The Alpha male = asshole

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Jan74

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I'm posting this blog because it's exactly how I feel about so many of these novels that have the alpha male, yet to me the alpha male should not be an abusive dick wad. I'm sad to see so many of these novels with men who in real life would be flagged as abusive and women should run the other way from.
Quote from the blog.
"The alpha male is confident. Brave. Fierce. Unwavering. Protective. He’s a sexual powerhouse. Sometimes cocky and his ego can get the better of him. He’s in great physical shape. He’s a natural leader, and someone people find themselves drawn to. When he tells you he loves you, he means it. The alpha male is a man’s, man. He probably eats a shit load of steak and loves beer, scotch and whiskey. The alpha male has purpose and drive. He has values, he knows how to treat a woman and above all else – he is true to himself no matter what because he knows who he is. He’s the kind of guy that most often gets described as smelling like tobacco and cologne, or smoke and spice or…whatever bonkers but super masculine scent combination us writers like to come up with."

Here's what he's become.
Quote from blog
"Moody and brooding almost 70% of the time. Hyper jealous, insanely possessive and controlling. Complete assholes…oh, to make up for some traumatic event in their life most likely. They disappear only to reappear and the woman takes them back…because he’s just an alpha and that’s what they do. Ego’s bigger than Texas, and acting like overgrown babies when another man even dares to speak to “their woman.” I’m surprised some of them didn’t toss the heroine over their shoulder cave-man style and carry them back to their lair so they can have over the top sex, and she doesn’t complain because he’s just so darn irresistible."


https://alynehart.com/2017/08/06/the-problem-with-the-alpha-male/

It's just something that is driving me crazy in the genre. And what is even more disheartening is sometimes I'm blindsided by it mid novel after enjoying the book and then half way through the guy I really like turns into a possessive creep.

So if any of you have read some great alpha male romance novels where he isn't an asshole and doesn't treat the woman like a child I would love to gather a list so I don't waste any more of my precious reading time on losers.

Ok vent over.
 

blackcat777

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I don't have any literary examples, but just a comment on the phenomenon in general--a lot of people are attracted to "assholes" because they set personal boundaries (albeit in toxic ways). It's the same theory behind "Why Men Love Bitches," it isn't SUPPOSED to be about treating other people badly, just about having self-respect and knowing when to say no.

But the two are so often erroneously conflated. Drives me bonkers.

There is also serious sex-appeal in a man with decision making capacities, but again, it's so often taken to an unhealthy extreme.

I'd love to see more examples of healthy alpha leadership in fiction... or be directed to some titles that already exist.

so I don't waste any more of my precious reading time on losers.
:)
 

Jan74

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Are you familiar with the term "alpha-hole"? It's quite useful...

No, never heard that term....but I LOVE it!!!!! What's sad is I love a good Alpha male....I mean I love a protective fit do anything for my woman man....I just hate that some authors are turning this wonderful man into an abusive jealous possessive creep :( yuck!!! It's such a turn off and I'm glad I now have a name for him, alpha-hole!!!!
 

Jan74

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I don't have any literary examples, but just a comment on the phenomenon in general--a lot of people are attracted to "assholes" because they set personal boundaries (albeit in toxic ways). It's the same theory behind "Why Men Love Bitches," it isn't SUPPOSED to be about treating other people badly, just about having self-respect and knowing when to say no.

But the two are so often erroneously conflated. Drives me bonkers.

There is also serious sex-appeal in a man with decision making capacities, but again, it's so often taken to an unhealthy extreme.

I'd love to see more examples of healthy alpha leadership in fiction... or be directed to some titles that already exist.

:)
exactly.

I don't want to read about men that I would be telling my daughter to run from. I think many women have endured toxic relationships and I'm ok reading about the toxic relationship as long as the reader knows it's toxic and its not fluffed up to be romantic or something the woman wants. In other words don't disguise an asshole and make him appear to be an alpha male when he's not. The real alpha would be disgusted by a man who treats a woman like that.
 

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Julie James writes good contemporary romances with heroes who are alpha but not alpha-holes, and are also well-matched by the heroines. I think I've heard someone call her heroes beta, but IMHO, they are definitely alpha, but not crazy possessive and controlling assholes.
 

Tazlima

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There are people who, for reasons I've never been able to understand, conflate respect and fear. To me, they're not only different, but polar opposites. People I genuinely respect, I don't fear, and those few people I fear, I also find contemptable.

I suppose it's because the two traits can, when combined with a position of authority, evoke similar behaviors in response. However, by that logic, one may as well say that extreme heat and extreme cold are the same thing, simply because people build shelters and don long clothing to protect from both.
 
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Roxxsmom

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It doesn't surprise me that different writers and fans have different definitions about what an alpha male is. The concept is fraught with contention, even in animal biology, and for some species (such as wolves) the concept has been abandoned entirely.

It persists in pop culture, however (it will not die in dog training, which is maddening, because it leads to cruel and dangerous training techniques by people who have no academic or professional training at all in animal behavior but look good on TV), and one person's asshole is another person's aphrodisiac.

Even in species with hierarchies, however, dominance within individual relationships (defined by preferential access to resources both individuals desire and need) can be complex and situational. Hierarchies aren't always linear either. This is even more true in humans, where people have areas of expertise or competence that may put them in charge in different situations and subordinate in others. The idea that some animals have "dominant" personalities is rather overstated. In fact, according to some, aggressive and controlling individuals are actually lacking in status, self esteem or confidence. Even the relationship between something as seemingly straightforward as testosterone and aggression is debated and may be complex and situational.

I can't stand traditional "alpha male" characters myself (unless a big fall or comeuppance is coming within the story). I like heroes of all genders to have strength of character and areas of competence, but I also like them to have humility and a generous dollop of self introspection (and some self doubt too). And I like love stories where the two main characters both have strengths and areas of competence and neither one has to be "in charge" all the time.
 
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Tazlima

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FWIW, a newly adopted dog is going to be plunked down in a household with complete strangers of, at a bare minimum, one different species from themselves. Because they don't start from the same"parent/child" dynamic they enjoyed with their parents, there is a period of learning their position within the household, and that position can influence their behavior in some pretty significant ways. So whilethe "alpha wolf" study was completely flawed as research into wild wolf behavior, it's not a terrible starting point for studying domestic dogs,most of whom find themselves in a similarly unnatural and stressful situation at least once in their lives.

It's sort of the canine equivalent of studying human behavior in large cities, where individuals encounter large numbers of strangers every day. It's a completely unnatural living situation for a species that has spent most of its history living in small, tight-knit groups, but it's nonetheless super-common, and there are specialized coping mechanisms for dealing with it.

Much of the training I received decades ago under the heading of "alpha" training (or more commonly, "dominance training"), particularly when working with puppies, was nothing more than assuming the parental role in the relationship and communicating that fact to the pup, largely by imitating canine parental behavior ...no violence involved.

As a result, I never had a problem with the word "alpha (male or female)," but, like so many otherformerly-straightforward words ("feminism" for example), it's been assigned so many different and distorted meanings, been so misunderstood, and become so contentious that these days it's lost most of its clarity and usefulness as a term.
 
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Marian Perera

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...and one person's asshole is another person's aphrodisiac.

This. I once wrote a rant-review of a certain romance for Smart Bitches Trashy Books. Just a few of the things the "hero" did to the heroine : paid men to kidnap and/or sexually assault her on two different occasions, kidnapped her himself, threatened to murder her younger brother if she didn't marry him, and finally, once she was his wife, arranged for her to be delivered bound and blindfolded to a crowd of perverts so they could gang-rape her. All this because he hates the heroine's family and wants to destroy them.

And a small subset of readers loved the book (as one of them put it, when he wasn't doing anything sociopathic, he was a "sweetie"). It may have been the sheer over-the-top characterization, resulting in a jaw-dropped awe at how incredibly dark and edgy he was. Sort of the romance novel version of the Saw movies. There's also a contrast effect - if the alphahole routinely abuses the heroine, his one or two kind moments shine all the brighter in comparison, so in that particular novel, I suppose he looked like a man redeemed when he finally stopped the perverts as they were spreading her legs.

I think the knowledge that there'll be a HEA softens the impact of the alphahole a lot. Without that reassurance, what he does looks like sick mind games, abuse and rape. With it, these are more like missteps along the road to love, and some readers do enjoy a grovel or a dramatic gesture of devotion at the end.

Personally, I like alpha males if "alpha" is defined as assertive, competent and protective. I loathe the kind of hero who sweats testosterone, swaggers, is insanely jealous, tries to intimidate others, and invades a woman's personal space. If a hero is in a position of power or authority, he needs to be like Captain Aubrey in Master and Commander - take-charge and confident, but the kind of leader who knows that other people are just as capable of bringing something of value to the table. And I vastly prefer a sense of humor to cockiness. If I ever get the impression the guy is full of himself, there needs to be a lot to make up for it.

I'm also not into over-the-top sexuality, such as the hero with the constant erection. The heroine smiles at him, he's hard. She blows her nose, he's hard. They have sex five times in one night, but at the end... you guessed it. Or he's aggressive when it comes to women. Rape isn't as common in romance as it used to be, but I've still read way too many scenes where the hero and heroine first meet, and he's so turned on that he imagines her naked under him, makes sexually suggestive comments, touches or kisses her, etc. Usually while she huffs, splutters, flushes or has some other stereotypically helpless reaction.

I'll see if I can come up with some good alpha male novels later. :)
 

Roxxsmom

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One huge difference between domestic dogs and wolves is the domestic dog's social flexibility and their ability to form bonds with new individuals and adapt to new social systems throughout their adult lives. Wolves don't generally accept strangers into their packs, while most domestic dogs do (with proper introduction). Wolf packs defend their territories from intruders very aggressively. Dogs vary in how strongly territorial they are, but most can accept new family members. And while wolves mate mongamously for life and both parents take part in the rearing of the pups, dogs are anything but monogamous, and the males don't help with rearing pups. Feral dogs don't form stable pack structures, though they will form looser social aggregations where individuals come and go. Domestic dogs also mature more quickly, come into estrus 2x a year (in most cases) and retain many juvenile behaviors into adulthood (behavioral neoteny is common in domestication, and is part of the evolution of humans too).

It makes sense that domestic dogs are more flexible socially, as these are traits that would both contribute to domesticability in their ancestors and be further selected for (both deliberately by humans and incidentally) once domestication was underway. It's why we can buy and sell dogs and go to shelters and adopt them as adults with (usually) good results, and why humans can control their breeding and train them throughout life.

Of course it's good to provide structure and consistency with dogs in a household, especially new ones, but that is not the same thing as using physical force and punishment (and setting up conflicts) to establish human "alpha-ness." Things like alpha rolls, shakedowns and pinch collars are outdated and unnecessary, and they can endanger both dogs and humans. When trainers say the "alpha" concept is outdated, they're not saying humans shouldn't train their dogs or make rules and reinforce them consistently. It's about the methods used and the philosophical and biological underpinnings.

This is all an aside, since we're talking about human "alpha" males in this thread, but humans aren't chimps or gorillas (even less so than dogs are wolves), and behaviors that work for them in the wild are not necessarily the best for our species either.

Even more than dogs, of course, humans are infinitely varied and flexible in their behavior, and it's often very hard to separate culturally reinforced behaviors and emotions from biology too. Which is why I roll my eyes when guys "mansplain" to me that I really want men to take charge, control, and protect me (any more than I protect him when the situation warrants it) and that it's attractive to all women when guys act like "alphas." I wouldn't want a husband to control or "train" me, even if he used positive reinforcement :p
 
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ElaineA

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I don't know when, in the current era of romance Alphas, we started seeing more "alpha-holes" than simply "strong, masculine" characters, but I do know one reader's SMC is another reader's alpha-hole and vice versa. When I saw book-version Jamie Fraser referred to as an alpha-hole I gave up trying to understand who was what. I suppose Eric Northman was an alpha-hole, too, but I always loved him, probably because Sookie took no shit from him. OTOH, I won't bother to crack the spine on a FSOG book because I know instinctively from the snippets I've read I won't be able to tolerate C. Grey.

That's why it's hard to make recs. I think what LJD said in post 7 is really true. If the LI opposite the Alpha male holds their own in the story, isn't continually mowed down by him, and can deliver a comeuppance now and again, it can drag him back from the alphahole brink. (I think this slip from alpha to alphahole happens in M/m, too, so I'm trying not to restrict my response to women LI characters.) So maybe one tactic might be to look for books that have a strong LI. (This is one of the reasons I like Suspense romance. The two are usually more equally matched.) On the other hand, there are plenty of male alpha characters who are loving and caring, and while strong, never become alphaholes. The problem, as you say, is taking a chance on a book trying to find one, only to be unpleasantly surprised.

@Jan & @blackcat, what genres/subgenres are you most interested in reading? From there, I bet we can rec authors, at the very least. There are plenty that are pretty dependable in this regard.
 

Anna_Hedley

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Neither the alpha nor the alpha hole character as described in that blog are appealing to me. I actually read a lot more F/F romance than anything else now because I find that I'm less likely to encounter romance tropes that I hate and there's far less likely to be a stereotypical relationship where one character is a very femme bottom or submissive and the other is a very masc top or dominant than M/F or M/M romance. Obviously romance is a very varied genre but those tropes are so prevalent it's frustrating to sift through that stuff to try and find things I actually like.
 

Jan74

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This. I once wrote a rant-review of a certain romance for Smart Bitches Trashy Books. Just a few of the things the "hero" did to the heroine : paid men to kidnap and/or sexually assault her on two different occasions, kidnapped her himself, threatened to murder her younger brother if she didn't marry him, and finally, once she was his wife, arranged for her to be delivered bound and blindfolded to a crowd of perverts so they could gang-rape her. All this because he hates the heroine's family and wants to destroy them.

And a small subset of readers loved the book (as one of them put it, when he wasn't doing anything sociopathic, he was a "sweetie"). It may have been the sheer over-the-top characterization, resulting in a jaw-dropped awe at how incredibly dark and edgy he was. Sort of the romance novel version of the Saw movies. There's also a contrast effect - if the alphahole routinely abuses the heroine, his one or two kind moments shine all the brighter in comparison, so in that particular novel, I suppose he looked like a man redeemed when he finally stopped the perverts as they were spreading her legs.

I think the knowledge that there'll be a HEA softens the impact of the alphahole a lot. Without that reassurance, what he does looks like sick mind games, abuse and rape. With it, these are more like missteps along the road to love, and some readers do enjoy a grovel or a dramatic gesture of devotion at the end.

Personally, I like alpha males if "alpha" is defined as assertive, competent and protective. I loathe the kind of hero who sweats testosterone, swaggers, is insanely jealous, tries to intimidate others, and invades a woman's personal space. If a hero is in a position of power or authority, he needs to be like Captain Aubrey in Master and Commander - take-charge and confident, but the kind of leader who knows that other people are just as capable of bringing something of value to the table. And I vastly prefer a sense of humor to cockiness. If I ever get the impression the guy is full of himself, there needs to be a lot to make up for it.

I'm also not into over-the-top sexuality, such as the hero with the constant erection. The heroine smiles at him, he's hard. She blows her nose, he's hard. They have sex five times in one night, but at the end... you guessed it. Or he's aggressive when it comes to women. Rape isn't as common in romance as it used to be, but I've still read way too many scenes where the hero and heroine first meet, and he's so turned on that he imagines her naked under him, makes sexually suggestive comments, touches or kisses her, etc. Usually while she huffs, splutters, flushes or has some other stereotypically helpless reaction.

I'll see if I can come up with some good alpha male novels later. :)
I think what bothers me is when the heroine doesn't defend herself when he does invade her space. When she reduces herself to a child. In the Bound series I just finished reading I was really torn between the way he treats her and the way she ALLOWS him to treat her. What I have seen over and over is how the woman needs to "learn a lesson" and he teaches it to her and she's oh so thankful for his "teachings" and "insights"....god make me barf. I think the hapless helpless female eager to please is such a turn off. I do however like the sex. Its usually what will keep me reading.

I don't know when, in the current era of romance Alphas, we started seeing more "alpha-holes" than simply "strong, masculine" characters, but I do know one reader's SMC is another reader's alpha-hole and vice versa. When I saw book-version Jamie Fraser referred to as an alpha-hole I gave up trying to understand who was what. I suppose Eric Northman was an alpha-hole, too, but I always loved him, probably because Sookie took no shit from him. OTOH, I won't bother to crack the spine on a FSOG book because I know instinctively from the snippets I've read I won't be able to tolerate C. Grey.

That's why it's hard to make recs. I think what LJD said in post 7 is really true. If the LI opposite the Alpha male holds their own in the story, isn't continually mowed down by him, and can deliver a comeuppance now and again, it can drag him back from the alphahole brink. (I think this slip from alpha to alphahole happens in M/m, too, so I'm trying not to restrict my response to women LI characters.) So maybe one tactic might be to look for books that have a strong LI. (This is one of the reasons I like Suspense romance. The two are usually more equally matched.) On the other hand, there are plenty of male alpha characters who are loving and caring, and while strong, never become alphaholes. The problem, as you say, is taking a chance on a book trying to find one, only to be unpleasantly surprised.

@Jan & @blackcat, what genres/subgenres are you most interested in reading? From there, I bet we can rec authors, at the very least. There are plenty that are pretty dependable in this regard.
I like dark romance. The thing I like about these alpha male over the top novels is the sex. FSOG I would say that book is probably in my top 5 of worst books ever. I didn't even finish it. Not because of him, but because of her. She was annoying as hell and completely unbelievable. I never would have pegged Jamie as an alpha-hole, I think the author makes him very vulnerable and there are many times he's not in control.

Maybe what bothers me more than the alpha-hole is the women in these novels who seem to have little back bone and don't stand up for themselves. I have no problem with the dominance or the man wanting to claim his woman, I get it, these are romance novels and escapism for many women. But there is that fine line when the red flags come up and the man you wanted to see her with becomes the man you're telling her to flee from.

I'm just relieved I'm not the only one who is turned off by it.
 

Jan74

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Neither the alpha nor the alpha hole character as described in that blog are appealing to me. I actually read a lot more F/F romance than anything else now because I find that I'm less likely to encounter romance tropes that I hate and there's far less likely to be a stereotypical relationship where one character is a very femme bottom or submissive and the other is a very masc top or dominant than M/F or M/M romance. Obviously romance is a very varied genre but those tropes are so prevalent it's frustrating to sift through that stuff to try and find things I actually like.

If I know it's going to be a novel where the woman has to submit and its clear from the description then at least I'm not blindsided. But when I think this is going to be a hot romance between two strong dominant people and then BAM the woman turns spineless and the man I liked for the first 15 chapters all of sudden springs into asshole territory that's when I get annoyed. I've read some novels where the woman is submissive and I know that entering the novel, or I know the man is crude and overbearing from the beginning, it's when I'm hoodwinked into believing something and it turns out to be wrong. The great alpha who turns asshole mid novel.
 

Jan74

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Even more than dogs, of course, humans are infinitely varied and flexible in their behavior, and it's often very hard to separate culturally reinforced behaviors and emotions from biology too. Which is why I roll my eyes when guys "mansplain" to me that I really want men to take charge, control, and protect me (any more than I protect him when the situation warrants it) and that it's attractive to all women when guys act like "alphas." I wouldn't want a husband to control or "train" me, even if he used positive reinforcement :p
Agreed, the "training" in these books drives me nuts. I do want to feel protected so I don't mind that feature and I like when the men are protective. Just last week my husband and I were downtown when we left the store and went to our truck there was a young man with his hoodie up and he appeared to be hiding between our truck and the parked vehicle beside us(hiding from whom who knows, cops/people) anyways, he was sketchy looking and acting weird and he was on the passenger side so my husband walked me to my side of the truck and opened my door for me and at first when I came off the sidewalk the guy turned towards me but as soon as my husband appeared beside me and stepped in front of me and in between us the guy bolted. So things like that I appreciate, I want to know my husband is going to notice when a situation is possibly dangerous and step in.
 

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I've wondered over the years if the reason so many female authors confuse alpha with alpha-hole is because they have so little experience with the difference in real life. I don't mean that as a slam at them, at all. It's more that there just aren't that many real alpha males out there. I'm not sure I even understood the difference until I met my SO.
I'm a pretty strong woman, independent, self-reliant, and pull my own weight, and I've always looked for the same in a partner. But they're SCARCE.
I've had a theory for a couple decades now that there are three types of men in this world. Those who want a strong woman because they need someone to take care of their sorry asses, those who want a strong woman because they see her as a challenge to be broken or overcome, and those who want a strong woman because they are looking for an equal they can build a solid foundation with. That last variety is rare.

I can take a certain amount of "big strong man saves helpless female" if the sex scenes are good, and/or if he comes across as honorable, but I can't remember the last time I read one like that. I didn't even realize it until reading through this thread, but almost everything I've read since the SO and I have been living under the same roof has been either women's fiction with more of a literary tone than a romantic tone, suspense, or crime fiction. The whole "dominating male" lead has zero appeal for me anymore and I wonder if it's because I finally understand that strong doesn't equal jackass. The male lead in my wip is modeled after my SO - strong but kind, supportive, takes no crap but doesn't give it out either, protective but not smothering. But I may not have been able to write that effectively if I wasn't living it.
 

Marian Perera

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I can take a certain amount of "big strong man saves helpless female" if the sex scenes are good

That, IMO, is a large part (no pun intended) of the appeal of romances like the one I referenced. Much as I hated the "hero", I have to admit, the author knows how to write sex scenes. I keep a couple of her other books, ones with slightly less psychopathic male leads, for reference.
 

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Yeah, the whole "alpha" thing is currently The Thing™ in m/m shifter fic. Because wolves. The popular stories have an alpha losing his mate and having to work his way up (HAH! Accidentally typed "pup", but mpreg is a separate rant for a separate time) the chain as an "omega" to find a new mate. Much wackiness ensues, I'm sure. Or the ones with two alphas trying to determine who's the most alpha-est in the relationship. More wackiness, I'll bet. Then you start the crossover of alpha/omega shifters into BDSM fic, which is an entirely different set of power rules but it's probably none of my business.
 

Marian Perera

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Yeah, the whole "alpha" thing is currently The Thing™ in m/m shifter fic. Because wolves.

I gave up on reading m/f shifters because of the number of stories which started with the man's inner wolf or bear getting one sniff of the heroine and recognizing her as his soulmate, bondmate or packmate. After that, control and jealousy and moodiness are only to be expected, because how else can his wolf or bear react?
 

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I've wondered over the years if the reason so many female authors confuse alpha with alpha-hole is because they have so little experience with the difference in real life. I don't mean that as a slam at them, at all. It's more that there just aren't that many real alpha males out there. I'm not sure I even understood the difference until I met my SO.
I'm a pretty strong woman, independent, self-reliant, and pull my own weight, and I've always looked for the same in a partner. But they're SCARCE.
I've had a theory for a couple decades now that there are three types of men in this world. Those who want a strong woman because they need someone to take care of their sorry asses, those who want a strong woman because they see her as a challenge to be broken or overcome, and those who want a strong woman because they are looking for an equal they can build a solid foundation with. That last variety is rare.

As much as I loathe the tropes, I'm pretty sure for most readers and writers it's purely fantasy and they can recognise that these would be unhealthy relationships in real life and with real people involved. Doesn't make it any less frustrating trying to find romance that's not deeply entrenched in gender roles.
 

Jan74

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That, IMO, is a large part (no pun intended) of the appeal of romances like the one I referenced. Much as I hated the "hero", I have to admit, the author knows how to write sex scenes. I keep a couple of her other books, ones with slightly less psychopathic male leads, for reference.

I think that is what keeps most women reading, the sex scenes.

I have an alpha-hole in my wip, but we know he's an asshole and I don't disguise him as a good guy.

I haven't read any of the shapeshifter romances, maybe someday I'll give it a try.

Mrs.Smith- I would agree our SO do have an impact on how we view what we read and maybe to some degree on what we write. I'm not sure if I agree that there are only 3 types of men, I think you can have many combinations of the types you listed and people can ebb and flow between those types and people change over time.


I want to clarify I'm not opposed to books with these triggers, rape, kidnapping, ownership etc, those books that delve into the darker side of sex I'm ok with all of that, especially when there is no pretense that it's anything but dark and twisted. I can read those books. It's the alpha who comes across as something he's not and does things that the woman deems to be normal and acceptable when clearly its not. Or when we start off with an independent strong woman who all of sudden when hooking up with the alpha allows him to control her and treat her like a child. Independent strong woman don't allow this, and when they do its usually out of fear not love and acceptance.
 
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Cobalt Jade

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I am still puzzled that alpha males are a new thing. Aren't all romance novel heroes alphas, in nature if not in name?
 

Alessandra Kelley

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It doesn't surprise me that different writers and fans have different definitions about what an alpha male is. The concept is fraught with contention, even in animal biology, and for some species (such as wolves) the concept has been abandoned entirely.

It persists in pop culture, however (it will not die in dog training, which is maddening, because it leads to cruel and dangerous training techniques by people who have no academic or professional training at all in animal behavior but look good on TV), and one person's asshole is another person's aphrodisiac.

Oh, it does persist, it does.

Just two days ago I was at a film and there was a preview shown for an upcoming movie called (cringe) “Alpha”, blatantly a fictionalized account of how wolves became dogs (More cringe: It was a single cave boy who heroically rescued and tamed a single wolf so they become A Boy And His Dog, which is far from how it really happened, but conveniently fits modern pop pseudoscience.).
 

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