Condoms have always gotten a bit of a bad rap, especially from men, but we've always kind of known we could rely on them for safe, relatively effective contraception and protection against STDs, right? Uhhh ... right? Not according to a study released in September 2013. It found that 31 percent of women aged 15 to 24 were using some ting else.

Free Durex Play Vibrating Love Ring worth $10.99 when you spend $30 on Durex condomsThe pull-out method.

In case you don't know, "pulling out" is when the penis is withdrawn from the vagina prior to ejaculation. At least anecdotally, it's believed that many women in their 20s and 30s use this method too. They say it's because they're tired of the side effects of hormonal birth control, are uncomfortable with IUDs and just don't like condoms.

In fact, almost 40 percent of the sexually active population claims that sex never feels as good with a condom. But because condoms provide such dependable, cheap, convenient protection against pregnancy and STDs, we aren't ready to toss them aside. And certainly not in favor of pulling out. Here are six tips to make condoms sexier for the steamiest, safest sex possible.

Sizing Up the Market

OK, so maybe there’s nothing especially sexy about a traditional plain condom, but if you try something new, things can get interesting. Trojan claims the average person spends just seven seconds choosing a condom. Seven seconds?! We get what the rush is about, but that’s not nearly enough time to take in all of the different sizes, flavors, textures and other innovative design features of the modern condoms on store shelves. (And if you're embarrassed about spending 15 minutes in the condom aisle at the grocery store, take your time and shop online!)

Size might be the most important factor for dictating sexual satisfaction. Choose a condom too small and it’ll decrease sensation. Choose one too large and it could slip off. A well-fitting condom should comfortably roll right down to the base of the penis and feel like it's not even there. One way to find the best fit is to buy a few sampler packs. That way you can discover which condoms feel best before buying a whole package.

Once you’ve got the size right, it’s time to experiment. Different flavors can make oral sex a bit more fun. Unusual shapes with swirls or bulbs at the ends increase friction near the sensitive head of the penis. Ribbed and studded condoms can increase pleasure for a partner too.

Latex might be the most common condom material, but it’s not your only option. Polyurethane prophylactic condoms uniquely transmit body heat, so they can make sex feel even hotter. Even newer ultra-thin non-latex materials like polyisoprene and polyethylene have also changed a lot of couples' minds about what a condom feels like (or don't feel like). Committed couples could also consider sensually soft lambskin condoms. Men who’ve rejected traditional condoms say these feel like they’re wearing nothing at all. Just note that as these condoms are made from a porous material; they’ll only protect against pregnancies, not sexually transmitted diseases.

Sexier Safe Sex

Once you've settled on some condoms you love, it's time to spice up the other part of condom use that people tend to dislike: Putting them on. Here's how to keep it fun - and hot.

Feeling Lucky?
Create a contraceptive lucky dip. Pick one out at random and don’t tell your partner what you’ve selected. They’ll love the surprise - and what you choose will help you decide what you get to do to each other.

Keep Them at Arm’s Reach
Condoms have long been blamed for killing the romantic mood. After all, few things are as unsexy as leaving your partner in bed while you run out to the bathroom for a rubber! But condoms needn’t be a buzz-kill if you store them close at hand. Keeping condoms in your beside table, or stashed anywhere else you might need them, will help you incorporate them naturally into your foreplay.

Just make sure you choose a place that’s cool, dry and dark. Drawers and cupboards are ideal for keeping your condoms in peak condition.

Put Them On Nice
When a man puts on his own condom, it’s a chore right up there with ironing business shirts and drinking eight glasses of water each day. He knows it’s good for him, but it’s not exactly a recipe for a good time. However, if his partner can do the work for him, suddenly covering up becomes an enticing prospect.

It doesn’t take too much imagination to combine putting on a condom with a traditional hand job. Use a little foreplay and anticipation to make this part fun! Condoms can also be applied with the mouth during oral sex, and even with the cleavage with a bit of practice. If your man has a foot fetish, it’s also worth training yourself to roll one down using your big toes!

Get creative and have fun putting condoms on to increase their sex appeal. Whatever you can do to make wearing a condom more playful and spontaneous, the more likely you are to keep using them. (Read about the correct way to put on a condom in 9 Things You Didn't Know About Putting on a Condom.)

Lube Up
Lubricant’s not just for the ladies. Squeezing a couple of drops inside a condom will increase the sensations at the head of the penis and take your safe sex to a new sensual level. Remember that a little lube goes a long way though. This is one case where it doesn’t pay to be heavy handed, as too much lubricant can cause the condom to slip out of place. Also make sure you’re choosing water-based lubricants, as the oil-based kind can degrade condoms.

Add Accessories
Major condoms brands, including Trojan, Durex and LifeStyles, have jumped into selling vibrating rings. They're popular, they're fun and they make using condoms much sexier. They’re essentially plastic bands that sit at the condom’s base. They feature buzzing nubs that are designed to come in contact with a woman’s clitoris. During intercourse, this nub stimulates the clitoris for more satisfying sex. What's not to like about that?

Vibrating rings aren’t just great fun for women though. Because of their ability to help hold blood in the penis, they can also help men maintain stronger erections for longer. Now that's sexy.

It's so easy to think of safe sex as unspontaneous, a little clinical and not very sexy. But safe sex can be the steamiest sex ever if you put in the effort. And let's face it: Great sex always takes a little extra effort. (And of course, there are other non-hormonal options for safer sex. Check out 8 Things You Don't Know About Female Condoms for a new take on another kind of condom.)