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Sigma male? Yes. You thought there were only alpha and beta males, right? Surprisingly, there are six accepted types of male personalities and are named after Greek Alphabet letters. They are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Omega, Delta, and Sigma males.
However, it seems as if more emphasis is placed on only showcasing alpha and beta males, as if to say the sigma or other types don't count.
Dani Di Placido questioned the status quo in his Forbes Magazine article, The Pseudoscience Behind The ‘Sigma Male,’ Explained. He asked, “Are you tired of reducing masculinity into the two nonsensical, made-up categories known as “alpha” and “beta” males?”
More than that, the alpha male is painted as the most dominant in the social hierarchy of masculinity, and supposedly the better man. Who was it that singled out and placed alpha males at the top of the hypothetical hierarchical pyramid, and why?
This article intends to raise awareness of the sigma personality, first by comparing it to the alpha personality, then detailing 25 traits of sigma males.
By the time you finish reading, you'll get a clearer picture of why they're gaining recognition of late. You can even draw your own conclusion on whether sigma males should rank #1 on the pecking order.
What Is a Sigma Male?
In masculinist subcultures, the term “sigma male” is used to describe a popular, successful, but highly independent and self-reliant man. Far-right activist and writer, Theodore Robert Beale, aka, Vox Day, is believed to be the one who first coined the term.
Social commentators and members of the manosphere have different ideas of who really is the sigma male. According to Di Placido, he is “essentially, an introverted alpha male.” Only, he's a “lone wolf.” Others opine that he is as powerful as the alpha but not subordinate as the beta male.
Sigma represents a male archetype that has been in existence eons ago, but it has only recently been trending. Once you go over their characteristics, you'll realize this particular male archetype isn't your average guy.
What sets him apart from the rest is his decision to walk the solitary path and color outside the lines. He doesn't subscribe to the normal social dominance hierarchy construct which, by the way, some say is imaginary and arbitrarily made up.
Sigma Male and the Social Dominance Hierarchy
Dominance hierarchies have been used to describe animal ranking within the animal kingdom, e.g., males in the lion pride. The principle is applied similarly to human males and is referred to as social dominance hierarchies.
According to the ranking system of male personalities, the top-ranking group should have more favorable qualities than the rest.
Needless to say, the idea of social dominance and socio-sexual hierarchies among males is as interesting as the questions about whether they are real or imaginary. Socio-sexual hierarchy is a system of grouping and ranking men into male archetypes.
Want to know where you rank? Below is a pyramid where the suggested 6 different types of male archetypes appear, with the sigma male ranking as #2. Smack-dab in the middle of alphas and betas.
- Alpha Male
- Sigma Male
- Beta Male
- Delta Male
- Gamma Male
- Omega Male
Factors such as confidence, courage, responsibility, leadership ability, and hierarchical consciousness are thought to influence a man's place on the pecking order. But who is to say that some men, like those identified as sigma, aren't content with their spot on the social ladder? I dare say there are males who prefer to be a sigma over an alpha.
Also worthy of mentioning is that masculinity appears to have something to do with the ranking system. Masculinity, also referred to as manhood or manliness, is a set of characteristics, typical behaviors, and expected roles associated with men and boys. Keep this in mind as we assess the sigma males' attributes compared to alpha males.
Alpha Male VS Sigma Male
The alpha male, currently occupying the pinnacle of the pyramid, is commonly regarded as an “aggressive, domineering male archetype.” His sociable and outgoing attributes put him in the extroverted, or gregarious, people category.
Attracting women is thought to be an easy task for him because they naturally gravitate to him, like moths to a flame.
There's more. He likes to show off his achievements and chase fame, but his thinking can be mediocre, even flawed. His aggressive, dominant, and inflexible traits are often perceived as oppressive and borderline abusive.
This guy is introverted or reserved and less gregarious than his alpha counterpart. He doesn't need social stimulation to thrive and spends an extensive amount of time alone in his thoughts.
An article published by Masculine Development describes sigma males as not identifying with dominance hierarchies and preferring to live the life of a wanderer, an adventurer, and a traveler.
They believe they're capable of achieving personal and professional success without needing to actively socialize. Interestingly, they still manage to gain popularity with women, largely because of traits that distinguish them from alpha males.
To Theodore Robert Beale (“Vox Day”), sigma males are “The outsiders who don’t play the social game and manage to win at it anyhow.”
He also pointed out alpha males dislike their sigma rivals because they seem to succeed in life without having to do half the work alphas do to gain status or fame. Meanwhile, author, John Alexander, might have stirred up more envy with his book, The Sigma Male: What Women Really Want.
25 Powerful Signs and Traits of the Sigma Male
Sigma males have peculiar characteristics that set them apart from other male archetypes. You might be surprised at some of their attributes or even recognize them in yourself or someone you know.
#1. Lone wolf
The lone wolf trait was mentioned en passant earlier on. It's worthy of further explanation, to avoid any misunderstanding of what appears to be a positive (not negative) attribute of the sigma man.
The lone wolf's personality is the opposite of running as a pack. He's likened to a rebel wolf who breaks away from the pack to survive on his own. This doesn't mean he's antisocial as people describe him to be.
The guy is able to thrive and be happy alone and single. Isolating during a pandemic doesn't catapult him into a depressive state. Solitude is his trademark and he's comfortable and satisfied that way.
Frequent social disconnection gives him time to strategize on how to become more successful. Think Elon Musk, billionaire and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla.
Are you dating a quiet, silent one? Maybe he's a sigma male, someone who likes to retreat to a quiet environment. In fact, he values it and it's necessary for him to restore and rebalance physically and mentally.
Also known as the “strong, silent type,” he spends a lot of his quiet time thinking and analyzing before making life decisions. It's not uncommon for this particular attribute of his to be misconstrued as boring.
While he's likely to have a man cave where he hides out, the guy is capable of enjoying peace anywhere since he's able to tap into solace from within.
Quiet but rebellious? How is this possible? Maybe this doesn't surprise you. Earlier on, you read that he doesn't believe in social hierarchies and instead chooses to dance to the beat of his own drum.
That's a nice way of saying he's rebellious. While the term rebellious has a negative stigma, if he shuns society’s-imposed rules and beliefs and still succeeds, e.g., as an entrepreneur or innovator, then fine. The end justifies the means.
Going against the mainstream order may be one of his secrets to success. To be a successful innovator, he has to be capable of thinking outside the box. He has to be willing to experiment with ideas others won't dare to.
Going against the grain is a way of exercising freedom and sends a clear message that he doesn't care about fitting in.
Something peculiar about the lone wolf makes him quite attractive to women. We just can't seem to put our finger on it. Aha! It's the air of mystery and charisma that surround him. He's not difficult to read, he's just not that transparent, and it's that aspect of his enigmatic personality that enhances his attractiveness.
You would think that his mysterious personality would push women away. Instead, the behavior piques their interest. If you're trying to pin down this guy to a type, you may have to work a little harder to unravel all of his layers!
This alpha male without a pack not only flys solo, but he's also independent. Relying on others takes up too much time, energy, and stress, hoping they'll get things done right. Doing things himself helps him avoid the stressors, plus he's confident in his ability to perform.
People misunderstand him as someone who feels he has shit together and doesn't need anyone else. Sigma males value assistance from their families, friends, and romantic partners, but relying on them to meet their physical or emotional needs isn't an idea that sits well with them.
In addition to independence, the so-called introverted alpha male is self-sufficient. His sense of independence keeps him from relying on others, which can backfire. But he takes things a step further to provide everything he wants and needs for himself.
He's definitely not a “scrub” as depicted in the US Billboard Hot 100 songs, “No Scrubs,” by TLC. That guy who acts fly, but still lives at his mamma's house and is financially dependent on women.
The sigma archetype has visions and life goals and arms himself with the tools to achieve them. He doesn't need followers or supporters to cheer him on. Ingrained survivor skills are what he mostly relies on, not people.
Silence is another one of his trademarks, but this doesn't equate to being shy or weak. Those who interacted with males with a sigma personality described him as silent but strong, sexy, and confident.
The fact that he rebels against the social order that tries to tie him down is evidence of self-confidence.
The lone wolf is certain about himself, which is why he branches out on his own to pave his own pathway. He feels he's able to perform and succeed without needing to conform to societal expectations and rules on how he should behave.
For many women, it's self-confidence in a man, not control or dominance, that makes him super attractive.
Alpha males rely on social connections to feel important and gain respect. If he's one who has narcissistic tendencies, he'll likely persistently seek validation from friends and loved ones. Not lone wolves. They don't seek approval, require social validation or fish for compliments to get an ego boost.
They do appreciate commendation and praise but aren't the kind to draw attention to their accomplishments to attain recognition. Instead, they reach inward and self-validate. They're also able to self-soothe when confronted by stress and life challenges.
The ability to build themselves up connects to the independent, self-sufficient, and self-reliant traits sigma males possess.
#9. Freedom lover
If you're dating a guy who loves his space and has several more of these characteristics, he just might have the sigma personality. Space in a relationship is healthy, but this man's need for time away from it all can be frustrating for his partner.
Don't be surprised if he chooses self-employment over a traditional job. It gives him the freedom to do whatever he wants without needing to answer to anyone—something sigma men also resent.
Physical freedom allows him to travel the world and expand his knowledge on things like transnational culture and politics. Because of his need-for-freedom tendency, he's best partnered with women who aren't clingy. Otherwise, she'll probably keep feeling anxious and abandoned.
These guys stand out from the crowd because they set trends rather than follow them. Their clothing choice, their charm, and their mannerisms scream “authenticity.” The trendsetter characteristic fits into the notion that they abhor systems that require them to subdue or follow instructions.
Danger can follow a man cut from this cloth if he hasn't yet developed the emotional maturity needed to recognize when rebellion has gone too far. It's not like he's a bad boy who sets out to break the law.
He likes questioning rules and regulations to determine whether they are valid, fair, or just. Having this mindset enables him to be an agent of change of oppressive laws and policies in the workplace or community.
Flexibility or the ability to easily adapt to change is a valuable quality of sigma males. They can adjust to different situations and environments and get along with people of different personality types. Even though they don't rely on groups and teams to create success or gain praise, they have no trouble being a team player.
Adaptability also makes them good partners, leaders, and bosses. If you have a sigma male in your family social circle, you may notice that instead of caving to the discomfort of changes, they evolve and continue to remain relevant with the times.
Sigma personalities have no problem showing you their true selves straight out the gate. They don't feel a need to wear a mask to hide unpleasant traits in order to woo people/romantic partners into their lives. If you could be a fly on the wall, you'll see they're pretty much the same person when they're around you or away.
These guys have an air of mystery, so you'll need to do some digging to unearth the full gamut of who they are, and this takes time. If you're dating the silent alpha, you may think he's hiding something.
Avoid saying anything that will make him think you don't trust him. It will upset him even though he won't show his anger. Give him time. Once he fully trusts you, he'll unveil himself to you.
#13. Emotionally intelligent
The charming and self-reliant male does come across as emotionally intelligent. What this means is he has a strong sense of self-awareness and demonstrates empathy. Self-awareness allows him to recognize and regulate his emotions. It empowers him to change negative behaviors that interfere with his well-being and relationships.
His ability to self-assess and self-correct makes him a good friend, partner, and employee. Those in the manosphere believe spending a great deal of time alone contemplating and introspecting might contribute to the high level of awareness spotted in sigma males.
Males with sigma inclinations come across as secure as much as they are self-confident, a stark contrast to the insecure beta males. His secure sense of self is also not inflated as seen in many alpha males. It's also not externally sourced, but innate.
Men develop a healthy sense of security primarily from having a healthy attachment to their primary caregiver in childhood. Examples of secure traits include being assertive, open, honest, emotionally available, and having healthy self-esteem. Secure guys respect boundaries, don't play mind games with women and have no problem with commitment.
#15. Attentive listener
Attentive listening is a lost art. Some people have so much to say that they seldom ever stop to pay attention to what others are saying. Take the narcissist, for example, who's notorious for taking over conversations and making everything about themselves.
Sigma males actually listen to you and hear you out. Some experts say the quality makes them ideal conversation partners. It's also a demonstration of empathetic listening and respect.
#16. Free thinker
Webster defines a free thinker as “one who forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority.” Sigma males are perceived as deep and independent thinkers. They're ones to pay close attention to details, not to necessarily overanalyze, but to grasp greater understanding.
Just when you think they're going to accept society's views on things like politics, gender, or justice, they'll blow you away with a unique perspective. This aligns with their non-conformity mindset.
#17. True leader
The alpha male without a pack is seen as a true leader. He isn't a leader like his alpha contender who attains his sense of self-worth and respect from dominating and bossing people around.
People stop and listen to sigma males and naturally follow because they're deep thinkers who pique the curiosity of others with their charisma and ingenious line of reasoning.
In addition, their emotional intelligence and empathetic nature enable them to treat employees fairly and justly. Their balanced approach to leadership makes employees feel valued and motivates performance out of willingness instead of fear.
#18. Ignores the Social Hierarchy
Although the sigma male understands social hierarchies, he does not depend on them for success. However, that does not mean he disrespects them. Sigma males may spend time with their families and understand the social structures within personal groups. And when he goes to work, he respects his boss and coworkers.
The difference is that a sigma male does not depend on these hierarchies. He does not value his boss’s opinion of him or needs it to succeed in his working life. Further, he may love his family but also disregard the social cues they pressure onto him. Such as getting married and having children. Sigma males understand social hierarchies' natural order but often ignore them.
Sigma males have a high chance of success due to their adaptability. Fired from a job? No problem. Dumped by significant other? No sweat. Changing behavior is a valuable skill that sigma males have perfected. Adapting to an unexpected situation may throw others off their guard, but sigma males can quickly get back on their feet without hesitation.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they are prone to emotional pain. Instead, they use that pain to overcome unexpected obstacles. Losing a job might make someone spiral into depression.
Not sigma males who will take advantage of the opportunity and use negative emotions to drive themselves forward. They become adaptable to their situation and rise above unfortunate events. Adapting to downfalls can get tricky. If you have trouble making it through, read our article on how to harness adaption!
Since sigma males are highly adaptable, they can efficiently strategize to get things done. Strategizing is one way to live a successful life. However, life can get in the way; sometimes, our goals are not met or are entirely ruined.
Sigma males can adapt to their situation and strategize to reach their goals. Meaning they are prepared for every scenario life may throw at them.
Reaching our goals is not straightforward. We run into many obstacles that block us from our accomplishments. Strategizing is a great way to prepare for the worst and best-case scenarios. And sigma males have a knack for seeing every possible outcome.
For example, if a sigma male wants a promotion at work, he will do what everyone else does, work harder. But, sometimes, life is unfair, and that promotion is given to someone else in the workplace.
A sigma male has already thought of this outcome. As he worked hard for a promotion, he also sent resumes to other companies who valued his skills. He doesn’t have to worry about not getting the promotion because he has multiple interviews lined up.
Self-care is a critical component in life that everyone should master. Sometimes putting yourself first is the best way to take care of yourself and the people around you. You cannot help others or achieve greatness without focusing on yourself first. Sigma males understand this rule all too well.
Everyone experiences anxiety, including sigma males. But, sigma males understand why it's essential to rid the body of emotional turmoil. So they institute self-care strategies to help them recover from stress and anxiety by putting themselves first.
In comparison, an Alpha male might ignore their emotional distress and continue to overwork themselves. They may lash out at others because they refuse to take a break.
Sigma males understand when it’s time to take a step back and relax. So they can continue to work hard without feeling burnt out. Ultimately, they are emotionally balanced and ready to continue living a comfortable life.
#22. Not Interested in Relationships
Sigma males can love, but they choose to be alone. Relationships only weigh down their wants and desires. They see family as an emotional burden rather than an emotional need. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t show love to their family, friends, or partners.
Instead, sigma males set clear boundaries to prevent loved ones from weighing them down. The last thing a sigma male wants is to lose their independence. Settling down and having a family hardly ever falls into their plans.
However, if they find themselves in a situation where they must provide for their loved ones, they will. Also, some sigma males find the perfect partner who values their independence.
Relationships come in all shapes and colors. Some couples don’t mind long-distance relationships, long days without calls, and small amounts of spending time together. Finding the right partner can be challenging but not impossible. Try one of our Love Compatibility Tests to find out if you and a sigma male would be compatible!
#23. Invisibility is Key
Being the center of attention can feel powerful to some but to sigma males, it's unnecessary. They don’t rely on the acceptance of their peers to feel confident. It’s actually quite the opposite.
They would rather no one notice they are in the room and only address the group when necessary. Even if the attention is based on praise, like a birthday party or congratulations, they don’t care to hear it.
Not to be confused with social anxiety, even if a sigma male must be the center of attention, he can conduct himself accordingly. Since he doesn’t care for his peers' opinions, he can easily address a crowd of people.
But blending into the background and making as little noise as possible is what these men prefer. So you probably won’t catch them at parties or social gatherings.
#24. Naturally Attractive
Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. No matter how sigma males look, their personality is what attracts their partners the most. Secure, adaptable, independent, and rebellious are all qualities that people are attracted to.
That’s why sigma males often have people flirting with them or trying to learn more about them.
Like alpha males, sigma males are highly sought after, the difference being sigma males rather ignore their advances and continue to be alone.
Of course, they are also aware of their charms but rarely take advantage of the occasion since their favorite night out is alone with themselves.
Since sigma males enjoy going against the grain, they sometimes face pushback. Meaning their ideas and actions are often challenged by others. For that reason, they are knowledgeable of their own beliefs.
Sigma males are up to date with political news, philosophical thought, and socioeconomic research. If you are debating a sigma male, be sure to come prepared. They value their freedom and will have strong opinions on certain subjects that align with their beliefs.
So, if you’re curious about what goes on in the mind of a sigma male, go ahead and ask. Chances are they have a lot of knowledge to back it up. And, in the end, you may be moving towards becoming a sigma male yourself.
Famous Sigma Males
Even though you might not hear a lot about this particular archetype of men, they are everywhere and some are actually FAMOUS, including:
Fictional sigma males:
Final Thoughts on Characteristics of a Sigma Male
Are you a sigma male? Then embrace your sigma male personality! Are you dating one? Cherish him! He's a difficult catch since he's not one to wear his heart on his sleeve. Are you striving to be a sigma male?
Begin your journey by cultivating the traits of this charming, mysterious, confident, self-reliant, uncomplicated, and emotionally intelligent guy. You can learn more about emotional intelligence and 6 Benefits of Improving Your Emotional Intelligence by reading this article. You won’t be sorry!
Finally, if you want to identify YOUR personality type, then take one of these 11 personality tests to better understand what makes you tick.