Circle jerks are typically an experience of adolescents and college students. Often, they 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. Circle jerking may or may not involve physical contact with others in the groups. Masturbating other participants, or stimulating other participants' penises or scrotums often occurs. Non-penetrative sexual rubbing against another participant's body may also occur, such as frot (The rubbing of two (or more) penises against each other. This may jokingly be called 'sword-fighting', which usually involves the competitive element of trying to make the other participant ejaculate first).
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. Author Bernard Lefkowitz states that what actually motivates participation is to have friends witness and acknowledge one's sexual prowess, helping to counter teenage feelings of inadequacy related to sexual activity.