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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 17 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 You Will Learn
- What Is a Sigma Male?
- Sigma Male and the Social Dominance Hierarchy
- Alpha Male VS Sigma Male
- 17 Powerful Signs and Traits of the Sigma Male
- Famous Sigma Males
- Final Thoughts on Characteristics of a Sigma Male
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.
17 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.
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.