A collection of succinct descriptions of the Sigma profile from around the Manosphere and elsewhere.
Alpha Game: The socio-sexual hierarchy (2011 March 5)
This is Vox’s original definition. For definitions of the other types (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc.), click on the link above.
Sigma: The outsider who doesn’t play the social game and manage to win at it anyhow.
The Sigma is hated by Alphas because Sigmas are the only men who don’t accept or at least acknowledge, however grudgingly, their social dominance. Alphas absolutely hate to be laughed at and a Sigma can often enrage an Alpha by doing nothing more than smiling at him. Everyone else is vaguely confused by them.
In a social situation, the Sigma is the man who stops in briefly to say hello to a few friends accompanied by a Tier 1 girl that no one has ever seen before. Sigmas like women, but tend to be contemptuous of them. They are usually considered to be strange.
Gammas often like to think they are Sigmas, failing to understand that Sigmas are not social rejects, they are at the top of the social hierarchy despite their refusal to play by its rules.
Lifetime sexual partners = 4x average+.
Krauser PUA: This is what Sigma looks like (2012 August 2)
Whereas an Alpha goes into a social situation expecting to dominate it, like an irresistable force, the Sigma resists being drawn into any situations, like an immovable object. He is transient and self-absorbed.
The Sigma mostly wants to be left alone to forge his own path and is troubled by society’s constant attempted to draw him back in, imposing restrictions and demands on his time and freedom. The Alpha actively engages in society to create or subvert these restrictions for his own gratification.
Didact’s Reach: The Way of the Sigma (2013 April 19)
Sigmas are not, by any means, party animals. They prefer to be left alone as much as possible, quite often because they are devoted to the art of perfecting themselves in whatever end they decide to pursue. Indeed, the natural Sigma is at his absolute happiest when you LEAVE. HIM. THE. F***. ALONE. A true Sigma is often a puzzling paradox to those who can only see someone’s exterior and are incapable of looking beyond it. Sigmas are socially reclusive, yet when the occasion calls for it they can be extremely charming. The fact is, though, that interacting with people is utterly exhausting for them. No Sigma that I’ve ever met- and I’ve only met a handful in my lifetime, since we don’t exactly advertise ourselves openly- claims to enjoy being around other people. Indeed, most Sigmas have an open disdain and even dislike of other people, seeing them as annoyances at best and outright obstacles to the task at hand at worst.
So how, then does one go from being an INTJ Gamma to an INTJ Sigma? Simple. It starts with a relentless quest for self-improvement. […]
To become a Sigma, you have to start with the premise that you are inadequate as you are. You have to identify your core strengths- and more importantly, your greatest weaknesses. […]
The attitude of the Sigma is not far removed from that of the natural Alpha — massive, almost irrational self-confidence, derived from personal and professional success in every field in which the Sigma ventures. You can’t get there with shortcuts, but you can get there if you work hard enough.
The Red Pill Room: Girl Game: Stalking the Wild Sigma (2013 April 5)
Dr. Ironwood writes some revealing insights about Sigmas to female readers seeking to lock one down.
Sigmas are a mystery by design, and in their immature form can resemble hapless Betas, misguided Gammas, or even a desperate Omega, for short periods of time. That is because they don’t come by social skills naturally, they usually have to observe and consciously integrate them. Especially about sex. The immature Sigma can stumble and flail wildly with this subject in his early years because he hasn’t yet discovered a comprehensive set of instructions on how to properly dip his wick (i.e. Game), but the desire to do so is very much there.
In mythology, centaurs were either rapacious beasts or wise counselors, or some combination of the two. That’s a Sigma: incredible passion and incredible intellect. In an immature Sigma, the Beast often rules, to disastrous result. As the Sigma matures, however, he tames his passion with reason, intellect, skill and education, essentially harnessing the beast to his command. A Sigma who develops self-mastery transforms from a clumsy, earnest, and often-misunderstood young man into a powerful and versatile mature man. And that versatility is key.
Mature Sigmas can develop the ability of inserting themselves into any social situation and find the place where their skills and abilities will do the most good. If there is no better leader available, a Sigma can display very strong Alpha characteristics. If a more-natural leader is available, a Sigma is content to fade back and advise in Beta mode, rather than contend for leadership. If there are leaders aplenty, then the Sigma will often step up as a mediator and negotiator. And if things are running smoothly, a Sigma is often content to accept a very minor role, but one which affords him an opportunity to still have subtle influence and a wide field of observation.
He is not afraid to use deception and misdirection, and his subtlety is often mistaken for passive-aggression by those unfamiliar with his methods. He can even mimic a Gamma Rabbit or uber-pathetic Omega, if it suits his purposes.
When a Sigma sets his mind to do something, he often submerges himself in it.
I will add that Sigmas have intense powers of concentration, an uncanny ability to stay focused on what he feels is important, despite naggings, protestations, and red herrings tossed up by others.
Sigmas are the Gandalfs, the Merlins, the Spocks. They are the men of skill and quiet, men of deep thought and calculation who seek not their own aggrandizement (although they have powerful egos) but the prosperity and success of themselves and those around them. A Sigma who has mastered himself often turns toward using his talents to a greater goal, inspiring people with his passion and persuading them with his reason.
Mature Sigmas like to get things done . . . by getting other people to do them. Enthusiastically.
The best places to find the immature Sigma in the wild often revolve around obscure and esoteric subjects, such as origami, comic books, robotics, technology, science, art, history, gaming, music, etc. All of the great disciplines of Nerdology. Sigmas are slow to commit, but once they do they tend to go all-in. They often seem petty or shallow at first, as they test and probe and try to figure you out. Don’t let it shake you. They’re watching everything you do with the calculating mind of a supercomputer. Sigmas tend to prefer women who don’t get rattled easily and who are not high maintenance, so displaying either of these will get you dropped.
Sigmas like to think their way out of problems. If one suddenly appears at your elbow, and you’re interested and want to hook him, a woman’s best counter-line is to propose a challenge involving skill or intelligence, and promise an increase in intimacy as a result. Be ultra-cautious with your presentation at first, as Sigmas tend to be skittish and will often bolt if they feel things aren’t going well (it’s a cost-benefit analysis sort of thing, don’t take it personally).
But don’t rely exclusively on your mind to intrigue him – don’t forget that big smelly beast with the eighteen-inch equine phallus lurking under the brainy exterior.
Sigmas are calculating opportunists. If you extend an invitation he can accept, he’ll be on like a pot of neckbones. Or just show him some boob. Sometimes we’re that easy.
A woman must be willing to tolerate some idiosyncratic behavior from a Sigma, sometimes bordering on the neurotic. Luckily it’s rarely dangerous or unhealthy – more “quirky” or “eccentric”.
Sigmas get bored easily in relationships, so if you are not up to near-constant intellectual challenge, you might want to find a nice Beta who likes sports. Keeping him intellectually stimulated is as important as keeping him erotically stimulated, or he can lose interest. If you can combine the two, so much the better. Many Sigmas are secret freaks in the bedroom, expressing their lustful passions with intense intellectual vigor.
What kind of woman is a Sigma seeking? While that varies greatly, in general a Sigma wants a trustworthy companion, an intriguing and inventive playmate, an intellectual equal willing to debate him passionately without taking it personally, a woman who is capable of being self-sufficient but who sees the advantages of a union and is not afraid of making that case. Sigmas are wary of entanglements, but appreciate a straightforward proposition despite their enjoyment of subtlety. Sigmas may marry late, and often vet a woman far beyond what a normal Alpha or Beta will.
The wife of a Sigma should be understanding of his peculiarities and appreciate them as features, not bugs. Trying to change a Sigma around the way you want him is an effort doomed to failure. You might think you got what you want, but more than likely he’s fooling you. Sigmas often attract attention from other females without realizing it – if they don’t know Game, then they don’t often recognize clear IOI’s. A woman who marries a Sigma should be prepared to mate-guard as needed, but with the understanding that (if he’s happy in the sexual end of things) he likely has little interest in pursuing an affair.
Emotionally, Sigmas can seem very distant… but when they do open up and connect, they do so unreservedly and sometimes overwhelmingly. They use humor and misdirection and verbal wittiness to maneuver their ways through social situations, and can often appear very charming and confident.
Remember that Sigmas are adept at masks, and the truth is under that mask there is a beast and a man. Cater to both, and you can ride him off into the sunset.
Girls Chase (feat. Halvor Jannike): The “Sigma Male”: An Alternative to Being the “Alpha Male” (2014 September 16)
The phrase “Sigma male” is used in the seduction community and Manosphere to denote strong, attractive men who run a nomadic strategy. Instead of trying to climb to the top of the social hierarchy, they ignore or make an effort to avoid social hierarchies in the first place. Thus, they don’t really have any definite “rank”.
They are the attractive stranger at a party that somebody brought with them, or the hot guy who goes out alone and returns with a woman. They might challenge the group dominance of Alphas, but pure Sigmas have no strong interest in having subordinates for extended periods. They will instead release control of the group as soon as they get their preferred outcome.
Sigmas tend to spend at least some time in isolation and only go out in order to meet women or close friends. They may be rather antagonistic towards people who don’t interest them, as they don’t have to care much about social consequences.
The Sigma strategy is more relevant today than what it was in the Stone Age. Today’s societies are much bigger than prehistoric tribes, many individuals are members of multiple social hierarchies, there are many more strangers, and there is a bigger opportunity of psychologically challenging the Alphas in today’s “tribes”, as there are legal sanctions against the use of violence.
However, it must be noted that the fact that one does not belong to a social hierarchy is not, merely by this fact alone, attractive. An unattractive guy sitting by himself in a corner when everybody else has fun illustrates this point.
The aspiring Sigma needs to have his fundamentals in order; otherwise he will be that guy in the corner.
In general, Alphas tend to be very extroverted guys who like to socialize for the sake of socialization, while Sigmas tend to be more introverted or not very interested in having a big social network. Most psychologists agree that the extroversion/introversion continuum is a valid dimension of personality and also that it has a significant heritable component, so there might be some genetic constraints on which strategy one will excel at.
Introverts are exhausted by too much socialization and need time alone to recharge, while extroverts are energized by socialization. It is important to note however that introversion is different from both shyness and bad social skills, though these traits often occur together for reasons to be explained.
However, I am of the belief that many guys who prefer to run the Alpha strategy already have learned this naturally, at least in Western and Westernized societies. The reason for this is that a lot of extroverted, highly social guys succeed with socialization and women without any instruction. These tend to be the cool guys who throw the parties during high school and who get laid during college. Some guys in the seduction community also prefer this approach, but from what I have seen, they are a minority.
In contrast, many introverted guys or guys who have “nerdy” interests will socialize less during their adolescence, especially with the opposite sex, and might thus underachieve in these areas without instruction. There are also some extroverted guys around who are not too interested in having large social circles.
Many guys who study seduction belong to these categories. They tend to prefer day game, online game, and less social kinds of night game. None of this has much to do with being a “pack leader”, “leader of men”, or Alpha in the biological sense, as you are neither gaming in big groups nor do you know the women in advance.
In day game and online game you are usually in one-on-one interactions. In night game, you will avoid many obstacles and logistical problems by going for smaller sets, effectively avoiding much of the group dynamic. This is the Sigma strategy, and many seducers are very good at it.
There is of course a significant overlap here, and running an Alpha strategy is not totally incompatible with running a Sigma strategy. Many of the beneficial mindsets and behavior patterns are similar.
If you put a Sigma into a social hierarchy, he will appear like he has a rather high position; while conversely an Alpha will usually not be clueless if he is talking to women he does not know. Experience from social circles is relevant for socially inexperienced guys even if they don’t aspire to be social circle gamers, as social intelligence is needed even in one-on-one interactions with women. And those who want to build large social circles will obviously also benefit from being good at interacting with complete strangers.
Social circles cannot be easily moved, so the Alpha male is also effectively a Sigma male when he is not around his social circle or subculture. Hybrid strategies where some time is spent in social circles and some time is spent cold approaching are obviously possible.
Alpha Game: Portrait of a Sigma (2015 February 24)
Krauser once said that this is Vox’s most striking elucidation of the Sigma.
The young [Sigma] is solitary, but successful with women despite being physically unremarkable, is likable and makes friends easily, but has little interest in a social life. He possesses unusual motivations and preferences, has strong willpower and a high level of self-discipline, and exists almost completely outside the normal social hierarchies. His interests fall on the obsessive side. He understands women on a level few men do, but has very little interest in them beyond their sexual utility and is more inclined to view them with contempt than place them on a pedestal. Relationships, both friendly and romantic, are open to him, but he instinctively shies away from them.
Sigmas are weird, and usually quite a bit more bent than they are superficially perceived. Needless to say, this socio-sexual profile has virtually nothing to do with the Gammas who are dissatisfied with their place in the social hierarchy or the Omegas who are largely barred from it. They can be reasonably described as a twisted form of introverted Alpha.
Tribal Roles (feat. Sarah Reynolds): The Sigma Male and the Omega Male: two case studies (2019 March 29)
The most nuanced description of Sigmas (in my opinion) comes from a woman outside the Manosphere! This lady knows her men!
Alphas lead, Betas follow, Sigmas get out of the way, and Omegas get in the way.
Healthy happy Sigmas live to serve or help the tribe: they are mission oriented and want to know that their life matters (or will matter, after they die) in terms of the overall tribe’s survival (very few people are Sigmas).
Sigmas, because they can see right through people’s personality facade so quickly, often find themselves preferring to avoid people altogether.
The thing that separates a healthy and happy Omega from a “hater and a loser” and a healthy and happy sigma from being a lone wolf is whether or not they have learned humility, or failing that, accepting the power dynamics of the tribe as they are (accepting “reality,” as it were).
Sigma males know instinctively that they have an edge on other people — and get this, dear reader — they also think that’s unfair, that that imbalance of power is strange and unfortunate. In contrast to Alphas, Sigmas feel obligated to use this advantage to help others. Sigmas are often smarter and stronger and understand how to motivate others to cooperate (and when they’re in a dark place, to manipulate others to do their bidding) better than the other members of the tribe. The Alpha of the tribe will recognize this a mile away and want the Sigma to contribute their unique gifts, for the greater good (the survival) of the tribe OR if it’s a bad Alpha, to exploit the skills of the Sigma to advance the Alpha’s personal agenda. The Sigma will do very bad things if it means expressing the ability to demonstrate their loyalty (let’s dive deeper and explore what it really is at its core: LOVE) for the tribe. And they will also do very good things for the same reason. Sigmas operate in the Gray Area. That said, there is a dark place that is not gray: you will find lone wolf Sigma terrorists and assassins-for-hire there (have you ever seen the Blacklist? Most of the criminals on that show are Sigma Males — and of course, the writers have developed the Raymond Reddington character to himself embody the quintessential Lone Wolf Sigma Male archetype. However, Sigmas usually have to feel betrayed by the tribe to go completely off grid.
Sigmas literally feel power. This is what it’s like for a Sigma to be in a large group, for example, mingling at a party or at a get-to-know-you event: Imagine walking through a fabric store and running your fingertips along velvet, feeling how soft it is, then along silk, feeling how smooth it is. Then along velcro and feeling how rough it is. Where Alphas have an inner weakness detector and hone in on a person’s most easily exploited flaw (or their greatest strength), Sigmas have a more nuanced way of detecting power and its many expressions, including authority and influence. They’re each different and that’s a secret kept from the majority of people. In a room of a hundred people, a Sigma will feel authority like a smooth piece of silk, power of influence like a soft velvet pillow, and they’ll feel weakness, including obsequiousness, pretension, deception, poseurs, haters and wannabes like rough sandpaper chafing their skin. What’s actually happening is the power deficit acts as a vacuum; those omegas in the room who wish they were pleasant likable betas or powerful alphas or betas who are dissatisfied with being mid-totem pole betas with some degree of influence who want to “gear up” for that next level, emanate a weird energy that is as distracting as the sound an actual vacuum would make. Everyone in the tribe emits a different signal and the Sigma walks around the room absorbing this information about them. The guilt that clings to the aura of an adulterous beta emits a signal to a Sigma. Or how about the sexual fantasies of a fellow Sigma? Or the secret vengeful plots of the Alpha? Yes, and yes. Anything having to do with power, control or authority will flag the Sigma male’s radar.
Compare & Contrast: The Sigma was motivated by the desire to FIGHT corruption whereas the Omega was motivated to EXPOSE the corruption. Sigmas are warriors. They don’t care who gets credit for the winning as long the fight is won. Omegas have this icky vengeance-based tendency toward self-sabotage.
The Sigma male will stay until the last moment of making a difference, however small. Once that time expires though, he’s out.
Sigmas always know if you have an ulterior motive, so it’s very hard for Sigma males to ever fall deeply in love; if the person who is displaying amorous intent is either under a delusion and is in love with the idea of the Sigma and does not see him for who he really is OR desires marriage to him for any reason other than love, he will end the relationship eventually and may remain single forever! Sigmas are not afraid to be alone. Compare this to Betas who prefer to be in a relationship rather than out of one, and usually will not leave one unless there’s another one ready and waiting on the back burner. Yes, Betas are the members of the tribe who are most likely to cheat!
Bottom Line: Omegas and Sigmas both do [better] with mentorship. A Sigma will fight and scratch and claw their way to making a difference in the world, no matter what. Even if they have to work a day job for the rest of their lives and personally bankroll the meetup for whatever world-improving cause they’re waving a flag for. That is not the case with Omegas. They want the recognition. They need it. Ideally, they would be mentored or else be placed under the auspices of an Alpha who can manage some of their expectations and impulsiveness. […] A Sigma who is taking huge risks without a long term plan is either untethered from the tribe but still wants to make a difference by going “all in” OR is punishing the tribe for its betrayal by withholding their warrior gifts. Sigmas do well with a Sigma mentor but they sure do love having an Alpha boss!
- The Z Man: Sigma Male [Ted Cruz] Versus Alpha Male [Donald Trump] (2016 March 29)
- Tribal Roles (feat. Sarah Reynolds): The Elusive Sigma Male (video) (2019 January 31)