Adam Lambert debuted this song at a concert in Ste. Agathe, Quebec on July 29, 2011. He explained the song's meaning when introducing it to the crowd. "In all the things I've been talking about over the past year, a lot of them boiled down to acceptance," the openly gay American Idol runner-up said. "This is the song that I wrote about how it feels that no matter where you go or where you turn, sometimes it feels like you're just running from the law."
Phil Oakey recorded his vocals for "Don't You Want Me" in the studio bathroom. The recording was disrupted by guitarist Jo Callis reaching through an open window from outside to repeatedly flush one of the toilets.