Dove Cameron Channels Mrs. Steal Your Girl and Drops Steamy 'Boyfriend' Music Video — Watch!

"The story and the conclusion to come to every time is, how hard can it be to treat these women well?" Cameron tells PEOPLE of the song's inspiration

Dove Cameron can be a better boyfriend than him!

Speaking to PEOPLE about her latest single "Boyfriend," the singer and actress opened up about the song's inspiration, and channeling it to create the irresistible music video out Thursday.

Cameron, 26, drew inspiration from a real-life sexual encounter when she was writing the lyrics — and she wanted to mirror that intensity within the music video.

"There's a lot of imagery in the music video that is very ... playing on the dichotomy of the sexes and the men in the club being all thrashing and maybe even a little bit unaware and in like borderline violence," she says. "And then the girls' connection really being the safety and the consistency."

That message of safety between women is something she's often experienced herself — and is what made the star realize that she wanted more for women.

Dove Cameron
Dove Cameron. Kristen Jan Wong

"I think women speak to other women and you're always hearing stories about how mistreated they are or how the men in their lives have even — not even mistreated, but just not been what these women deserve," she says of the song's inspiration.

"The story and the conclusion to come to every time is, how hard can it be to treat these women well?" she says. "I always have this feeling, this pit in my stomach like, 'If I only had the opportunity, not only would you be loved how you deserve to be loved, but I would worship you. You'd wake up in the morning every day [and it] would be Valentine's Day.' I've always been that kind of romantic."

In the video, Cameron — who came out as bisexual in 2020, later amending her identity to queer — has an instant, intense connection with a woman at a nightclub and the two find their way to each other as people with silver masks dance around them. Eventually, paired with a snake, seductive closeups and glittery makeup, the pair are no longer in the club scene and things get steamy as Cameron sings she can "be a better boyfriend than him."

Although, the Liv and Maddie star wants to make one thing clear: this video is a "dark and grungy" love story.

"I wanted this story to be an actual clear love story where it didn't feel male-gazey and it didn't feel objectifying," she explains. "And it felt like these two powerhouse equal women were finding each other in this world. And there was this magical spark there."

This is also the first song and video where Cameron writes from a queer perspective — making it that much more special.

The "Taste of You" singer initially thought the song wouldn't perform at the rate that it did, considering it's "overtly queer." After seeing her fans' reaction to it, however, she now realizes that through this process she was her harshest critique — and her best work is produced when she's being herself.

"I think the biggest thing that has happened throughout this experience has been an interpersonal change. An internal processing of me recognizing the self-hatred that I have towards myself that stands in my way of creating authentically, because clearly when I'm not paying attention or judging or gaslighting myself, then that I'm producing better stuff."

Dove Cameron
Dove Cameron. Kristen Jan Wong

She continued, "I was like, that's really the lesson that I've learned here, is that maybe my story about the fact that I'm an outsider is an inaccurate one and I need to do some self-reflection."

After seeing three million streams only 24 hours after releasing the full track and her fans' eagerness for the video's release, she's taking it all in.

"To see its success and to see the fact [that] it's not slowing down and just to see people, the continued support and people taking ownership of it. Obviously, I think that the answer is I'm overwhelmed and elated, but I'm also genuinely shocked and confused and just trying to catch up a moment."

The music video for "Boyfriend" is out now.

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