed. I waited. Within a few minutes, the bishop’s door opened. My flustered son rushed to my side. “Dad, he asked if I have ever had sex with another boy. Then he asked if I masturbated.”

In another case, a bishop found out a 17-year-old girl was sexually active with her boyfriend… and then wanted details, “How many times did you orgasm?” “Did your boyfriend orgasm?” “How did he orgasm?” “What kind of sexual positions were involved?”

None of my children have been subjected to this and more and more LDS members are communicating that these interviews will not take place unless the parent is present. I personally see the parent’s presence as only a marginal improvement. These interviews must end period.

I am writing to you Dan, as one of the foremost leaders in the field and someone whose opinion I have always respected to seek your opinion on these, ‘priesthood interviews.’ The Mormon church is a very centralized, patriarchal and authoritarian organization and it has pushed back against those of us who oppose it.

In a recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune, Eric Hawkins, with the Church’s PR department said:

“In these interviews, church leaders are instructed to be sensitive to the character, circumstances, and understanding of the young man or young woman. They are counseled to not be unnecessarily probing or invasive in their questions but should allow a young person to share their experiences, struggles, and feelings. There are times when a discussion of moral cleanliness is appropriate – particularly if a young man or young woman feels a need to repent…”

Dan, the suicide rate among Mormon youth is very disturbing.

The Utah Attorney General has commented that statistics show that “… Suicide is the number one cause of death of Utah children ages 10-17.”

There are many other factors as well contributing to this tragedy. LGBTQ youth find themselves disenfranchised even disowned by zealous religious parents, who now feel more compelled than ever to choose between their child and their church.

Political science professor Benjamin Knoll discusses the link between Mormonism and teen suicide in his paper, “Youth Suicide Rates and Mormon Religious Context: An Additional Empirical Analysis,”

Knoll reports that youth in the 15-19 age group who live in states with heavy Mormon populations are at higher risk for suicide. As Knoll put it, “These are objectively small numbers, but it means that (again, controlling for other factors) youth suicides are twice as high in states with the highest levels of Mormon residents compared to states with the lowest levels of Mormon residents.”

I am writing to you Dr. Reid, as one of the foremost leaders in the field to seek your opinion on these, ‘priesthood interviews.’ Lives are at state.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours truly,


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