So, you want to know what getting your first tattoo is like. About a month ago, as I was preparing to take a seat (or, in my case, lay down) in the chair for the first time, I was wondering the same thing.
There are so many first tattoo stories that range from an absolute nightmare to an absolute dream that it can be pretty daunting to think about (and the internet doesn't really help us out). While I am in no way an expert on the subject, and while this is only one person's experience, I hope it can help to relieve some of the stress that comes with getting your first tattoo.
First, here are some reminders. Tattoos are permanent. If you're unsure about the design, placement, etc. of the tattoo, PLEASE speak up. This is your body you're getting tattooed, so make sure everything appears how you want it to before making it official. Also, as a personal suggestion, I would recommend waiting a little while before actually going through with it once you decide what you want to get tattooed just to be sure that's what you want. If that's not your style then go right ahead, do you. Pick a shop/artist ahead of time. Do your research. You want your experience to be as comfortable as possible, and, of course, you want the end product to look as good as possible.
As for the actual tattooing experience, no amount of research can prepare you for what it will feel like because it's so hard to compare it to anything you have felt before. The ribs are a notoriously painful area to get tattooed, so the artist that was tattooing me advised me to breathe normally (so I'll just leave that information there for you).
If it had to be put into words, the feeling of getting tattooed is kind of like an incessant scratching below the surface of your skin. Some compare it to repeatedly scratching a sunburn. Personally, the feeling was more annoying than painful. While yes, it definitely did hurt, it was not the excruciating, stabbing pain I had expected. As many have said, if getting tattoed was that painful, people wouldn't go back for more.