Isnstead of incense sticks try burning oils... they smell waaaaay better. You can pick some up at White Barn Candle Co. (the store thats always adjacent to Bath and Body Works). I know you're a guy but try not to get the manly scents, try the home inviting scents instead.
I'm in my mid twenties and I'm not sure if the smell is worse than when I was 18 or 19, I'm just certain thats it's still here... and you're right, there is some type of psychological issue when it cmes to one discussing anothers smell. When I do finally go to the doctor I am referring him/her to this website.