A circle jerk, also sometimes spelled circlejerk, is a sexual practice in which a group of men or boys form a circle and masturbate themselves or each other. In the metaphorical sense, the term is used to refer to self-congratulatory behavior or discussion among a group of people, usually in reference to a "boring or time-wasting meeting or other event".
Circle jerks often feature a competitive element, with the "winner" being the participant able to ejaculate first, last, or farthest depending on the pre-established rules. They can serve as an introduction to sexual relations with other males, or as a sexual outlet at an age or situation when regular sexual activity with another person is not possible.
While circle jerks feature a homoerotic element, some analysts interpret adolescent boys' group activities such as circle jerks as an effort to establish heterosexual, masculine dominance within the group. However, American sociologist Bernard Lefkowitz asserts that what actually motivates participation is the desire for friends to witness and acknowledge one's sexual prowess, helping to counter teenage feelings of inadequacy related to sexual activity.
- Peter Francis Murphy (12 February 2001). Studs, tools, and the family jewels: metaphors men live by. University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 66–67. ISBN 978-0-299-17130-8. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
- Jay Mechling (1 May 2004). On My Honor: Boy Scouts and the Making of American Youth. University of Chicago Press. p. 292. ISBN 978-0-226-51705-6. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
- Bernard Lefkowitz (11 July 1997). Our guys: the Glen Ridge rape and the secret life of the perfect suburb. University of California Press. pp. 243–244. ISBN 978-0-520-20596-3. Retrieved 20 February 2011.