Dear Tattooist: Will it hurt when you poke me?

kyle asked:

dear tattooist.

a) will it hurt? i’m a complete pussy and don’t like pain.
b) what would your mom think – i mean, dirtying up your skin and all. don’t you know what leviticus says about it? scandalous.


I’ll be focusing on “a)” in this post.

Not to put to fine a point on it, but yes. However, “hurt” is relative. Sometimes after eating at P.F. Chang’s and then passing a 5 Couric crap hurts, right? (Google it…)

I posted on this a couple years ago, actually.

And like I said then, “Some people just lay there, while others moan and twitch and cry the whole time… just like sex!”

Most people say that getting a tattoo is just “irritating”. Some people actually fall asleep while getting a tattoo. (I’ve had two people fall asleep while being inked, and it kind of freaked me out both times.) Some people cry like they’re having bamboo spikes shoved under their fingernails. The point is: everyone is different. Only you know what your “normal” pain threshold is.

From the technical side, I am aware that there are some tattooists out there who believe in digging hard and deep. Which sucks. And hurts. And is totally unnecessary. (I’ve been tattooed by an artist before that believed in that methodology. I know better now!) Talk with your tattooist during the procedure and let he or she know how they are doing. ESPECIALLY if it hurts more than you think it should!

If you have questions about tattoos: tattoos in general, about getting a tattoo, about giving a tattoo, or anything else related to tattoos, just add a comment to my November 6, 2009 post, or send me the question via e-mail from my contact page. I will then dedicate an entire post to answering your question.

Until next time...

13 thoughts on “Dear Tattooist: Will it hurt when you poke me?

  1. My shoulder tat was “uncomfortable”– like being scraped with rose thorns. My leg tat tho? Hurt like a motherfuck! The back of my calf about brought me off the table.

      1. Sounds like you are wired similar to how I am.

        The area around my nipple and the inner 2″ block on my wrist was the worst. It’s what I imagined a dull, hot scalpel would feel like being run over my wrist. Over and over again. Granted, it was a mag that was being used with multiple shades of color…

  2. Just got the side of my neck done. It was a long session, nearly 4 hours. I would like to say that I have settled my curiosity about the neck tattoo thing, but I know better of myself. I will heal, and over time will want the rest of it done. I have to admit though, I can’t say it was my “most” painful tattoo, but for fucks sake my neck feels like a rottweilers chewtoy.

  3. The only part of my big color tattoo that really hurt was the edge of the armpit, but mostly, like two of your clients, I was napping in and out of the session.

    To me tattooing feels like a irritating sting, and after a while, especially with an extensive session, the endorphins do kick in and it just goes kind of numb – that and the napping. LOL

  4. Erik
    You know what my tattoo did for me….it just opened the door to a whole new level of kink for me……looking forward to the next tattoo….

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