I have to admit that I've not read every word of this thread but I'll add a few thoughts of my own. I shoot a lot of nudes along with general portrait portrait work and find that in both scenarios the results are much better if I'm engaged with the subject. This engagement is not on a sexual or erotic level when shooting nudes it is usually simply general conversation along with direction for the shot that I'm after. So I agree with Ed on this one.
I once had a nude model compliment me saying that she was impressed because I kept her engaged. One of best pictures came out of that session.
Is there a certain level of eroticism in nude work? I believe that there is and this is something that I try to be very aware of and control. We as the artists are in control of this. I control it not because I don't want it to appear but because I believe that the level is very much a part of the message that the picture communicates.
Generally it seems that eroticism is viewed as a bad thing. Why is this and why should we view as a bad thing? If treated carefully and given proper respect it can be a beautiful thing.