300+ First Tattoo Ideas For Men That Aren’t A Joke

Last update: December 24, 2022

Getting your first tattoo is a big decision. You'll have to live with it for the rest of your life, so you want to make sure that you find the perfect design and artist to do the job. Luckily, we're here to help. In this article, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about finding your first tattoo.

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A Beginner's Guide to Tattoo Ideas for Men

You might feel a little overwhelmed deciding on your first tattoo regardless of whether you are a man or a woman. There are so many options, and knowing where to start is tough. But don't worry, we'll give you some ideas for the first tattoos for men and their meanings. When you're done reading, you'll better understand what kind of tattoo is right for you. 

Let's start with the first steps you need to take to get your first tattoo:

Decide What You Want

The first step in finding your first tattoo is deciding what you want. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's essential to think about what you want. Do you want a small tattoo or a large one? What style do you like? Is there a particular meaning that you want your tattoo to have? Answering these questions will help you narrow your search and find the perfect tattoo.

Do Your Research

Once you know what you want, it's time to start doing your research. Look online and in magazines for inspiration. When you find a design you like, please take note of the artist who created it. Once you've compiled a list of potential artists, take some time to research each one. Look at their portfolios and read reviews from other clients. This will help you narrow your search even further and find an artist who can give you the tattoo you want.

Ask Around

In addition to doing your research, remember to ask for recommendations. Talk to friends, family members, and even coworkers who have tattoos. They may have some great suggestions for artists in your area. Getting a personal recommendation is always an excellent way to find someone reputable.

Make an Appointment

Once you've found the perfect artist, it's time to make an appointment. Most artists require a deposit upfront, so be prepared to pay that when you schedule your appointment. Once everything is booked, all that's left to do is show up on the day of your work and get inked!

Most popular first tattoo ideas for men

Most men start with a small to medium design of something meaningful. Getting many tattoo designs for the first time is not recommended because it will take longer and be more painful.

Common tattoo ideas for men include:

1. Cross Tattoo for Men - The cross is the most popular tattoo design in the world and is also one of the most versatile. It can be small and discreet or big and bold. The meaning of the cross depends on the individual, but it is often seen as a symbol of faith, hope, or love.

Cross Tattoo for Men

2. Tribal Tattoo for Men - Tribal designs are trendy among men. They are often seen as symbols of strength and courage. The meaning of a tribal tattoo depends on the specific plan, but they often represent protection, power, or wisdom. 

Tribal Tattoo for Men

3. Eagle Tattoo for Men - The eagle is a popular choice for men's tattoos because it symbolizes power and strength. Eagles are often associated with freedom and liberty. 

Eagle Tattoo for Men

4. Skull Tattoo for Men - The skull is another popular choice for men's tattoos. It is often seen as a symbol of death or danger but can also represent rebellion or defiance. 

Skull Tattoo for Men

5. Dragon Tattoo for Men - Dragon tattoos are trendy among Asian cultures but are also becoming increasingly popular in the Western world. Dragons are seen as powerful and mystical creatures. They can represent strength, courage, or wisdom. 

Dragon Tattoo for Men

6. Anchor Tattoo for Men - The anchor is a popular choice for sailors or anyone who loves the sea or just plain old ships. It is seen as a symbol of stability and security. Anchors can also represent hope or strength in difficult times. 

Anchor Tattoo for Men

7. Celtic Knot Tattoo for Men - Celtic knots are trendy among those of Irish descent. They are often seen as symbols of eternal love or friendship. Celtic knots can also represent protection or good luck

Celtic Knot Tattoo for Men

8 . Lion Tattoo for Men - The lion is seen as the king of beasts, so it's no surprise that lion tattoos are popular among men who want to show their strength and power. Lions can also represent courage, honor, or pride. 

Lion Tattoo for Men

9 . Compass Tattoo for Men - Compasses are often associated with travel and adventure. They can represent exploration or new beginnings. For some people, compasses may also represent guidance or direction in life. 

Compass Tattoo for Men

10 . Quote Tattoo for Men - A tattoo quote is a great way to show your personality through ink. Choose a section that is meaningful to you or represents something important. A quote tattoo can be inspirational, motivational, funny, or anything else you want it to be. 

Quote Tattoo for Men

Most common first tattoo placements for men

When choosing the right spot for your first tattoo, there are a few key factors to consider. Pain tolerance, visibility, and personal preference all play a role in deciding which area is best for you. The most popular placement areas for first-time tattoos are:

1. Forearm - The forearm is among the most popular male tattoo spots. It's a great spot if you want something visible but not too noticeable.

forearm tattoos men

2. Upper Arm - The upper arm area is another popular spot for tattoos, with significantly larger designs. It can be seen easily when wearing short sleeves or tank tops.

upper arm tattoo men

3. Shoulder/Back - The shoulder and back areas are ideal for larger designs. They can be seen wearing various clothing styles and offer plenty of room for intricate artwork.

back tattoo men

4. Chest - The chest is perfect for small to medium-sized tattoos. It's also one of the most minor painful areas, making it an excellent spot for first-timers.

chest tattoo men

5. Ribs - The ribs area is an excellent spot for tattoos and significantly smaller designs. It can be pretty painful, so it's essential to make sure you have a high pain tolerance.

ribs tattoo men

General Breakdown Of Tattoo Pain Levels On Different Body Parts

Here is a breakdown of the different tattoo pain levels:

  • Low: This level of pain is generally described as a mild discomfort or tickling sensation. It is similar to the sensation of getting a light scratch or scrape.
  • Moderate: This level of pain is generally described as a moderate discomfort or aching sensation. It is similar to the sensation of getting a deep scratch or scrape or being pinched.
  • High: This level of pain is generally described as a strong discomfort or throbbing sensation. It is similar to the sensation of getting a burn or being stung by a bee.

It's important to note that pain tolerance is highly individual and can vary greatly from person to person. Some people may find certain body parts more or less painful than others, and the same body part can be more or less painful for different people. Additionally, the level of pain can be affected by factors such as the size and location of the tattoo, the skill of the tattoo artist, and the individual's own pain threshold.


Tattoo placement pain level chart


Body Part

Pain Level

Explanation

Forehead

Low

The forehead has few nerve endings, so it is not a particularly painful area.

Eyebrows

Low

The eyebrows have few nerve endings, so the pain level is relatively low.

Ear

Low

The ear is a relatively thin and fleshy area, so the pain level is low.

Nostril

Low

The nostril is a small area with thin skin, so the pain level is low.

Lip

Low to Moderate

The lip has more nerve endings than some other areas, so it may be slightly more painful.

Cheek

Low to Moderate

The cheek has a moderate amount of nerve endings, so it may be slightly more painful.

Neck

Moderate

The neck has a moderate amount of nerve endings, so it may be slightly more painful.

Chest

Moderate to High

The chest has a high concentration of nerve endings, so it can be quite painful.

Abdomen

High

The abdomen has a high concentration of nerve endings, so it can be quite painful.

Back

High

The back has a high concentration of nerve endings, so it can be quite painful.

Shoulders

High

The shoulders have a high concentration of nerve endings, so they can be quite painful.

Upper Arms

Moderate to High

The upper arms have a moderate to high concentration of nerve endings, so they can be somewhat painful.

Elbows

High

The elbows have a high concentration of nerve endings, so they can be quite painful.

Forearms

Moderate

The forearms have a moderate concentration of nerve endings, so they are not as painful as some other areas.

Hands

High

The hands have a high concentration of nerve endings, so they can be quite painful.

Lower Arms

Low to Moderate

The lower arms have a lower concentration of nerve endings, so they are not as painful as some other areas.

Wrists

Low

The wrists have a low concentration of nerve endings, so they are not very painful.

Lower Back

High

The lower back has a high concentration of nerve endings, so it can be quite painful.

Buttocks

High

The buttocks have a high concentration of nerve endings, so they can be quite painful.

Thighs

High

The thighs have a high concentration of nerve endings, so they can be quite painful.

Knees

High

The knees have a high concentration of nerve endings, so they can be quite painful.

Calves

Low to Moderate

The calves have a low to moderate concentration of nerve endings, so they are not as painful as some other areas.

Ankles

Low

The ankles have a low concentration of nerve endings, so they are not very painful.

Tattoo aftercare tips

Before getting a tattoo:

  1. Choose a reputable tattoo artist and parlor. Research the artist's portfolio and read reviews from previous clients.

  2. Consult with the artist about the design and placement of the tattoo.

  3. Make sure you are in good health. If you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications that may affect your ability to heal, be sure to let your tattoo artist know.

  4. Consider using a numbing cream to reduce pain during the tattooing process. These creams contain a numbing agent (such as lidocaine) that can be applied to the skin before the tattoo is done. It's important to follow the instructions on the numbing cream and to only use it as directed.

  5. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and other substances that can thin your blood for at least 24 hours before getting a tattoo.

  6. Eat a healthy meal before your tattoo session to ensure that your blood sugar is stable.

  7. Wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows easy access to the area being tattooed.

After getting a tattoo:

  1. Follow the aftercare instructions provided by your tattoo artist. These may include:

  • Keeping the tattoo clean and covered with a bandage for the first few hours after getting tattooed.

  • Washing the tattoo with lukewarm water and a mild soap (such as unscented, antimicrobial soap) and patting it dry with a clean towel.

  • Applying a thin layer of tattoo ointment or lotion (such as A&D or Aquaphor) to the tattoo and covering it with a clean bandage or wrap.

  • Repeating this process for the first few days, or until the tattoo has fully scabbed over.

  1. Avoid soaking the tattoo in water for the first week, such as in a bath or pool.

  2. Avoid picking or scratching at the scabs, as this can cause the tattoo to fade or become infected.

  3. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight or tanning beds for at least 2-4 weeks.

  4. If you experience any redness, swelling, or unusual discharge, contact your tattoo artist or a healthcare professional.

Overall, it's important to keep your tattoo clean and moisturized during the healing process to ensure that it heals properly and looks its best. Using a numbing cream can help reduce pain during the tattooing process, but it's important to use it as directed and to follow all aftercare instructions to ensure that your tattoo heals properly.

People Also Ask:


Where should a guy get his first tattoo?

If it's your first tattoo, start with small designs in an area that can easily be covered (such as the underside of your upper arm or hip) to see how you react to it. Like you would test a new skin product before using it all over your body, do the same with your tattoo design by starting small.

Where should a guy get his first tattoo?

If this is your first tattoo, start with a small, discreet design in an area of your body that isn't highly visible (like the underside of your upper arm or on your hip). See how you like it and go from there. Just as you would test a new skin product before using it all over your body, give yourself some time to adjust to having a new tattoo.

How painful is a first tattoo?

If you're worried about the pain, we recommend starting small. We suggest getting a smaller piece — under an hour — as your first tattoo. Tattoo pain is very subjective, and while it might not be a big deal to some people, it can be unbearable for others.

Do tattoos make men attractive?

A study showed that women believe tattooed men are healthier but not more attractive than those without tattoos. Men see tattooed men as more attractive but not more beneficial than the average man. Also, women think less of potential parents and partners if they have visible tattoos.

Where is the most minor painful tattoo spot?

The outermost layer of skin on your shoulders has fewer nerve endings, making it one of the ideal places to get tattooed.

How soon after a tattoo can you shower?

Wait 3-4 hours after your artist applies the wrap before showering to avoid soaking the tattoo area for at least 2 weeks. Remove any soap immediately if it comes in contact with the tattoo.


Watch A Video Of A Tattoo For Men Done By A Pro:


300+ first tattoo ideas for men To Get Inspired From 


Final thoughts

Tattoos can be a great way to express yourself and show your personality. Before getting inked, it's essential to research and choose the right design for you. Consider factors such as size, placement, visibility, and pain tolerance when deciding where to get your tattoo. And remember to follow the aftercare instructions to ensure your tattoo looks its best. Good luck!

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