Does it hurt? Where does it hurt most?
This is usually the first question that most people ask before getting a tattoo. The short answer is 'Yes, it does hurt.' However, the real question to ask is 'How much does it hurt?'
It's actually not as bad as you think it is. A tattoo machine has a cluster of needles that pierce your skin very rapidly. Instead of a poking sensation, the feeling is more like a constant vibration. If you have a low tolerance to discomfort it will probably bother you. Your body adjusts itself to this very quickly by releasing endorphins (pain killers), which dulls the pain significantly.
Please note that the pain will vary according to where on your body you get worked on. Areas where you have lots of muscle will absorb the needle better and as a result hurt less. Places that are directly above the bone (such as the ankle, ribs or collarbone) tend to be more painful than other areas, as well as places with high nerve concentrations like the inner arm or thigh.
As to where it hurts most, there are no hard and fast rules about this. In general, based on many opinions over the years, here are some ideas:
Most Painful Areas:
Abdomen, Ankle, Collarbone, Chest, Ribs, Spine
Least Painful Areas:
Arm, Thigh, Shoulder
Again, these are just opinions. One man's pain is another's pleasure, so do not let this list deter you if you really want a tattoo on your spine or ankle.
If you are really worried about pain, speak to the artist who will tattoo you beforehand. He should be able to allay your fears and make recommendations for a more pleasant experience. Do not self-medicate (with other alcohol or drugs) as this may interfere with the tattooing process.