Though you didn’t actually use the word, I believe you’re talking about the subintroductae or agapetae, that is, the consecrated Christian virgins who lived, and sometimes slept, with their male spiritual companions, though without sexual intercourse. There is some evidence, admittedly obscure, that Saint Paul approved the practice:
“If any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin … let them marry. Nevertheless he that standeth steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better” (1 Corinthians 7:36-38).
And it may be that he engaged in it:
“Mine answer to them that do examine me is this … Have we not power to lead about a sister as a wife, as do other apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?” (1 Corinthians 9:3, 5).
Owing to its abuse, the practice was later condemned: Saint Cyprian raised the first official protest around 250 A.D.—”We must interfere at once with such as these in order that they may be separated while yet they can be separated in innocence”—and the Synod of Elvira (305) and Council of Nicaea (325) forbade the practice altogether. That there were abuses and scandals is surely not surprising, fallen human nature being what it is, and the Church was undoubtedly right in its censure. But there is no reason to think that a considerable alchemical benefit might not have been gained by at least some practitioners of this admittedly dangerous art.
The second-century Shepherd of Hermas suggests that the Apostolic Fathers were well aware of the practice. Hermas is entrusted by the divine Shepherd to a group of virgins, “very beautiful in outward appearance, clothed in black, properly girded, with shoulders bare and hair loosened”. When evening approaches, and the Shepherd has not returned, Hermas asks the virgins where he should spend the night, and they reply, Nobiscum dormies ut pater, non ut maritus—”Sleep with us as a father, not as a husband.” The women then kiss and embrace him and spread their clothes on the ground. Hermas lies down in their midst, and the night is spent in “nothing at all” but prayer.
Now all of this is presented as a “similitude”, in keeping with the rest of the text, and when the Shepherd returns he “interprets” the virgins as “holy spirits”: “And a man cannot have come into the Kingdom of God any other way than that they clothe him with their clothes.” And yet is it not obvious—given Paul’s somewhat guarded words as well as the later conciliar condemnations—that certain of the earliest Christians must have treated the “vision” of Hermas in a more literal way?
And why not? Tantric disciplines, in which kama or physical appetite is placed in the service of liberation, need not be a Hindu or Buddhist monopoly. Deliberately to detach himself from the passions that would physically unite him to a woman, while yet in her presence, affords a man the opportunity to become spiritually united to What she embodies, the Divine Infinitude—and vice versa, of course, for a woman, who may in this way seek to make herself a space for the Divine Absolute. No doubt this is so whether the discipline is permanent in the case of celibates or intermittent in the case of married couples.
Do not misunderstand me: I am not saying that there is no other, and no safer, path to God!