Conflict in erotic romance is a truly interesting thing. In most any other genre, a healthy dose of both internal and external conflict is a must. But with erotic romance, I often see where one or the other is getting away as a stand alone. For example, a story might be based on the internal conflict (those internal issues each struggles with) keeping the primary characters apart solely. Or it might be that the primaries are separated by external conflict (those external forces at work to keep them apart) and there is no real internal conflict. In particular, I see this a lot with the shorter story, the novella.
As I embark on writing my next Aphrodisia, I am left wondering about this whole conflict deal. Is erotic romance different in that both internal and external conflict really aren't needed, particularly in the case of the shorter story? Or does the average reader still prefer to see strong conflicts of both kind at the heart of the plot? And in keeping with this theme, is a heavier plot preferred in a shorter story over a more sexual one? Or when reading erotic romance, are the internal (or external) conflicts and the hot sex that derive from them truly the nature of the beast?
Just exactly how rocky do you want the conflict in your novels?