Dating and Relationship Advice

You’ve probably heard of the made-up categories for male personality types: alpha males and beta males.

Well, there’s a new guy in town: the sigma male. Thanks to a viral Twitter post, the internet is currently going wild over this newly discovered personality type.

But what in the world is a sigma male? And why should you care?

Let’s start at the beginning.

Alphas and Betas

The idea of the “alpha” male comes from the theory of alpha leaders in wolf packs. In the wild, wolves are ranked according to their strength and status, and some falsely believe that this hierarchy translates to human men. Pack theory has been thoroughly debunked, but the idea of a macho, confident, aggressive dude has persisted.

The stereotypical alpha male is that dude who won’t stop sending shots to your table, even though you repeatedly said no. Alpha men are outgoing, demanding, “guy’s guys” who want to not only bring home the bacon, but also the biggest, baddest bacon. And they need to tell everyone about how amazing they are for obtaining said meat.

Beta males are the total opposite. Sometimes referred to as the nice guy or the nerd, a beta is an introvert through and through. Moderate and reserved, betas collaborate with others and are generally well-liked, even though this means they get taken advantage of. The beta male is the one who helps you into a cab after you drank some of the shots that the alpha sent over. And even though you want him to kiss you goodnight, he would never, ever make the first move.

Sigma Males

Where does the elusive sigma come in? If alpha males are the leaders of the wolf pack, sigmas are the lone wolves. If James Bond is an alpha, Jack Ryan is a sigma. Commanding but quiet, intriguing yet mysterious, these men are successful but don’t need to tell you about it all the time. The sigma is the hot guy who's been sitting at the end of the bar with his headphones on and not looking over at you, even though you’ve been willing him to with all your might.

We all know that the alpha, beta, sigma stuff is total pseudoscience. But speaking as a heterosexual woman, these sigma male traits seem far more appealing than the stereotypical alpha male ones.

For example, sigmas are supposed to excel at being quiet and listening.  They don’t need to convince everyone they’re right or even broadcast their opinions 24/7. I can’t even begin to express how much of a game-changer that is for a relationship.

Plus, sigma males are humble. They can be confident and sure of themselves, but quietly so. They don’t need to chest thump and mansplain all over the place. Truly a breath of fresh air for a woman who's been swimming through a sea of flexing, man-spreading dudes who need to be sure you’re aware of their most recent personal best bench press.

We also like that these sigma males are intelligent—emotionally, mentally and socially. We like that they're strong and capable but not afraid to be gentle or show weakness.


At the end of the day, pack theories have been thoroughly debunked and we shouldn't take them too seriously. But that hasn't stopped some men from obsessing over whether they're alpha, beta, or sigma. Perhaps the rise in identifying "sigma males" has some benefits—it will encourage men to listen more and act humbly without feeling like they're sacrificing their masculinity. To all the men out there: don't let some outdated model of masculinity stop you from being yourself. Authenticity is far more attractive than any of these alpha, beta, sigma categorizations.

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