The modern alpha male is a perfect example of how our social and biological selves are runners on the evolutionary track.  Biology, weighed down by the process of natural selection and genetic mutations, is lagging behind the sprinting Social.  We are biologically drawn to them, but they often make non optimal partners.

Current research points to the negative qualities of high testosterone men as romantic partners, husbands, and fathers.

Why would women want that?  Social remifications aside, high testosterone usually means great sperm.

The visual markers of an alpha male are the physiological traits that scream high testosterone to the opposite sex.  We have also been biologically conditioned to find many of  these qualities physically or sexually attractive

Cheekbones and a defined Jaw Line

broad shoulders

heavy muscles in the arms and legs

capacity to store fat around the stomach area – (not attractive in itself, but women may prefer that to a guy with big hips)

deep voice

Societal Markers of an alpha male are the culturally derirable consequences of high testosterone males:

Women have been socially conditioned to find these qualities important, since they signify a man’s ability to provide and support during the vulnerable stage of pregnacy and raising a dependent young.




The Catch-22, however, is that the men who have been able to acquire the power, wealth, and status due to the interplay of their physiology (high testosterone) and socioeconomic factors (education, good upbringing) are also the ones who seem to be more likely to display less commitement to use these resources for a long term partnership and parental investment.  Or at least so it seems…


(Testosterone and Men’s Marriages Alan Booth, James M. Dabbs, Jr. Social Forces, Vol. 72, No. 2 (Dec., 1993), pp. 463-477)

Below are some examples of real modern day alpha males:

Former President Bill Clinton

Actor, George Clooney

Hugh Hefner, the ultimate Playboy



  1. Alek Said:

    I always thought that the alpha male is more of a psychological phenomenon rather than a physical. If it stems from a physical nature, why are there so many men with these physical characteristics that are very submissive?

  2. lovelab Said:

    Hi Alek,

    I think the previous post “The Modern Alpha Male” addresses this point, particularly the subsequent discussion between Christina and I.

    The physical characteristics seem to be a consequence of a certain biological makeup but they need not lead to an alpha male personality. For example, a man can have high testosterone levels which will give him a deep voice and other testosterone markers, but he may be lacking in the environmental influences that will render him an alpha (described in previous post) so that would allow for the situation you described (physical traits but not psychological ones).

  3. David Turley Said:

    It’s true. The physical part is only good for perception reasons only. It’s what women see sometimes. Not all big, brawny guys have tough, alpha male qualities. My Great Grandfather on my mother’s side stood only at 5 ft 4in and he wasn’t big at all, but he was tough and in control at all times. He owned his own buisness for most of his adult life. He was one of those man’s-man. If you want to steriotype physical apearances, what about perfessional athletes. There are some that came out as being Homosexual. Society has made many steriotypical comments on how a gay man looks like and how he acts on the outside which is small apperience, and sesitive personality. People call these types sissy boys. Would you say that to a 300 lb Linebacker. Alpha Male has more to do with choices that a male makes in his life and how he steps up as a leader, even if he gets put in that position without his consent. It’s also has to do with how he handles certain situations, good or bad. I don’t consider myself to be an Alpha Male or a Beta Male. I see myself with both traits.

  4. Sarah Said:

    So I’m dating a guy that deems himself a “modern alpha male” and somehow that translates into him not willing to call me his girlfriend after 6 months. WTF? Should I get rid of the guy and find a guy who is willing to commit or stick with this guy who is fun and great but doesn’t want to be tied down…. I think I know the answer.

    • lovelab Said:

      Hi Sarah,

      Although some guys choose not to commit because they have not met a woman whom they want to commit to, there are certainly those men who will always have a hard time committing. Alpha males do tend to fall in the latter category and if you are looking to settle down sometime soon you might be wasting your time. If you are really having a good time with this guy you and you are not ready to stop seeing him, then consider ‘not committing’ to him and keeping your options open. If you are only non exclusively, you have the right to date other men who may be better prospects for the future and you may want to exercise this option so that you are not wasting your time.

    • lovelab Said:

      In the future, please post comments on our new site location You can find all the articles on there, as well as many new articles and features. We also feature a Q&A where you can post your specific questions and I will reply.

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