You may have heard people talking about alpha male and beta male, where the former is the leader of the pack and the latter is more of a follower. These male archetypes have been around for ages. Men are far too complex to be labeled either alpha or beta. This article will look at another male archetype, the sigma male, including the common characteristics and personality traits that define him. You will also discover the distinct differences of alpha male vs sigma male.
Before we begin, it is important to remember that an archetype is a symbol or idea. Men and women alike are unique and rarely embody an archetype. To label yourself as alpha, sigma, beta, or whatever else can be limiting. There may be times in your life when you do not feel strong and independent, where you struggle to go your own way, and when you need the reassurance of a community. That is perfectly normal.
The sigma male, though just another archetype, has pros and cons. They value the sigma male as better than or more attractive and worthy than others, only to perpetuate the idea that some are better than others. The deeper truth, one that may liberate us from trying to fit into boxes, is that nobody else is better than you, and you are no better than anybody else.
Still, one of the most interesting aspects of the sigma male lifestyle is understanding just that. A true sigma male does not need to label himself as a sigma. The need for a label is placing oneself within the hierarchy. The sigma’s aversion to hierarchy also means that he does not need a label to understand himself and his place in the world.
What Is a Sigma Male?
A sigma male definition is a confident, self-assured, and independent man. He has the confidence and drive of an alpha male but is typically quieter about it. He has strong leadership qualities, and his confidence is contagious. The sigma male archetype does not fit neatly into a classic dominance hierarchy. The alpha stands at the top in a typical dominance hierarchy, fighting through asserted dominance and power. Other male archetypes on the scale fall under the alpha, such as the beta, which typically takes orders from the alpha.
The sigma exists outside the hierarchy yet has the power of alpha. They are intelligent, confident, and would make a great leader. The difference between alpha and sigma is that the sigma does not want to be part of the hierarchy. In fact, they do not care about social hierarchies much at all. They prefer to lead themselves, think for themselves, and work alone.
Alpha Male vs Sigma Male: What Is the Difference?
While the alpha competes to maintain his place at the top of the social hierarchy, the sigma could not care less about it. The alpha has worked hard to get to his position or social status, but such a position is meaningless for the sigma. Sigma males prefer to leave behind the entire concept of a dominance hierarchy and instead focus on themselves. They choose to work on things they love and to make a meaningful life for themselves, over showing off to others and basing their worth on others’ perceptions of them.
Characteristics of the Sigma Male Personality
An independent man is typically a sigma male, meaning he creates his own life, his own structure, and assigns his own meaning to his days. The stereotypical alpha asserts his dominance and masculinity to prove or show it off to others. He must secure his place in the group by asserting his strength and power over others. The sigma does not need to assert his dominance explicitly and instead takes a more ‘lone wolf’ approach to life. They can lead a pack if needed, but they prefer to work alone or in small groups.
Sigma males tend to be confident loners, which only adds to their appeal. They are human, so they naturally need connection and healthy interdependence, but the sigma also enjoys solitude. They can tolerate being alone without worrying about it too much because they typically have a rich inner world and appreciate the time to rest and reflect.
Sigma males hate to be too involved in dominance hierarchies. Their disdain for big displays of power and control makes them independent. They set their boundaries, follow their rules, and do things on their schedule. Of course, they need to balance that with their environment and community, but they figure it out.
The sigma male does not worry about other people’s opinions of them. Of course, they work on their relationships and keep them healthy, but they are not people pleasers. They are confident and self-assured and do not need to please others or seek their approval. As such, they can be incredibly charismatic. There is an air of mystery around them that people respect and are attracted to.
The sigma male thinks for themselves. They do not rely on others to provide unquestioned information. It is not just that they prefer to think for themselves; instead, they need to. If they take information from the alpha of a group or someone else, they do not immediately trust it. The sigma develops strong mental abilities through observation, critical and lateral thinking, and constantly questioning their information.
The sigma male mentality is adaptable in the face of change. An alpha male mentality may notice a difference within the hierarchy and fight to prevent it. The sigma male accepts that things change, and instead of trying to force his way or prevent change from happening, he shifts his mindset to adapt to the changing circumstances.
The alpha is highly influential, but a sigma is influential too. A powerful sigma might not have the whole community waiting on their words, but through their actions and behaviors and commitment to living their own lives, they can inspire others to do so too. When a sigma inspires others, they may share a small group from time to time and work together. Still, the group tends to dissipate or become another hierarchy.
Where Does Sigma Fit on the Socio-Sexual Hierarchy?
Vox Day first develops the socio-sexual hierarchy, a controversial far-right activist and writer. It refers to different male archetypes’ positions regarding their appeal and level of success on the dating scene. According to hierarchy, those at the top are more attractive and appealing to women and enjoy more sexual success. Those who are low on the hierarchy struggle to attract women and are typically sexually unsuccessful. The classic order of ranking goes as follows:
1. Alpha Male
The Alpha is the leader of the wolf pack. They are goal-oriented and success-driven. The alpha typically strives for high achievement in personal and professional life.
2. Beta Male
The beta male is usually likable and amicable but is prone to manipulation. They typically work for others and do a great job in doing so, but their service to others can distract them from their own deeper purpose.
3. Delta Male
The delta male type is typically hard-working and driven, but they have difficulty letting go of anger. Rather than being driven by purpose and meaning, they tend to source their motivation from comparison and anger in a grudge-like fashion. That tendency can negatively impact their relationships. A delta male may release himself from this type by working on anger and resentment.
4. Gamma Male
The gamma male has positive qualities such as sensitivity and kindness but may struggle with acceptance, both from others and within themselves. Self-acceptance and confidence are how a gamma male can break the pattern of their type.
5. Omega Male
Unfortunately, the omega male falls on the bottom rank of the socio-sexual hierarchy. They are typically self-deprecating and are prone to exclusion. Confidence is usually an issue for an omega male. He can work on personal growth by quitting self-deprecation and practicing assertiveness and self-love.
What About the Sigma Male?
The sigma male archetype is said to match the rank of the alpha male on the socio-sexual hierarchy. His charm and confidence are attractive and make him a desirable sexual partner. Unlike the lower ranks, the sigma male gives himself the approval he needs. He understands that meaning and validation also come from others. Still, he works on having healthy and mature relationships to get those needs met rather than seeking validation outside the healthy relationships, such as from people who do not love him.
Is the Socio-Sexual Hierarchy Real?
Don’t take the hierarchy too seriously. As mentioned earlier, we don’t fit neatly into boxes and can play different roles and positions throughout our life. Still, one of the primary reasons why the sigma is considered sexually ‘successful’ is his independence allows a sexual partner to trust him.
Are you stuck in the hierarchy?
If you think you are a beta, delta, or otherwise, that is not a solid definition of who you are. As humans, we grow and change all the time, and even when we behave in ways that do not serve us, we can address those behaviors and beliefs and reframe them for our benefit.
So, suppose you think you rank low on the socio-sexual hierarchy. In that case, the first step in overcoming any worry or anxiety related to that belief is to let go of the hierarchy altogether. In doing so, you invoke the sigma male archetype as a method of freeing yourself from such labels altogether.
Sigma Male vs the Man Child
There is another popular term widely used today – the ‘man-child’. The term ‘man-child’ refers to adult men who, though on the surface may seem mature and grown-up, exhibit teenage or childish tendencies just beneath the surface. Perhaps they treat romantic partners like mothers or focus heavily on nostalgia and compensate for things they lacked in their childhood. The man-child typically deters women because no woman wants to play the role of a mother to her romantic partner.
The sigma male archetype embodies a fully grown man. That does not mean a man who had no childhood issues or liked to play games from his childhood. Instead, it means that a man who has emotionally integrated his childhood and teenage years into his current age respects his romantic or sexual partner’s autonomy and independence as equal to his own.
Why Do Women Prefer a Sigma?
A woman will find a sigma male attractive because she does not have to worry about him using her to heal some unhealed attachment wound from his childhood. If you think you have ‘man-child’ tendencies, it is wise to explore and address them. That is not always easy since it may cause childhood wounds to resurface. Still, the rewards of doing the work are worth it—not just to be more attractive and appealing to women but to live a healthy life as a mature and free adult instead of the repeating cycles of pain and avoidance that offer comfort from unresolved pain.
How to Become a Sigma Male
If you want to become more of a sigma male, then find those sigma qualities in yourself and work on them. They may take time to develop, but you will be glad you put in the work. Cultivate independence (but maintain healthy relationships), practice compassion for others, but give it to yourself first, and learn to be more adaptable when things go unexpectedly. Most of all, learn to trust yourself. You can make decisions that feel right with self-trust, even when others doubt you. The more you do that, the more you realize that you can pave your way in life, the more you embody the sigma.
The sigma male is becoming increasingly popular, while the alpha male, though still very present in society, is becoming somewhat of a tired archetype. That is not to say that one is better than the other. Still, the sigma male has a powerful appeal in today’s world of confusion, constant change, and the increasing need for adaptability, compassion, and independence.