The Science Behind the Sigma Male

Does a Sigma male fall in love?
on March 15, 2024
Read time: 10 mins
by Moraya Seeger DeGeare

While the Alpha male has long stood as the epitome of desirability and leadership, a new archetype is quietly asserting its presence with an undeniable impact — the Sigma male. 

Alpha males may make up 10% of the male population, where do the rest of men fall on the socio-sexual hierarchy? Previously, we would have categorized everyone who wasn’t the leader as the sidekick, but what about the mystery men who rule from the sidelines? 

Meet the Sigma male, the elusive and enigmatic character that has the dating world reeling. 

Introverted, self-assured, and totally non-conformist, is this lone wolf something to be feared or fawned over? 

Key Takeaways
  • The sigma male archetype represents a shift in what is considered attractive and desirable in modern social and dating landscapes. Unlike the traditionally dominant alpha male, sigma males attract with their independence, self-reliance, and mystery.
  • Sigma males prioritize living life on their own terms, valuing self-sufficiency and autonomy over social dominance or leadership. This independence is a hallmark of their appeal, showcasing a different form of strength and confidence.
  • While sigma and alpha males share traits of self-sufficiency and confidence, sigmas distinguish themselves through their lack of interest in social hierarchies and leadership roles. Sigma males thrive outside traditional social structures, unlike alphas who seek and often excel in leadership positions.
  • Sigma males can fall in love and engage in romantic relationships, but their love for independence and solitude may present challenges in developing deep emotional intimacy. However, when matched with compatible partners who respect and understand their unique qualities, sigma males can form lasting, meaningful connections.

What is a sigma male? 

While alpha males used to be the most desired personality type, there has been a recent surge of interest for the sigma male on social media (and in the modern dating world.) 

The man of mystery, these self-reliant males ooze a self-confidence that is taking modern dating by storm. But what does a sigma male mean? 

According to the Vox Day socio-sexual hierarchy (created by Theodore Robert Beale), sigma males are “the outsiders who don’t play the social game and manage to win it anyhow.” Instead of emulating the traits of the traditional alpha male archetype, sigma males live life on their own terms and don’t conform to the usual societal structures. 

Sigma males are commonly referred to as lone wolves, as they are incredibly self-sufficient and independent, usually going off to do their own thing. While they show high levels of emotional intelligence, they are non-conformist by nature and don’t desire to be the center of attention. 

Instead of feeding into the socio-sexual hierarchy, they run the other way. Therefore, while they are incredibly enigmatic and naturally draw attention to themselves, they intentionally place themselves in the loner category — which usually only adds to their allure. 

Is Sigma higher than Alpha?

According to the social hierarchy that originates these terms, sigma males are traditionally considered lower than alpha males. 

Alphas sit at the top of the scale, followed by beta males, deltas, gammas, omega males, and so on. However, while sigmas technically sit quite low on the scale (due to their outsider status), their social power is not to be underestimated — as it simply works differently. 

The traits of a sigma male can actually hold many similarities with alpha males, as they are both incredibly self-sufficient. However, while alphas are naturally invested in the social dominance hierarchy, due to their leadership qualities — sigma males are not compelled to lead in the same way. 

This is why sigma men can also be likened to introverted alpha males, as while they possess many of the same qualities, they thrive outside of the traditional hierarchy structure. They don’t seek validation from their peers, preferring to live by their own rules and steering clear of most societal norms. 

While many would think these personality traits would leave them outside the competition, the allure of mystery seems to catapult them to the top! 

Is being a Sigma male a good thing?

Many men might ask, “How do I know if I’m a Sigma male?”, “Where do I fall on the hierarchy?” or perhaps most importantly, “Is it a good thing if someone calls me a Sigma male?” 

Being a sigma male is not considered a bad thing, and has significantly less negative connotations than a gamma male or other archetypes on this hierarchy. 

As lone wolves, sigma males operate outside the traditional structure, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t as ‘good’ as an alpha or beta personality. To better understand the inner workings of a sigma male, it’s important to look at the traits associated with this personality type… and if they add up as a compliment. 

Key characteristics of the Sigma male personality

Introverted: Fitting in with their lone wolf stereotype, sigma males typically prefer their own company above all else. While not necessarily shy, sigma males are often considered as introverts. They are comfortable being alone and may choose to steer clear of most social situations — preferring smaller, more intimate social gatherings with their loved ones to large parties.
Self-sufficiency: Sigma males are highly independent, both emotionally and financially. They prioritize self-sufficiency do not rely on social hierarchies and don’t care about their perceived social status.
Non-conformity: They prefer to do things their own way, and probably don’t care what other people think about that! They are not rebels without a cause but rather individuals who consciously choose paths that are aligned with their personal values and beliefs, even if these are unconventional.
Adaptability: Despite their preference for solitude, sigma males are highly adaptable and can navigate different social settings when needed. They can blend into various social environments without changing their core identity. Even though they don’t opt for leadership like their alpha peers, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t powerful when they want to be.
Mysterious: Due to their reserved nature and tendency to keep to themselves, sigma males often come across as mysterious or enigmatic to others. While they might radiate a quiet self-confidence, they would never come across as cocky — adding to their allure and mystery.
Intellectual: While they might not be in the center of the room talking about their interests, they are often well-read or have expertise in areas they are passionate about.
Strategic: Sigma males tend to be incredibly self-aware, with the ability to plan ahead and consider the long-term consequences of their actions. These strategic abilities lend themselves well to a quieter form of leadership. Unlike alpha males, whose leadership may be more overt and based on dominance within social hierarchies, sigma males lead by example, innovation, or through the power of their ideas.

Does the Sigma male fall in love? 

As an elusive, mysterious character, it can feel like Sigma males walked from the pages of your favorite romance novel. While a mystery man holds a lot of allure, their innate characteristics can actually put up some barriers when it comes to healthy romantic relationships.  

Famous examples of sigma males in modern media include James Bond, Clint Eastwood, Jason Bourne, Han Solo, and of course Keanu Reeves (both as John Wick and in his personal life!) 

But as the story goes, while these men might have passionate romantic connections, their desire for solitude can often cut these relationships short (their roles as assassins might also have something to do with it!) 

Aside from Hollywood examples, the concept of sigma males characterized by independence, self-sufficiency, and a preference for operating outside traditional social hierarchies, does not inherently preclude the capacity for romantic attachment or emotional intimacy. 

Even though they can fall in love, their love for independence can limit their ability to foster deep emotional intimacy. However, this doesn’t mean that they are inherently doomed in romantic relationships, or that you should steer clear of sigma males in the dating world. 

Like anyone else, the nature of their romantic engagements and their approach to love is influenced by their personality, life experiences, and compatibility with their chosen partner. The key for Sigma males, as for anyone, is finding a relationship that respects and complements their unique approach to life! 

“The Sigma male relationship can thrive with partner or partners who are secure, independent, and can communicate their needs,” Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist and In-House Expert at Paired.

“If their partner pulls away expecting their partner to chase them, it won’t work. This could lead to a lonely relationship for both. The relationship would need someone who loves deep connection but does not need it every day.”

So maybe that mystery man is for you after all! 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What zodiac signs are associated with sigma males?

    Even though there is no direct correlation between the socio-sexual hierarchy and astrology, certain zodiac signs in males can emulate sigma characteristics. For example, Scorpios, Capricorns, Aquarius, and Sagittarius are commonly associated with Sigma males.
  • Are there Sigma females?

    While not as commonly acknowledged. Sigma females can exist and emulate many of the same traits. Just like their male counterparts, sigma females are characterized by their independence, self-sufficiency, and a tendency to operate outside the traditional social hierarchies. They are individuals who prioritize personal goals and values over conforming to societal expectations or roles typically associated with gender.
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