I got one on my ankle 4 years ago and it sort of felt like a scraping, only really hurt when it got close to my ankle bone and that felt like someone poking my bone. Afterward, it just sort of felt like a sun burn, swelled a little, but not too bad.
Just this past summer I got one at the base of my neck and it wasn't too bad at all compared to the ankle- just kind of felt like a bee sting, still hurt but less than the ankle The worst part was having to sit with my chin against my chest for half an hour. Again, afterward, just like a sun burn.
The important thing is to let the artist know if you need a break- if it's getting too intense, ask them to stop and they'll give you a break, no big deal.
I don't have one personally, but my Mom got one recently on her arm and she said it felt like a cat scratch. Though after she got it, the area was kind of swollen and irritated for a few days like a rash.
Its different for everyone and depends on your pain threshold although a friend of mine who's a tattoo artist is adamant that women do seem to handle it better, how true that is I don't know. I have two tattoos one on my ribs/side and another between my shoulders, they both hurt. Anyone who says a tattoo doesn't hurt is either a liar or bat sh*t crazy, it has to hurt its needles penetrating your skin. My ribs definitely hurt more, for me it was a burning pain but it faded quickly and it was worth it. Drink something sugary beforehand to increase your blood sugar levels and most importantly check out the work and reputation of who's inking you.