The Meaning Behind “Hands To Myself” by Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez has been in the music industry for more than a decade. The beginning of her career saw her navigate the line between becoming her own artist and maintaining an image suitable for The Disney Channel.

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Around 2013, she started to break out of that mold and start on her path to becoming a pop sensation the world over. Songs like “Come & Get It” and “The Heart Wants What It Wants” helped to expand her fanbase from more than just teens who grew up watching her on TV.

[RELATED: Top 10 Selena Gomez Songs]

In 2015, she took things for a seductive turn with “Hands To Myself.” The song has become one of Gomez’s signature tracks and is an ear-worm to boot. Even eight years later, you can’t help but hum along to the song’s house-infused chorus.

Though you might have your guesses as to what the song means, Gomez has revealed what story she attributes to the track since releasing it. We’ve detailed her thoughts, below.

Behind the Meaning

Can’t keep my hands to myself
No matter how hard I’m trying to
I want you all to myself
Your metaphorical gin and juice

Oh, cause all of the downs and the uppers
Keep making love to each other
And I’m trying, trying, I’m trying, trying
All of the downs and the uppers
Keep making love to each other
And I’m trying, trying, I’m trying

Gomez once explained that the song represents what “people think love is”—the fantasy of it all.

The accompanying music video sees Gomez prance around an empty house, trying on her lover’s clothes and rolling around in the bed. Right before the video fades to black, we find out that Gomez has broken into said house and has been stalking her love interest from afar.

Speaking about the video, Gomez said, “You get to see these images of what people think love is. It’s theatrical, it’s movie-like. And all of that you end up seeing ends up being a false reality on both ends. That’s what I wanted it to feel like.”

In the lyrics, Gomez sings about an all-encompassing relationship and the shedding of inhibitions. The song helped to bring Gomez out of the Disney bubble in 2015, showcasing a sultrier side of the former Wizards of Waverly Place star.

“This album was the first time I fully let go of others’ perception of me as an artist,” Gomez told Genius. “After so many years of being told pop songs should be formulaic: verse, pre-chorus, bridge—I was so excited to break that formula. ‘Hands To Myself’ keeps you guessing throughout the whole song.”

The song was co-written by Justin Tranter, Julia Michaels, Robin Fredriksson, Mattias Larsson, and Max Martin. It became one of the final tracks written for Gomez’ album Revival.

“‘Hands To Myself’ is my favorite,” Gomez told iHeartRadio at the time of the song’s release (per Genius). “It’s actually one of the last songs I recorded for the album. It’s the second to last song I recorded, and we wrote it in a day, and it was incredible because I had this sass. I finished everything.

“I thought the album was done, and then I kind of went in, and I felt like I was ready for the next chapter, whatever it is, and I just knew that it had this sass to it. It’s really different, and it’s fresh, and it’s kind of got this Prince-y vibe to it,” she continued. “I really appreciate that it’s kind of different from everything else.”

Can’t keep my hands to myself
My hands to myself
Can’t keep my hands to myself
My hands to myself

Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI

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