By nature, erotica, when it is defined as a sort of "softcore" approach to sexuality, takes on a certain quality of purity, in relation to hardcore pornography. It's a "purer" approach to sexuality that doesn't "dirty" itself quite as much as porn [shamelessly] does. Yet, it is still "dirtier" than an asexual approach to beauty, because it doesn't refuse to touch on the subject of sexuality. Of course, it's all on a relative scale.
I find that, as an erotic artist, it's tricky to maintain an image of purity in a culture that lumps erotica in with pornography, as if it were all the same thing. But I value purity. A lot of things in my life I'd consider pure. For one thing, I'm a nudist, and the nudist community [as I know it] is fond of explicitly distancing themselves from a sexual connotation. There are very good reasons for this, which I agree with. But, as any rational-minded person will tell you, nudists have sex, too. It's not part of nudism, but it can be part of a nudist's life - since a nudist is not defined entirely by his practice of nudism: he is first and foremost a human being, who takes on many roles throughout the course of his day and of his life.
So, I don't see a conflict between my love of erotic photography and my interest in nudism. I can see clearly the difference between them (even if, I admit, the distance between them at certain times may not be all that large - think of a nudist couple having private sex in their room during a stay at a nudist resort), but unfortunately, there are others who may have trouble making that distinction. Still, I don't apologize for who I am or what I do. Another's lack of ability to recognize a subtle distinction is not my responsibility. I'm happy to do all I can to prevent or, barring that, correct, any misunderstandings that may crop up, but what I can't do is not allow myself to be just who I am because somebody might make a mistake when judging me.
This issue comes up again in relation to, as a photographer, "scouting" attractive models. Because I'm an erotic photographer, anyone who I single out as attractive - beautiful, pretty, cute, gorgeous, etc. - may unfortunately get the idea that I'm interested in them in primarily an erotic context (which is, of course, not always true). And if they "don't do" erotica, they may well interpret my compliment as a kind of perverted insult. This is the last thing I want to happen: for my expression of appreciation for another person's beauty to be interpreted as negative energy.
Naturally, I often come across people who I find attractive but are not likely to be "into" the erotic scene, for various reasons. Though "pure" I may be in some respect, with relation to hardcore pornography, I am still more open about sexuality than most, from the impression I've gathered, and so it's not unusual for the object of my would-be photographer's eye to count my interest against me, to the effect of thinking, "ew, another perv who just wants to see me naked".
Granted, my approach towards all people, and most especially the ones who I count as beautiful, is characterized by the utmost level of respect and politeness (without being formal to the point of patronizing). And this, I think, puts me a step ahead of the actual pervs who care not (or little) for the feelings of the people they "admire" (or at least either presume or don't care to check whether those people are comfortable with rude, pervy comments (believe it or not, some people do like that sort of thing)). So, if anything, I am a polite, respectable pervert. But still, I at times can't help viewing that quality as if it were a Sword of Damocles hanging above my head, dooming my potential interactions with everyone I might want to compliment.
Even so, I can't - and won't - stop being who I am. If that means there will be some misunderstandings along the way, well, I honestly feel bad about that, but c'est la vie. I can only tell you now, with deepest sincerity, that whatever energy I consciously send out to people, its intention is positive, good, and pure. I can only but hope that it is received as such.
P.S. If you've noticed, a lot of the words in this post have been put in quotation marks. If anything, that should give you an idea of how often things aren't quite what they seem.