The writer, or perhaps the editor, was turning verbal cartwheels and engaging in all sorts of contortions to try to claim it might have some redeeming value, that its use might once in a while be justified, but couldn't avoid admitting that it was inherently a creepy, unsavoury thing.
Who are we to judge? was an unsuccessfully attempted subtext.
They were able to allow as how, yeah, it was kinda sordid.
First Things asks, does is Church prepared to "oppose sin, or only sordidness"?
How is the institution tasked with upholding and teaching values we believe are handed down by the Creator to help us discern right from wrong when She shies away from even saying "wrong," much less labeling any action as such?
It's kinda refreshing when a periodical is this forthright:
[According to] the bishops advocating for a more accommodating approach to the divorced and remarried at the Vatican’s Synod on the Family... while the details of their proposals have varied, the basic thrust has not. If done with sufficient “stability”—that is, if the couple stays together, has children, and gets involved in the community—adultery can be looked at in a more positive light. [emphasis added]St John Fisher would be proud.
(Although I must confess, I think words like "sin" and "sinful" and "adultery" are also for the chopping block, along with "disordered.")