Unless you’re a Dutch reader of this blog, the chances are that you won’t know the name Heleen van Royen.
She’s a Dutch novelist, now aged 52, who in her 40s posed for Dutch Playboy, some of the photos from that shoot being featured below. Her books are often described as ‘provocative’, featuring women who fulfil their sexual fantasies, often allegedly based from events in van Royen’s own life, or vivid imagination.
I can’t find an enormous amount of information on her in English (most articles are in Dutch), but what I’ve been able to unearth suggests that from springing to fame as a writer, with sexual fantasies well to the fore, her own life in her ‘fame’ years mirror the characters in her book to some extent. I hope this doesn’t mis-represent her situation, but posing for Playboy looked to be her first foray into possibly fulfilling some of those fantasies. I think we all, as women, at some point(s) in our lives, have wished to step beyond our reality and present ourselves in a more attractive or sexual way. For me, turning 40 meant posing for a portfolio of nude photographs in an ‘arty’ manner, one hangs on the wall in the room where I write. I’m not famous, so unlikely to be offered a Playboy shoot 🙂 but I can certainly see that the experience of undertaking a Playboy shoot might both fulfil some sort of fantasy for Ms van Royen, as well a certainly feeding back into her writing and driving it along having been the focus of a shoot where women are meant to ooze sexuality.
Subsequently came ‘Selfmade’ a book of selfie photographs, including nudes. It is available for download as a pdf file, but registration and payment details are required, so proceed with caution if you do wish to download.
Again, such a venture rather feels, to me, like a woman who is intent on exploring her own sexuality and examining the way she sees herself or others see her.
None of which is naturist, of course, and I’ve not been able to unearth any definite evidence that van Royen is, or has ever been, naturist.
Although her husband, Ton, has posted jacuzzi videos in which there appears to be a distinct lack of clothing in he jacuzzi. So who knows?
So why make her a ‘hero of naturism’?
Because of the journey of body self-awareness she’s taken, and also taken along her readers.
Within Second Life, many, many avatars use the game to explore their desires and interests where unavailable in real life.
Someone has even created a poll to investigate just how we utilise the game to explore sexual fantasy.
One of the options is Being naked of partially naked in a public place. As naturists, it’s not so much a fantasy as an application of logic. ‘Do I really need to wear a swimsuit for swimming?’ Answer : no. They’re stupidly expensive, cling where they shouldn’t, fill with sand and so on. Nudity is the much more logical choice without any aspect of ‘fantasy’ being involved.
But even if it’s merely naturism, some avatars are probably using the game to indulge in a virtual naturism where the real life option isn’t available. And to some extent, this blog does the same. Looking across fields covered with a light dusting of snow this morning, and with no real naturism likely for months ahead, SL gives me some virtual connection with a lifestyle I pursue when the weather permits.
While Heleen van Royen may not be a naturist, she’s certainly explored a fantasy life through her writing, which in turn has fed back onto her real life. Second Life is something similar in that we can have experiences inworld which may in due course lead to those experiences for real. We can hope that some virtual naturists certainly eventually join a club or visit a beach. It’s a perfectly safe environment in which to explore something like naturism and have that feed back into the real world, creating a bit of a cross-fertilisation between the real and Second worlds.
Others, like Heleen van Royen, are doing almost exactly the same. Her journey evidently gives her a platform in which to explore her body confidence (and sexuality). In many cases, SL’s just like that too.