Kinky people habitually refer to themselves as "perverts"; it's sort of a half-joke, a bit of reclaimed persecution, the "queer" or "bitch" of the hittysex crowd. But what does "pervert" really mean?
The dictionary (Merriam-Webster) definition for the noun is "one that has been perverted; specifically : one given to some form of sexual perversion." That's a little circular, so look up "pervert" as a verb and we get "to cause to turn aside or away from what is good or true or morally right." From the Latin pervertere, to corrupt or literally to "thoroughly turn."
My personal morality, and I hope this isn't too idiosyncratic, is that it's bad to hurt people without cause. "An it harm none, do what ye will" comes close but doesn't include the catch that sometimes a small harm prevents larger ones. "An in harm none unless you gotta, do what ye will," anyway.
I don't find anything in there about having weird sex. Not that consenting-adults sex is always harmless--having adulterous sex harms the cuckold, having unsafe sex harms yourself and your partners, and so on. But what you actually do in bed is the least of your worries. The butt is not eviler or falser or wronger than the vagina. Receiving a footjob from a woman wearing a gasmask while you bark like a dog and call her "Mommy" is kinky--but it's not perverted.
Language evolves. Because "cunt" was once a neutral term doesn't mean you should use it in fifth grade sex ed. Maybe I should only worry about what "pervert" means now. Except, as the dictionary entry suggests, the language isn't quite done evolving in this instance. Often it is a straight-up expression of disgust. The usage of "perverted" as "wrong" is very much alive, with "pervert" commonly used as a term for pedophiles and other sexual abusers. If a guy who gropes women on the subway is a "pervert," should I be sharing that label?
Oh shit, I literally forgot the name of my own blog while writing this entry. It's way too late to change it to "The Unusual But Ethical ...ocracy." I guess I'm committed now. I gotta reclaim this thing unless I want to make this into a blog for subway creeps.
So I'll say that "pervert" is one of those words, like "moral", that reflects more on the speaker than on the person described. The difference between "ugh, that's perverted" and "mmm, that's perverted" is what matters, not the difference between "pervert" and "kinkster." Someone who thinks I'm gross can call me "kinky" or "a BDSM enthusiast" and still mean a slur by it.
This particular word may be in an awkward point in its evolution, but that doesn't even matter. It's all in what you mean by it. If by pervert I mean someone neutrally different in their sexuality, and I can make my listener understand that I mean it that way, then yeah, I'm a pervert. What of it?
I'll know that the word has finally changed when I see an internet asshole referring to my kind as "so-called 'perverts'..."